2021 Monthly Green Tips from the Green Sanctuary Committee:
An excellent way to dispose of kitchen and yard waste is to build a compost bin. There are many styles, from plastic bins many towns provide to chicken wire cylinders you can easily build yourself; visit https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6957 for ideas and instructions. An added bonus is the rich compost for your garden! Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s a sustainable way to dispose of organic, compostable materials. You’d be surprised to learn how much can go into your bin! See https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/100-things-you-can-compost.
August is harvest time! Here in North Carolina we seem surrounded by bounty – local farmer’s markets abound with beautiful produce and fresh seafood. But it’s also a time to remember that everyone is not able to enjoy this abundance. In Carteret County many families daily face food insecurity. How to help? The Plant It Forward program, sponsored by the Carteret Food and Health Council, encourages home gardeners to plant extra to provide produce to local food pantries during the growing season. If you have extra produce from your home garden, you can take it to Lerzan’s Embell stand at the Beaufort Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, and she will distribute the food. Contact Daryl Walker (919-219-9840) for more information about this program and if you wish to donate during the week. Also, monetary donations to the Food Bank of North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org) or a local food pantry (https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Data/Sites/1/media/carteret-county-food-assistance-brochure.-2020.pdf) are welcome; you can rest assured your donation will be well spent toward helping our neighbors!
Ah, the sounds of summer, among them the gentle buzzing of bees in the yard and garden. Beyond adding to the soundtrack of summer, bees provide essential ecosystem services. From pollination of fruits and vegetables to producing honey, bees sustain us in multiple ways. But many of our bees are in trouble. You may have heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious phenomenon killing large numbers of our bees and putting our ecosystem at risk. Use of pesticides in our farm fields also contributes to the challenges our bees need to overcome. We can assist bees with activities such as planting an organic pollinator garden; learn more about how you can help bees at https://thebeeconservancy.org/10-ways-to-save-the-bees/ or https://www.planetbee.org/save-honeybees.
Those who live on the coast love our beautiful beaches and waterways. It’s always heartbreaking to see our shorelines littered with trash, especially plastic and Styrofoam debris. Members of UCF often participate in events such as the Carteret County Trash Trawl that took place April 24 this year (organized by UCF’s own Ryan Mroch, assisted by his family) and Big Sweep on April 17. These and other participatory events are ongoing. Visit https://www.carteretcountync.gov/704/Big-Sweep for information about Big Sweep’s 2021 calendar; they hold monthly cleanup events. UCF also publicizes trash cleanup events during the year. It feels great to help keep our Crystal Coast lovely!
As we start thinking about planting our 2021 gardens, we can benefit our planet’s diversity and wildlife by choosing native plants. Many of our favorite ornamentals are nonnative flowers and shrubs, but there are so many beautiful plants native to eastern North Carolina to choose from for your garden. There’s an added benefit to the birds and insects with whom we share our planet home; they are often specialists who need native plants to sustain them. Plant the aptly named American beautyberry shrub (Callicarpa americana) for a pop of color in your garden!
Have you heard about Arcadia? It’s a great way to help save the planet and, in a current special promotion, help UCF as well. Arcadia is a nationwide program that directs your local energy provider – such as Duke Progress Energy – to use renewable energy for 100% of the electricity supplied to your home. For our area, that’s wind power. UCF is an Arcadia member, ensuring that all electricity used at our church on Bridges Street in Morehead City is wind generated. Interested? Please read more about Arcadia at https://www.arcadia.com/. If you decide you’d like to join Arcadia, then please first read the important information below.
So, you’ve decided to join Arcadia – great! Let’s make sure that your decision to join will benefit UCF as well. Please DO NOT SIGN UP until reading further. FIRST, Linda Rudd would need to gather contact information from households that would definitely like to sign up for Arcadia’s program. Once Linda has gathered 10 such household contacts, then David Hughes will invite these households through UCF’s Arcadia Account. Once all 10 households have responded to UCF’s sponsorship invitation and joined Arcadia, Arcadia will donate $1,000 to UCF – a win-win if there ever was one! Signing up is easy. For more information, please contact Linda Rudd at email@example.com.
Environmentally aware dog and cat owners face a unique disposal problem – pet waste. A couple of options can help: Sir Wagginton’s for dogs and Yesterday’s News for cats. At https://sirwaggingtons.com, you can buy plastic-free biodegradable doggie waste bags made of cornstarch. According to the company, they can be composted or placed in the garbage (without being placed in the plastic can liner). Yesterday’s News is a pelleted cat litter made from recycled newspaper that can be buried or placed in a biodegradable trash bag. I’ve used the litter for several years and have heard no complaints from our cats!
Try a vegetarian supper! Winter is the perfect time to try vegetarian chili, and there are a wealth of recipes out there. One of my favorite combinations is black bean and butternut squash, but the possibilities are endless. Substituting one meal a week with a vegetarian choice for your family can reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of driving 1,160 miles less. Pass the cornbread!
This year think about making a sustainable new year’s resolution. Make it simple so that it’s easy to accomplish. For example, turn out the light when you leave the room, turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth or turn your thermostat down a degree or two at night and sleep with an extra blanket. Have a safe and happy new year!