The Greener Garden: 4 Sustainable Options To Explore

Many of humans’ daily activities contribute to the decay of planet Earth. In fact, even when gardening, carbon emissions are released, which might add to the current problem of global warming. However, the good news is gardening can be done properly through various efforts and actions.

Minimizing environmental impacts should be your ultimate goal for a greener garden. If you’re wondering what sustainable practices could eliminate lesser waste in your garden, there are certain changes you can do. No matter how minor they are, these small steps can accumulate. And soon, you’d be able to fully adopt healthier and greener gardening methods. Here are some sustainable options you can explore to turn your garden greener.

sustainable options to turn your garden greener.

1. Reuse Materials That Can Be Used For Gardening

Recycling is a popular effort to make to go green. By incorporating used materials into your garden, you can do impactful initiatives to help save the environment.

For instance, you can declutter your home and find items you can repurpose into garden materials, like pots and plant vases. Whether you need upcycled stuff for your indoor hydroponic vertical farming or outdoor conventional garden beds, there are many recyclable things you might find in your garage or attic. Or you can also check out recycling shops and find materials you can repurpose for your garden needs. Who would have known your stunning flower pots were made out of recycled items?

You can refer to some online sources to learn how to make gardening materials out of buckets, clay pots, used pipes, and worn-out furniture. Just exercise your own creativity when recycling objects. Doing so may even allow you to expand your home’s individuality and explore new styles for your garden. This green trick wouldn’t only help the planet but would also allow you to enhance your creativity and resourcefulness.

2. Incorporate Native Plants

Choosing the right plants is a critical aspect of growing a sustainable garden. It’s therefore essential to incorporate native plants in it. These plants are a part of the balance of nature, which have existed in your region for many years. They’re easy to plant, grow, and maintain.

For example, one of the easiest plants to take care of is perennials that are already adapted to your climate, rainfall, and soil type. These require less maintenance, use less water, and thrive better than other plants. Of course, you can add trees and shrubs into your garden, but perennials are perfect to serve as a permanent garden display since they last all seasons long.

3. Attract Wildlife

Attracting wildlife is another helpful strategy to raise a greener garden. Garden animals, such as worms, toads, and bees, could be pretty significant as they serve different roles and purposes. For instance, frogs feed on pests like bugs, beetles, or grasshoppers, which if left lingering in your garden might cause damage to your produce or plants. Another helpful animal is earthworms, which could bring more air and water into your soil. Lastly, bees pollinate flowers, which could add to the overall beauty of your landscape and garden. You can bring more life to your garden by making it bee-friendly.

bee-friendly garden

To have a healthy garden, you need more living organisms, especially in your soil. A healthy ecosystem is formed by hundreds of thousands of microbes interacting with each other and with plant roots. One way to encourage healthy microbes forming in garden beds is to use compost and organic mulch as fertilizers.

For a garden ecosystem to be resilient, the soil ecosystem must be healthy. In the plant roots, bacteria and fungi release nutrients that are carried by worms deep into the soil. These rich nutrients would make your produce fresher and more nourished, too. When you generate more living things, it would create rich biodiversity in your garden, which would, in turn, make your garden greener.

4. Shift To Organic Gardening

Organic gardening, a method of growing fruits and vegetables without using synthetic fertilizers, is an essential part of sustainability. Using fewer chemicals in your garden is not only ecologically sound but also more cost-effective. An added benefit is that organic produce would be healthy for you and your family.

You can do small baby steps by simply adding organic compost to your soil to make it healthy and rich in nutrients. And when you need to handle pests, there are natural and organic matters you can use to help you get rid of them. In fact, there are homemade pest control remedies that could work wonders in your garden.

Conclusion

Making your garden more organic and greener is enough effort to help save the environment. In addition to being beautiful and sustainable, stewarding nature enhances the garden as a whole. Hopefully, with the tips mentioned in this article, you’d be able to grow a fruitful and biodiverse garden.

What Are the Risks of the Oil and Gas Industry?

While it’s currently necessary, there is a need to identify better alternative energy sources because of the risks of the oil and gas industry. There are risks to the environment and also to people, including workers in the industry.

The oil and gas industry is the largest source of emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States, despite being tightly regulated.

The following are things to know about the different type of human and environmental risks that come with the extraction and processing of oil.

Risks of the Oil and Gas Industry

Employee Dangers

Working in the oil industry tends to be very lucrative, and these jobs are hard to fill often. The pay is why people continue in the industry, despite the risk. Trends seem to show worsening fatality rates among workers in the industry, particularly in Texas. Texas is the largest oil-producing state in the country. There were more than 530 fatal occupational industries in Texas in 2017 related to this industry.

