Spring Garden Tips and Tricks

The days are longer and our plants are loving that warm sun photosynthesizing time. However much the plants enjoy this growing spree, our jungle of a front yard can only last so long. This Spring, green your landscaping routine by using less water, energy, chemicals, and best of all, our favorite type of green, money!

Be wise about watering: 50%-70% of a typical American family’s water usage per year goes to the lawn and garden. To save, make sure your sprinklers are set to water your garden, not the cement around it. You can keep your grass lush by not cutting it so short. Longer grass keeps the moisture in because of the shade that is crated by the long blades. Also, make sure that the ground is dry before you water it, more plants die of over-watering, rather than under-watering! Watering your plants midday, when the sun is at its hottest, evaporated up to 30% of what you sprinkled on it. Set your sprinkler for early in the morning, and watch your garden thrive!

Be energy efficient: In just one year Americans will use 800 million gallons of gas to mow their lawns. Even worse, we spill more gas trying to fill up our lawn equipment each year than the Exxon Valdez spilled in 1989! You have three options to mow your lawn; the most common gas-powered mower, electric mowers, or reel mowers – these are the ones you push by hand. Electric mowers cost about $5.00 USD to run all year, where as $5.00 USD will only get you two mows with a gas-powered mower. Reel mowers are practically silent, yet electric mowers make only one tenth of the noise that gas-powered mowers do. Push mowers also help you burn calories, up to 400 an hour! Also the grass clippings left over from a reel mower help fertilize the soil naturally, no Miracle Grow required!

Help the soil: To get rid of small weeds, like in your walkway cracks, you can simply pour boiling water or white vinegar on them. For peskier weeds there are many eco-friendly weed-killing options that won’t poison surrounding plants and the ground water. For larger areas, you can lay down old fabric or recycled newspaper to block the weeds from ever sprouting!

How far will you go for peace?

How far will you go for peace? It is a question that many Roots & Shoots youth have to ask themselves. I think I would go pretty far. Forget embarrassment, forget what’s “normal” and just go for it!

There are so many groups to support being peaceful. Grandmothers for Peace, Pennies for Peace, Pinwheels for Peace, Cranes for Peace, Soccer for Peace, and Texans for Peace. One of my favorites is Bark for Peace “Organic vegan dog treats you can eat with your dog!” (That one is for you Shawn!)

My latest action for peace was a bit unexpected. As we were leaving the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall, we happened to pass a man with a large multi-colored hula hoop. My collegue, JGI Communications Specialist/Press Officer, Claire Jones said, “Nice hula hoop!” as we passed. The man said, “It’s a hula hoop for peace. Do you want to try?” Upon hearing this I had to stop. I dropped my Glamour goody bag and slung the hoop over my head. After doing my best to consistently hula hoop for a good 20 seconds, I had to give up due to laughing so hard.

Here are some photos!

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There are so many funny things about these photos! Check out the looks that people are giving me, the juxtaposition of my silky dress and my bulky khaki coat (it’s the warmest one I had!), and the height of the heels I am wearing!

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Dr. Jane has done so much for peace, but one unique act for peace was snuggling up to a Peace Rat. Click here to read the article about these incredible bomb sniffing, people saving, hero rats!

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What crazy things have you done for peace lately?

Eco-Fashion

Eco-friendly items have come a long way. “Fashionistas” may have scoffed at the idea of hemp clothing, envisioning it to be something close to a scratchy burlap sack, but now Eco-friendly clothing widely accepted. Green is the new black.

From hemp and organic cotton to soy and bamboo to safe-silk, products are changing as we know it. Many new companies are working toward having minimal to no negative environmental impact and protecting labor rights along the way. Yoga clothing is not the only Eco-friendly product available, you can purchase anything from bedspreads and towels to fabulous jackets and dresses.

With winter rapidly approaching staying warm and dry is becoming more and more important. If you ski, snowboard or just sled and frolic in the snow you know that staying dry is the key to enjoying your day outside. Cotton doesn’t dry quickly and when it gets wet it stops keeping you warm. Try something like Patagonia’s polyesters and fleeces made from recycled soda bottles, or something made from lyocell or TENCEL® which are fabrics made from plant cellulose, usually wood pulp. It is said that lyocell and TENCEL® can move like linen, keep you warm like wool, but be as soft as silk. With all the options out there, you can find many ways to keep yourself happy in the snow this season.

