A green tsunami of weeds is rising throughout the Santa Monica Mountains this spring. This living tide of vegetation threatens to drown the native plants,…
Over the last 50 years, we have all grown to look forward to celebrating Mother Earth on April 22. We gather the kids, get Grandma, and go to an outdoor festival where we drink smoothies made by people riding stationary bikes creating the electricity to run the blender or we dance to a hippie band and paint flowers on our faces. We love all this, and it brought us happiness and for one day of the year, it made us forget about our everyday habits that damage the earth. But it didn’t do much to reverse climate warming, clear our polluted oceans or regenerate our earth. These days, Earth Day has become a way to help people learn and practice how to change habits permanently! This is the culture shift that must occur if we are to truly change our economy, implement real climate solutions and repair the land we call a home planet.
Here are 5-Key things we can do throughout the year (including on Earth Day), to become regenerative people, and show real love for our mother!
1. Only Plant Natives. (Natives= 85% less water)
Our Topanga local designer and horticulturalist, Hannah Wear, cultivates Topanga native plants and you can pick them up at her weekly event, Sustainable Saturdays, 2-6 pm at the Topanga Courtyard Center. She’ll tell you exactly which species of Salvia, or Vervain is truly native to our Topanga Mountain ecosystem. You will learn how and when to plant them, and why certain pollinators find them essential to life. Hannah asks that we don’t plant “natives” from Home Depot, as they are not the exact species that grows wild here and can confuse the delicate balance of life in our oak woodland. Topanga native plants are not only beautiful, but they are also naturally drought tolerant, help support local ecosystems and provide habitat for birds and butterflies. As far as oaks, the Quercus Agrifolia is our keystone species of Coast Live Oak. Cal Poly Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute says they can grow 24 inches per year. Here’s one we propagated from the acorns that dropped on the ground last fall. Start Spring Planting Today!
2. Drive Electric & Produce Solar. (Electricity = 25% of Green House Gas Emissions)
Since electrical systems were created in the 1800s, society has generated most of its electricity by using fossil fuels. Drawdown.org describes this process as; Burn coal, oil, or gas. Heat water to create steam. Steam turns a turbine to create power. The locked-up energy of long-buried plants and animals is transmuted into electricity, as carbon dioxide spills into the atmosphere as a byproduct. But solar is another way to harness the sun’s photons via roof panels, invert that energy and either run your AC or capture and store it in batteries for later. LA has 263 days of sun per year out of 365! The solution to our energy needs and reversing warming is to shift production to green energy sources and improve efficiency in our homes and businesses. Driving an electric car eliminates the need for gasoline, another source of fossil fuel emissions. If you produce solar electricity, you power your car with the sun. Even better is to rideshare and engage in cooperative auto ownership so we can share our resources. Caroline Rheinfrank shares her closed-loop system, electric car + solar. They win and so does mother earth. Make it your goal to Get Solar and Buy Electric this year!
3. Make Soil not Methane. (Food/Land Use = 24% of Green House Gas Emissions)
It’s so easy to make soil by composting your food scraps, but it does take a bit of effort to do it yourself. Chris Garcia is showing us the easiest way for you to compost your food waste- put your scraps into your green bin! Add them indirectly, not inside of a bag of any kind. You can deposit all types of food, even meat, dairy, bones, and veggies say waste hauler, Waste Management. Keep your green lid tightly closed and freeze your scraps until just before trash day to avoid any smells or flies.
Community composting is even better because we create and use the soil locally where the waste is generated. Because it’s not transported, it uses less energy and creates fewer greenhouse gasses than commercial composting. Register at Fccompost.org to bring your scraps to one of our local drop sites in Topanga for free. Start Composting Today!
4. Eat Plant-Based Diet. (Food/Land Use = 24% of Green House Gas Emissions)
Eating an ethical plant-based diet is a powerful way to lower farming methane from animals, land-clearing, and dramatically reduce water use and all associated emissions. Did you know that to produce one pound of beef it takes 1799 gallons of water The water doesn’t go directly into your burger; rather, it is used to feed, hydrate, and service cows. And those cows poop, producing tons of methane, a powerful climate-warming gas. For us human animals, a plant-based diet lowers cholesterol, increases vitality, and promotes humane animal care for all of Mother’s creatures. Paige Parsons Roache, a vegan host, and activist shares her amazing plant-based meals on her “Plant-Based in the Burbs” cooking show, Janeunchainetv.com. Learn to Cook Plant-Based Today!
5. Explore Nature Connection. (Healthy Earth = Healthy People)
Nature connection starts with getting out into it. When you hike, relax, play in nature, or cultivate plants, the more you open to your authentic relationship with your mother. She’s the source of our life and just like our human mothers, she needs love and care. When you tend a piece of land or show kindness to an animal species, you always receive a gift. Sometimes you’ll get inspiration, or maybe a sense of peace. Walk on the soil without your shoes and you’ll feel literally more in touch with the earth, lie down on it and you’ll be amazed how the rhythm in your body slows and relaxes. Humans are part of nature, and we are one connected system. We rely on nature for clean air to breathe, pure water to drink, and a healthy atmosphere to keep the earth at a livable temperature for all species to live. Give love to your mother and she’ll give it right back to you!
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