Since 2016, fatality rates have been increasing.

Oil production went up almost 25% in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018, which may play a role. There are more demanding deadlines for production and an increased quantity of work, which could mean more significant risks for workers.

Specific Worker Risks

There are many, but a few of the more common risks that workers in oil and gas face on the job every day include:

  • Vehicle collisions when workers and equipment are being transported to and from well sites which are often remotely located and require long-distance travel. Around 4 of every ten workers killed on the job in the industry die because of a highway vehicle accident.
  • Being stuck between moving vehicles, equipment, fall equipment and high-pressure lines leads to on-site injuries and deaths.
  • When someone works in the oil and gas industry, they are at risk of being exposed to explosions and fires because of the ignition of vapors and gases that are highly flammable. Gases and vapors, as well as hydrogen sulfide, are released from wells, equipment and trucks.
  • Another considerable risk for workers in this industry are falls because often, employees have to access equipment and platforms that are high above the ground.
  • High-pressure lines and equipment create hazards, including the potential for compressed gas exposure.

There are around 1.2 million oil and gas production facilities across the country, ranging from active wells to processing plants. More than 12 million people live within ½ mile of these locations, and below are some risks they might face.

Community Exposure

Fossil fuel pollution is sometimes called an invisible killer because it can contribute to heart and respiratory diseases over time, which are leading causes of death.

environmental risks of oil and gas industry

Fossil fuels also leak substances into the soil and drinking water sources that can be toxic, cause cancer, birth defects and contribute to liver damage.

Research shows the industry’s impact most heavily affects minority, low-income and rural communities because they are closest to these sites and may be most exposed to toxins.

There’s also a link between volatile organic compounds and the emission of nitrogen oxide that create smog. Smog is linked to a higher risk of asthma in the young and elderly, leading to missed school and workdays and increased hospitalizations.

Behind only coal-fired power plants, oil and gas production is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases in the country.

Wildlife Disruption

The extraction of oil and gas disrupts natural balance and wildlife in addition to harming humans.

Vehicle traffic, noises and movement can impact how animals breed, nest and communicate. The habitats of many species can be broken up by the introduction of fences, roads and powerlines.

When there are oil spills, these often kill large numbers of animals and create long-lasting marine ecosystem damage. For example, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico led to oil spreading for 68,000 square miles over the sea.

That incident alone killed around one million seabirds, 1,000 sea turtles, and 5,000 marine mammals.

Even though we don’t always hear about them, there are often more minor spills. For example, in 2020, there were nearly 2,180 spills in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Finally, when the needed infrastructure for oil and gas extraction is developed, it significantly and negatively impacts wildlands. Wilderness is destroyed, and the damage can’t be reversed typically.

There are more than 12 million acres of public lands being used for the production of fossil fuels. To make this happen, vegetation has to be removed, and even when the sites are abandoned, it can take centuries for the land to recover.

How to Reduce the Ecological Footprint of Wind Turbines

Wind power is the second most widely used renewable energy source in the U.S., just behind hydropower. Unlike solar, wind power creates little to no pollution and requires very little maintenance. However, it has one significant problem — a detrimental effect on wildlife and the local ecosystem.

Industrial wind farms wreak havoc on bird and bat populations, plus they pose an ecological disturbance to the land. While the energy generation is incredibly sustainable, the influence turbines have on local wildlife populations adds controversy to the success of this energy source.

wind-farm-Lake-Turkana-Kenya

The future implementation of wind as a leading source of energy will depend on our ability to reduce its ecological footprint. Employing best practices that work to minimize adverse effects on local habitats will play an integral role in the construction of new farms.

Analyze Data

Determining the exact impact of wind turbines on wildlife is hard to discern. The number of birds and bats killed from direct contact is only one variable. The long-term effects on food chain supplies, population and habitats are hard to quantify. The first step in reducing the environmental impact is determining where the influence is greatest.

Research estimates that in North America alone, wind turbines kill an estimated 140,000 to 328,000 birds each year. This statistic does include other flying creatures, like bats, whose populations have been significantly affected by wind farms.

Bats are essential to the function of our ecosystem and food system. In 2015, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) added guidelines about the voluntary process of halting turbines at lower speeds during periods of the night when these animals are most active. These efforts may reduce deaths by up to 30%, though research demonstrates an extra delay could potentially increase that number to 90%.

