Everything posted by Cate Palmer
Eco-landscaping is about making a difference in your yard, the one that results in making surrounding a healthier place that reduces water, soil and air pollution. The advantages of such responsible approach are reasonable savings in time, money and maintenance. The eco-friendly method is growing in popularity for its obvious reasons while creating and designing an eco-friendly landscape is not more complicated than designing a traditional garden. It does take some planning and involves maintenance, but all the efforts invested in a project like that are nothing compared to benefits. Planning For starters, you will have to make basic analysis and assessment of the yard. Determine the ground thickness by running the water to see how it is draining and where the ground is soaked the most. That way you’ll know where to plant as well as where to place hardscape. Check which areas get most of the sunlight and which ones are in the shade. Decide which area will serve its specific purpose, meaning where you will place a patio, play area or flower beds. This way you’ll know ahead what materials and plants you will be using and what will structure the basis of your eco-friendly yard. Downsize the lawn Having a smaller lawn means there will be less mowing and you will use less water. Limit your lawn by placing artificial grass or synthetic turf. Create walkways and paving and make sure to use low-maintenance materials like concrete, bark or gravel. You can use permeable pavers to direct rainfall back into the ground. Place gazebos or benches to fill the space in the yard that won’t require any watering. Eco-friendly mowing Since there will be a lawn that needs mowing, consider using a reel lawn mowers. Although mowing can go a bit slower than with gas or electric mower, reel mowers are true eco-friendly device since they are a perfect example of energy conservation. An alternative to reel mowers are the mowers powered by rechargeable batteries. Plant low-maintenance plants Consider planting native plants since they are best suited for the environment. Also, try choosing drought-resistant plants because there will be less maintenance while planting them will save water in the long run. To reduce the usage of water, try to group plants with similar water requirements. Plant some ornamental grass, pansies, and marigold. Planting clover is recommendable since it is insect and weed repelling plant. Clever landscaping Strategically planted trees and shrubs around the house can act as an insulation and save you up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs. One of the best landscape design firms advises planting deciduous trees on the sunny spots next to the house. That way the trees will provide the shade in the summer, while they will allow more sunlight in the cold months. Also, vines can be used to cool some areas. Watering To reduce water waste, install drip irrigation system that brings water directly to plants. Watering with automatic irrigation is more effective while the technology allows you to program it the way you want. You can set the system not to release the water while it rains. You can use rainwater, previously conserved in barrels to water the lawn and the flower beds. When watering in the summer, always water in the late evening and early in the morning to avoid evaporation. Weed and insect control Avoid using chemicals to fight or to control weed, but take some preventive measures like planting in raised beds, preparing the soil, using landscape fabrics and mulching. To get rid of the weed you can use corn gluten or vinegar, only make sure to use it carefully since it a strong herbicide that can harm other plants. The last stage of fighting the weed is an old-fashion move of pulling the weed from the ground. As for insects, learn more about companion planting and see how your plants can benefit from it. Fertilizing Learn to make and use compost and keep the chemical fertilizer away. Composting is the best possible way to keep your ground properly fertilized, aired and watered, while it will significantly reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the landfills. Almost anything can be used for compost, starting from grass clippings and leaves to fallen branches, food scraps, coffee filters, tea bags, newspapers, cardboard, etc. Going green takes a bit more than these few tips since it extends further on the maintenance and how you care for the environment aside from the yard. Remember to recycle and reuse all the materials and to establish a sustainable eco-system in your home and your yard. Do your research and create an eco-friendly garden that you will enjoy in years that come. An effort toward the healthier environment is worthy of praise so design your garden and be proud.
Cate Palmer posted a blog entry in Cate Palmer's blogAs you already know, modern times provided humanity with plenty of benefits, but on the other hand, all these possibilities created a consumerist society as well. Our planet is in danger, and we are to blame. Once I’ve become aware of the problem, I’ve decided to completely change my lifestyle. It wasn’t that easy in the beginning, and as the time went by, new habits were adopted and my household began to produce much less waste. In order to successfully create a new zero-waste lifestyle, you’ll need to make a bunch of small changes. The text below will provide you with some of the most important steps I took down the road. Cut down on plastic One of the greatest human-caused problems is the uncontrolled use of products made of plastic. Try to avoid plastic bags and bottles at any cost. It is much better to replace them with reusable ones. I’ve read somewhere that between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed by world population during each year. Start being a part of the solution, and invest in new reusable bags, or even try out your skills and make your own. Stop using disposables My kitchen cabinets were stacked with paper towels, napkins, plastic bottles, straws and much more. That is a lot of waste, and you should give your best to avoid using these products. A lot of trees are getting cut on a daily basis just so we can have paper towels in our homes. You don’t really need them, so go ahead and replace them with reusable rags. Purchase some stainless steel or bamboo straws and use cloth napkins. Create a travel kit Buying a takeaway cup of coffee or a meal can save you some time and effort, but you should think about the future of our blue marble as well. Of course, if you get well organized, you can keep enjoying delicious takeaway meals. You’ll just need to pack a lunch container with a spoon, knife, fork, cup, and cloth napkin. Put the kit in your car and use it for all your meals. Of course, you may start preparing your lunch at home and save a lot of cash every month. This strategy is completely waste-free, and I guarantee you’ll adapt very quickly. Recycle When I talk to people about recycling, their first association is plastic bottles. Well no, you shouldn’t purchase plastic bottles at first place. Of course, if you have some at your home, recycle them at once. The real recycling begins when you do it using old light