What green means to me

Admittedly, I am cynical to a fault and should probably tone down the sarcasm as well (maybe it is a New Jersey thing). I’ve started to see this rub off on my children and know that I need to tone it down a bit. I’m not looking to change what I believe is in my nature, I’m just looking to scale it back a notch or two for the benefit of those around me.

However, one area where I’ve seen cynicism grow to levels beyond what I would have ever expected is with the “green” movement. Maybe it is politically based more than anything else, but to deny that there is an issue with global warming, as an example, is simply naïve. There may be a number of different ways to address the problem, but you have to first acknowledge that it is truly a crisis.

The corporation where I work recently installed water-less urinals that save upwards of 40,000 gallons of water a year. While recently using said urinal, a colleague said to me “You know they installed these because they wanted to save money, it has nothing to do with the environment”. My cynical nature wanted to take over and say “You’re right my friend” but after quick reflection, I realized, who cares what the true purpose behind it was, it is a good thing – end of story.

I’m probably going to bother some of my readers with this next topic, but I have no use for synthetic fertilizers of any sort for a lawn and have never used them. I don’t need a perfect lawn like the Scott’s commercials will sell to you and the sooner you realize the whole Scott’s program is a marketing scheme, the better off you will be. I don’t even use natural products on the lawn. I simply cut the lawn at a higher setting as it will aid in blocking out the weed seeds from germinating and will put much less stress on the grass leaves. Standing over the lawn with a hose and just spraying it haphazardly doesn’t help a bit – it just wastes valuable water. Your lawn does not need as much water as you think. In fact, I never water my lawn and just let nature take its course.

So back to those same kiddies mentioned earlier. My son is 7 and my daughter is 4. They are at a very impressionable age right now (well not always with my daughter … there’s the cynical John sneaking in again) and my wife and I have accepted the responsibility of taking advantage of that. If you read my blog you know I only recently installed compost bins. I am late to the game, I know, but better late than never and man do I feel strongly about it. Each night after dinner, we evaluate the scraps left over and determine what can be composted. Once that is done, the kids march the scraps out to the compost bins and throw them in. Both kids have asked us more than once why they are doing it and I guarantee they can tell you, very eloquently, what the benefits are. Chalk one up for Mom and Dad.

I am very proud of the gardens I’ve created and the flowers that are abundant as a result. This results in high bee traffic which obviously is a very good thing … except to my son. He is terrified and doesn’t want to hear about all the so-called benefits. But as any good parent will do, I continue to hammer home why he shouldn’t be scared and why they are crucial to the environment. He may not care right now, but I know it will click eventually and that will be a happy day.

I am not claiming to be an angel when it comes to being an environmentally friendly guy in all ways possible. But I am making it a top priority to educate my children on what we all can do to make our world a better place. If they can be more responsible in their lifetime than I have been, then I have done my job.

I’ve written this post as part of the Garden Bloggers Sustainable Living Project, which is a series of blog entries written by garden bloggers (much more prominent than me to say the least) in anticipation of Earth Day on April 22nd. I urge you to do even one thing that will benefit the environment and I guarantee you won’t stop there – and that my friends is not cynical.

8 thoughts on “What green means to me”

  1. Not cynical at all, most honest and well written. I commend you for starting with the children for they are the future after all. I’m sure they’ll carry good habits with them into adulthood and help to live green. I totally agree with you on your corporation. Hey, we all want to save money and by saving resources we save money. Came over from Jan’s.

  2. Hey John, saving money helps everyone, including the environment…so it’s definitely a win-win situation. I believe every bit we each can contribute adds up and helps the environment. Teaching the basics to your children might be the most important thing we can do right now. The future depends on them–so helping them understand really does matter. Thank you so much for joining in–I’m so glad you did! Enjoy your spring to the fullest;-) Jan

  3. What a refreshing attitude towards lawns! If saving money and helping the environment are side effects of each other then it’s a no-brainer.

  4. Me too. I don’t fertilize the lawn at all, period. I don’t water it either. i set the mower at 3.5 in and that’s it. Guess what, you know, it works. No weeds, thick grass, just like I want it till I tear it out foe another flower bed. Nice post. jim

  5. I think it is great what are you doing for your kids. We have a compost pile and a composter. Kids love to watch the compost worms and use them for fishing. I never forget how my neighbors’ son saw a cucumber in my garden and, when I asked what it was, answered: A pickle.

  6. What a great post. I’ve been “green” before it became just that. Back in the day, we called it being frugal-who would throw away perfectly good food scraps or spend money on a lawn. Ridiculous waste.
    I’ve been called a nut and worse, but how satisfying when the neighbor comments on all the wildlife I have, and they don’t have a bird or bee or deer anywhere. Well, it would seem “dumb” animals know enough to avoid all the toxins they spray on their lawns and for every little bug problem that crops up. You can smell the chemicals when you drive up. I’ve never used anything on my gardens. What a joy to see all the creatures that call my place home. Every hummingbird moth,bumblebee, and bluebird I see gives me all the validation I need that what I’m doing is good. If a good looking lawn is what one considers important, they need to “get a life”!

  7. Beaut post! Love how you’re educating your kids too.
    I felt for your son who’s afraid of bees. It’s awful to have a fear like that. My husband keeps bees, so he’s right into them. Wearing dark clothes around them causes the guard/scout bees to go into defence(attack) mode. They think it’s their age old enemy … a bear. Another beekeeper told me they can sense fear. I get a few fly-by warnings when near their hive, but my husband can be working very close with no problems.

    Couldn’t agree more with your attitude to your lawn. Absolutely, well said.

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