Land Use Planning

Close attention to site selection and preparation may curtail the consequences of wind farms on the surrounding environment. Construction is a major ecosystem disruptor, as installing transmission lines and removing soil can hurt plants and animals in the vicinity. Experts encourage many wind companies to engage in erosion control practices, which includes re-establishing native vegetation and other restoration techniques.

Wind farms are generally criticized by their inflexibility when it comes to site location. Compared to solar panels, which can be installed on buildings and utilized across a diverse array of environments, wind farms are more limited. One benefit, however, is that people can establish these turbines on abandoned industrial land. The ability to re-purpose previously degraded land with a renewable energy source is a victory for wildlife and humans alike.

downned-pylons-windfarm

If the wind is too strong, wind turbines can’t operate safely and must shut down.

A final consideration when it comes to reducing ecological impact includes preventative measures, such as monitoring a habitat before construction. By tracking the environment before breaking ground, builders can better determine the best location for the farm.

Innovative Technology

As wind power becomes a cost-effective and energy-efficient option, advanced technology will lessen the impact of turbines on wildlife. According to U.S Energy Information Administration, the wind industry is collaborating with the U.S government to find optimization solutions.

Several ways exist in which wind farms can reduce their impact on local habitats and take preventative steps affecting animal and bird populations. One example includes Ultrasonic Acoustic Deterrents (UADs), which emit a loud noise that deters bats but is incomprehensible to the human ear.

Other solutions include painting wind turbines purple or shining ultraviolet lights on the structures to alert migratory species. Some manufacturing companies plan to make innovations in how to construct these structures. Changes include alterations to the blade surfaces and more sound-absorbent materials.

A Comprehensive Approach

The cost of wind power has dropped almost 50% in the last four years. With an increased incentive to invest in renewables, experts predict the number of wind farms around the world to grow rapidly in the next decade.

Wind power has many benefits, one of which being that, unlike solar, return on investment for the production and installation of turbines is five to eight months, with each structure designed to produce for at least twenty years. With an increase in implementation, the ecological impact is unavoidable. As a result, the focus will be on reducing the environmental impact of wind turbines, rather than decreasing their utilization as an energy source.

Manage Trees With Sustainability In Mind

There is growing concern as forest land outside of conservation areas is steadily decreasing. There has been a disturbing reduction in primary forests of 40 million hectares in the last decade. The total area of forest within protected areas has increased by 94 million hectares in the past two decades and now accounts for 13% of the total of forests globally.

Tree healthcare for humans

Trees are well known for providing oxygen as a result of their photosynthesis process. It is in fact the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is removed during this process therefore helping to mitigate the negative effects of burning fossil fuels ie. CO2 production. The benefits to the world of this process make the existence and importance of the Amazon rainforest especially significant.

Trees benefit cities too

Not only are trees a beautiful addition to any city, they also serve a practical purpose by absorbing pollutants. Their presence makes a city appear more vibrant and more friendly. For example, San Francisco is home to 105,000 trees. Tree planting should be kept in pace with tree mortality and tree removal. A tree management plan is essential to ensure sustainability.

Tree management for woodland

Trees should be checked for health and also for the merchantability of the trees. When areas of the woodland require thinning out it is useful to produce a product that has a commercial value. This way waste management has been prioritized and has turned a Liability into an Asset.

The harvested wood/logs can be considered an asset and can be sold as fuel. Always ensure trees are removed when over-crowding is an issue to allow for tree growth of the remaining trees. The woodland is sustainable by including sufficient planting of new trees.

Arborists are trained to evaluate the health and ongoing sustainability of a tree. Oftentimes they can prescribe solutions to prolong a tree’s life, thereby protecting the environment as well as improving surrounding property values.

Most cities have tree service companies that offer trained arborists who can provide consultations. Depending on the depth of the consultation it may be free or at a very low price.

An ISA-certified arborist can make qualified decisions on whether a tree needs to be removed or if it can be saved.

Additionally, during their consultation, they will be careful to not damage the tree further. Trufast Tree Care has a certified arborist on staff for helping with these tree evaluations

Maintaining the urban trees

Your arborist can advise you of local procedures and the law regarding your trees which if not properly managed can become a legal liability. Some types of trees do not take well to heavy pruning, for example the Southern Live Oak is best not located in restricted areas where heavy pruning to clear avenues may be required. It is better to grow it in a larger landscaped area where it can grow with minimal pruning. They often reach 60 to 80 feet in height with a 60 to 100 foot spread.

trees-sustainability

The branches of Live Oak tend to droop as they grow so some careful pruning will be necessary especially as this type of growth can be a problem for vehicular or pedestrian clearance beneath. Many trees are not permitted to be removed without obtaining a tree removal permit first. This is good as it provides some protection for the trees.