bulbs, cartridges, batteries, electronic parts etc. Install a special bin for these items, and take them to a place for safe disposal once in every six months. Declutter on regular basis We can’t talk about zero-waste lifestyle if your house is cluttered with old magazines, mail, documents, pieces of furniture you don’t really need etc. Use the next weekend to start cleaning your living space. Ecology is not just about plastic, it is about healthy habits and wellbeing. If your goal is to feel better while at home, go ahead and start getting rid of everything you don’t use anymore. Of course, you’ll wish to save some personal belongings, and that’s ok. In that case, trustworthy self-storage facility can be a great solution. If you, for example, live in Newcastle area, you could rent a remote storage unit in one of the best companies it has to offer and put all your stuff in there. Set up an organic garden If you have some spare space in your backyard, go ahead and engage in organic food production. You’ll provide yourself with the great hobby, and most importantly, you’ll start eating really healthy vegetables. A lot of gas is used and carbon-dioxide released into the atmosphere before the food arrives in the nearby market. Most of those vegetables riped during the transport and have been treated with chemical solutions which are bad both for your and planet’s health. Stop supporting this malpractice, get yourself a pair of gloves, garden hat, a few hoses, and start digging. Compost Once the summer has ended, clean up your garden and start composting. There are plenty DIY ways to create a composting system at your home, so don’t hesitate and start learning. Keep in mind that you can compost nearly everything organic. Use stuff like food scraps and paper, and if you have to buy take away meals, do it at the stores that pack them in degradable materials. Your garden will be very happy the next spring when your cover it in your home-made compost. This simple move will keep the soil healthy and fertile, and you’ll get much more food in the years to come while saving on artificial fertilizers. Conclusion As you can see, there are a lot of ways to start living a zero-waste lifestyle, and I’ve shared just my first steps. Make sure to stay motivated, and don’t let others discourage you. Like every other change, this can be hard for you as well, but it will repay generously in the long run. Your living space will be much healthier, you’ll feel better knowing that you did everything you can to save the Earth, and hopefully, your friends and family will join you.
Cate Palmer posted a blog entry in Cate Palmer's blogEvery day we are witnessing how our actions have caused climate change, degradation of nature and animal species being wiped out. While most humans are not even aware of their part in these, there are those who advocate changes in behaviour and lifestyle which could make this world a better place for future generations. Among those is sustainable travel, a new and eco-friendly manner of tourism and travelling gaining more and more supporters and promoters, not only among individuals but also among companies and governments. If you’re planning to join this growing community of eco-travellers, here are a few things you should know. Choose a responsible manner of travel How you travel to your destination does matter. If you’re going by plane, take a non-connecting flight since the fewer plane flights you take the lower carbon emissions will be. Also, choose one of the 30+ IATA airlines which are investing in carbon reduction projects in order to neutralise the pollutants harmful to the environment. If you’re not flying, you can rent a hybrid or electric car if yours is not eco-friendly, or travel by train, bus or ship since it’s more environmentally responsible. Collect the info before the trip By getting all the facts about your travel destination, you can learn a lot about how to be a green traveller. Nature reserves, endangered species, customs, national parks, wildlife, sustainable energy programmes and a number of pollutants in the air, those are just some of the issues which can influence your travel plans and stay. Find a green hotel Nowadays, many hotels are focused on being more responsible towards their environment. Look for hotels using solar panels for electricity and heating, recycling programs, wind turbines and treatment of rainwater for drinking and utility. Also, if you’re planning to do hotel hopping, you can still continue staying at eco-friendly hotels by checking their seal of approval from certification programs and whether they’re using native resources and thus invest in the local economy. Save water People rarely pay attention to how much water they’re using and wasting. By taking shorter showers and never baths, you can use three times less water than you usually do. Turn the tap off while you shave, brush your teeth and perform other hygiene activities. The same applies if you wash the laundry or dishes, just like when you’re at home. Don’t request new towels after each use because it means fewer washing cycles for the hotel laundry and subsequently decreased usage of water. Also, buy a water bottle which you can refill. Save energy Don’t forget to turn off all the lights, television, heating and air conditioning unit and unplug the devices from chargers to save energy. There are hotels where this will be done automatically when you take your key card and leave the room so you might choose that kind of boarding. There’s no better way to do some sightseeing and tours than by foot, using public transport or biking. That way you will participate in less gas consumption and save money in the process. Also, if you use the hotel room cleaning service only when really needed, you’ll help cut down the use of electricity for vacuuming and washing. Be a good tourist It is very important that you are not only choosing eco-friendly means of travel and stay but that you are the one being environmentally responsible too. Don’t throw garbage outside the places designated for waste disposal. Whenever you can, recycle and stop using materials damaging to human or animal health. You can even help by picking up the trash and disposing of it in the right way. When going for hikes, walks or any other activity which involves contact with nature, don’t wander off and respect the rules of conduct. Never feed animals since that way they get used to humans and when an attack happens, the animal is euthanized. Keep your distance from wildlife since trying to come closer can be interpreted as a sign of aggression, and yet again the animal will be killed for attacking you. And watch your step, because you wouldn’t want to harm the indigenous flora. And lastly Choosing the green way of life isn’t put on pause when you go for a business trip or vacation, or even when you’re visiting relatives in another town. It should be more than a lifestyle and philosophy. It’s who you are and how much you respect your home – planet Earth. Even by doing some of the things we mentioned you can impact the negative climate change and other people’s perspectives on eco-friendly principles. So be proud to participate in making this world a better place for all life and its miracles.