Earth Day: Spring & Summer Sustainability Tips
Updated: Feb 1
Make your garden bird and bee friendly
Did you know that many bird and pollinator species prefer native plant species, if given a choice? Make your flowerbeds even more beautiful by attracting local birds, bees and butterflies with native wildflowers and shubs. You can check out OSS's Attracting Pollinators page for some ideas. In addition, make sure you're not planting invasive plant species, as many unwanted invaders are still sold in wildflower mixes and some greenhouses. If you do have invasives in your garden, remove them and check out the Grow Me Instead page from the BC Invasive Species Society. Bonus fact about native species- they don't need much maintenance or water once they're established, which means more time for you on the patio!
Leave no trace
Leaving no traces is so important whenever you do anything outdoors. This doesn't just mean keeping garbage in your pocket though! Leaving no traces means camping in designated campsites (so there's no trace of a tent imprint on intact habitat) and always staying on trails when hiking, biking, and ATVing (so there's no trace of your boots/tires). It also means leaving wildflowers un-picked, and keeping campfires small and fully controlled. Don't forget about dog waste either!
Keep your pets under control
Although it is tough to view Fido or Mr Mittens as the bad guy, the truth is that unleashed dogs and roaming cats seriously impact local wildlife populations. All cats, no matter how well fed they are, have an un-ignorable drive to hunt and will instinctively do so when outside, even if they just had a meal. Dogs will chase wildlife for fun and while many of them won't catch the animal, or perhaps not even know how to act if they do, this causes extreme stress to wildlife. Keep your cats inside as much as you possibly can (ideally, all the time!) and keep your pup on a leash unless you are sure that you can call her away from wildlife.
Ditch the disposables
With all the extra socializing that happens over the summer, it can be very tempting to grab that package of paper plates and plastic forks, or cover the picnic table with plastic so you don't have to deal with sticky spills. In the long run though, these things accumulate in landfills and take centuries to decompose. Use a thrift-store table cloth for the kids that can get stained, and get your BBQ guests to help with the dishes while stealing leftover bites of dessert. Lightly soiled napkins and paper towels can be composted. Bonus: That 'extra work' ends up becoming extra time with family and friends!
Online shopping is fast and easy. It is also a huge source of waste, creates literal tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, and lacks any sort of human connection. Shopping at local stores brings down the carbon footprint of your gift and as long as you bring your reusable bags, creates little to no extra waste. Supporting local businesses also has a direct positive impact on the economy of your town or city!