Have you thought about Earth lately? Spring, the season of growth and renewal, is the perfect time to appreciate the beauty and importance of our planet. Earth Day is April 22nd, tomorrow. There are endless ways to become a more environmentally conscious homeowner, and the suggestions below are just a few ways you can treat our planet kindly this season.
(1) Help save water by ordering a rain barrel for your home. Every spring, you have the opportunity to purchase a rain barrel from Kingston Utilities. Since it began in 2006, the Rain Barrel Program has helped conserve an estimated 20,000,000 litres of treated water. Aside from lowering your water bill, rain barrels benefit the environment by reducing the amount of lake water treated for lawn care. They also prevent runoff, sparing our lakes and rivers from contamination by fertilizer, pesticides, and whatever other pollution rain sweeps up. Keep in mind that the barrels sell out quickly, and they’re offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 613-546-0000 to order yours. The rain barrels cost $44, which includes delivery.
(2) Make your backyard a better place for bees and butterflies. You’ve probably heard that global bee populations are declining at a concerning rate. ¾ of the food we eat require pollinators to reproduce, making the survival of bees crucial for our food production. The David Suzuki Foundation has great tips to make your garden more bee-friendly. If you suffer from unpleasant bee memories—the little pollinators can sting, after all—try a butterfly garden. Introducing a few butterfly-specific plants to your garden is enough to attract the colourful insects and combat habitat loss. Imagine hanging out on your back patio this summer, just you and the butterflies against the world. Sound good? Read the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory’s How to Create a Butterfly Garden to make this dream a reality.
(3) Become a recycling master. Not interested in making your backyard an oasis for bees and butterflies? Do your part by brushing up on your recycling skills. Kingston has a long-term goal of diverting 65% of its waste from landfills by 2018. In 2014, our waste diversion rate was 63%, the second best in the province. We still have a little way to go, so you can contribute to our city’s success by recycling effectively. Read this useful one-page guide by the City of Kingston to learn about what belongs in your blue box, grey box, and green bin.
(4) Teach your children to respect the environment. Early education about the importance of the environment is a great way to ensure they’ll become environmentally conscious adults. Take your children on clean-up missions to collect garbage around your neighbourhood. Crafts, like this homemade bird feeder bring wildlife to your own backyard, making nature a more visible and “real” concept to children. Finally, Kingston has numerous conservation areas – take advantage of them! Frequently taking your kids on walks and hikes provides great exercise, and teaches your kids to appreciate Kingston’s natural spaces.
Even a few small changes to your routine can make a difference, so don’t feel guilty if you don’t succeed right away. Have fun, and enjoy all of the great nature that Kingston has to offer! Being considerate of the environment ensures that Kingston will remain a beautiful and healthy place to live for years to come.