To find out more about Eco-friendly fabrics and what to look for next time you go shopping check out this Eco-friendly Fabric Guide.

How to inspire the resistant, AKA my roommates

On the very first day that I moved into my new house in Virgina, I was warmly welcomed by one of my lovely roommates proclaiming that he didn’t believe in recycling. I asked, “How does recycling work in Virginia?” he promptly responded, “I don’t know, but there won’t be any recycling in this house.” Now, I am from one of the most community-based, liberal, Eco-conscious towns in not just Oregon, but probably the US too. I don’t think the idea of not recycling has ever really crossed my mind, much less being outright against it. So after a little more discussion I found that my roommate believed that it costs more to recycle then to make things from our remaining natural resources or synthetically.

That was two months ago. I have yet to convince my two male roommates to recycle, so I spend my evenings letting my crazy environmentalist inner bag lady come out by going through the recycling pulling out trash, and going through the trash pulling out the recycling. It is so mind boggling to me that recycling wouldn’t be innate.

So, how can I inspire my roommates without sounding like I am critizing them for their lifestyle? It is a hard task. I don’t want to sound like their mother complaining all the time. But how can I resist when they don’t fill up the ice trays but put them back in the freezer empty? Or when their dishes sit in the sink and stink up the kitchen expecting someone else, me, to scrub them? Or when they take 30 minute showers? Or when they throw their cans and bottles in the trash?

It is a delicate balance between just living with someone and being friendly too. I know that I use the least amount of energy and water yet I pay for a quarter of it all. This is when I start to think that it would be so much easier to just live on my own. It would be so nice to know that how I live is directly proportional to how much my bills are.

Learning to live with total stangers has been a chore. But I am starting to learn a little more about give and take. I have yet to have a moment with all my roommates at the same time, but my idea is to do a trade off for recycling. I am willing to sweep one a week, or keep the kitchen counters clean. I am open to suggestions.

Have any of you ever had roommate or even family problems trying to convince them to be more environmentally friendly? Any advice is warmly welcomed!!

Peace Day 2008!

Hey everyone, Roots & Shoots Day of Peace was a great success all around the world! Congratulations! Here are some highights from the weekend.

Katia and I at the United Nations in 15 naughts of wind!

Katia and I with the Peace Bell made out of old weapons, “May peace prevail on earth!”

The United Nations New York City

Myself with Peace Dove and Dr. Jane in the background at St. Catherine’s Park

National Office Ladies: Claire, Katherine and I

Mi amigo, Christian and I

Don’t forget to share your Roots & Shoots Day of Peace experience with us! Submit a Project Report and send your photos, with completed release forms, to peacedoves@janegoodall.org!

New Youth Leadership Fellow: Shanay Healy

Hey everyone! My name is Shanay Healy and I will be the Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership Fellow for 2008-2009.

I’m from Ashland, Oregon which is in the Southern part of the state, just 14 miles from the California border. I got involved with Roots & Shoots when I went to the 2006 ChimpanZoo Conference in LA and later the Roots & Shoots Day of Peace celebration at Griffith Park. That was the first time I heard Dr. Jane speak and I knew then that I really wanted to get involved and take Roots & Shoots back to my community. I later did the ReBirth the Earth: Trees for Tomorrow Campaign as my Senior Project. Look for me and the rest of my story in the September e-newsletter.

After I graduated from Ashland High School in 2007 then I went to Denia, Spain as a Rotary Youth Exchange student. I lived there for 11 months with a host family and went to high school. I made incredible friends and wonderful memories and grew so much.

I spent my short summer in Oregon and then moved back East to Arlington, VA and started to work at the Jane Goodall Institute’s National Office as the Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership Fellow.

Now that I am settled in I want to let you all that I am here for any questions or any ideas you may have. You can email me at shealy@janegoodall.org anytime.

Keep up the great work!

With hope for the future,

Shanay Healy