Other tree varieties to grow with sustainability

The beautiful red maple is a great yard tree being very tolerant and is able to grow in nearly any conditions but especially in acid to neutral soils. Plant away from paths etc as the roots can raise sidewalks if too close. A good layer of organic mulch should be placed around the roots to feed and help retain moisture.

Presence of trees make a city appear more vibrant and eco-friendly

Another commonly found tree in the US is the Loblolly Pine. When found in plantations it provides the perfect habitat for wildlife such as deer, squirrels making it a very sustainable choice. Being a faster growing tree it requires more regular pruning.

Enjoy our future with sustainability for trees

Sustainability ensures we leave the world in a good state for future generations to enjoy, whilst still meeting the needs of the current population. Keep your trees maintained moving forward and always pay attention to the type of tree and manage accordingly. This way you can enjoy the many beautiful trees around you.

Save Money with Sustainable Gardening

If you’re looking for ways to create a sustainable and energy-efficient home, make sure to consider your gardening practices. Gardening is a great way to produce your own fruits and vegetables. If you’re gardening, you’re already helping to reduce plastic waste because your food is coming right from your backyard rather than from the store.

You can become even more green by practicing sustainable gardening! Sustainable gardening uses principles and practices that help to protect the environment without doing further harm. It embraces organic gardening methods, conserves resources, and substitutes harmful practices (such as using pesticides) with more eco-friendly practices. And not only is it good for the environment, but it can also help save you money!

Here are 5 ways you can begin using sustainable practices in your own garden.

Reduce energy use

When planting and maintaining your garden, look for ways that you can be more energy efficient and create less pollution. For example, instead of using gas or electric-powered tools, look for tools that you can use by hand. Using a cheap cordless battery powered drill instead of an electric powered drill. Dig with shovels, clip with pruners, weed by hand.

Another way to reduce energy is to consider how you’re protecting your garden. Some people like to put an electric fence around their garden to keep out deer and other animals. Electric fences use painful electric shocks to deter animals from entering; depending on the setting of the fence, these shocks can be harmful to wildlife, pets, and humans. Instead of an electric fence, use a metal fence. A metal critter fence saves energy, is more cost-efficient, and does not harm animals.

Conserve water

Water is a precious, limited resource. Instead of watering your garden from a hose, create a collection system out of rain barrels. A rain barrel system collects runoff from your gutters when it rains. You can then empty the water from the container as needed to water your garden and other areas of your lawn. Sometimes we water the plants too much than needed. It also helps a lot in saving water that we know how much or when to water our plants. There are freely given learning materials about this all over the internet. One place in particular, the Occupy The Farm website, gives simple yet detailed guides regarding this.

You should also keep in mind that runoff from your garden makes its way back into the water supply. Herbicides or pesticides contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate our water. Using natural herbicides or pesticides, such as vinegar, can still help kill weeds and prevent pests without harming the environment.

Make your garden a habitat

Sustainable gardening can help you create a backyard wildlife habitat. Even if you’re hoping to keep larger animals out of your veggies, there is a way to open up your garden to smaller critters. There are certain plants you can grow that will help provide food and shelter to animals such as bees, butterflies, and birds. Habitats will vary by area.

Grow native plants

Growing plants that are native to your area means that the plants will naturally thrive in their environment. They’ll do well in the existing light, moisture, and soil conditions so you won’t have to put as much effort into taking care of them. Another reason to grow native plants is that they won’t disrupt the ecosystem. Non-native plants can seed and spread to surrounding areas and prevent native species from growing.

You can save seeds from your plants from season to season. For example, if tomatoes are native to your area and did well in your garden, save the seeds from one of your tomatoes to plant again next year. Some people also like to scout out woods and fields near their home for native plants that they can seed in their own garden.

Start composting

Composting is good for you and for the environment! When you compost waste, there is less material going into the landfill. That waste then creates an organic material that you can use in your garden. Compost helps maintain soil quality and fertility, serves as a natural fertilizer,  increases water retention, and improves plant growth.

benefits-composting

It is easy to start composting. There are a few different types of composters you can buy or create. Enclosed bins are the most practical method for most home gardeners. The type of materials you can compost will vary slightly depending on your composting strategy. In addition to various types of food waste, you can also add yard waste such as leaves or grass clippings.

Conclusion

Sustainable gardening practices don’t just help you save money, they help you protect the environment. Look over your current gardening practices to see if there are ways that you can reduce the amount of energy you’re using, if there are ways for you to produce less waste, and if there are ways you can help your local ecosystem.