For those of you who dont know, today is Blog Action Day, a day when bloggers throughout the world are writing for the purpose of getting “people thinking, discussing, questioning and talking about the environment…” I am just one of over 12,000 bloggers participating so this should be quite a day on the Internet!
I dont know about you, but sometimes all of the talk about the environment and “going green” seems like something too big for us as individuals to even begin to make a difference. I have been building a file of environment related articles and during this process realized how every much I still have to learn. But I also understand that even one small change we make in our daily lives can and will make a difference.
First, lets look at Lake Norman. Clearly, right now our water levels are frighteningly low. But what about long term problems and solutions? According to a Charlotte Observer article on May 4, 2006, lakeside buffers are not only extremely beneficial but are now required for all new waterfront construction. Those of you who live on the lake might find ways to improve your buffer.
What is a lake buffer? It is a buffer of trees and other natural vegetation 50′ or more deep on the land closest to the shoreline.
Why are lakeside buffers important?
- ·They filter runoff: Tree canopies slow down the speed at which rain/water hits the ground thereby allowing it time to soak into the spongy mulch and act as a filter to keep sediment, nutrients and other pollutants out of the water
- ·They halt erosion: Tree roots hold the soil on banks
- ·They capture nutrients: such as nitrogen and phosphorus that shouldnt go in the water
- ·They serve secondary roles: allowing water to seep into the soil thereby recharging ground water, providing shade, food and habitat for wildlife
The bottom line is the more trees the better. You can add from an approved list of native plants but not subtract trees. Ground covers, leaf litter and pine needles must be left to filter sediment and pollutants.
Unfortunately, our county does not provide pick-up for recycling however it is not hard to do it on your own.My husband and I have large plastic trash cans designated for paper, aluminum cans, plastic and an area to keep all flattened cardboard boxes…from large UPS boxes to cereal boxes. We take these to the Iredell County Solid Waste Transfer Station on Hwy 150 at the ramp to the 21 going south whenever they are full. This transfer station has separate containers to put plastic, aluminum cans, flattened cardboard and paper as well as other trash. They will ask for verification of your residence in Iredell County. Once a year they send out a sticker for you car/truck as well.
What else can we do?
- Stop Smoking: This one is easy for us because we dont smoke. Did you know that it takes 10 years for a butt to degrade?
- Cut down on miles driven: Telecommuting, carpooling and use our school buses! (This will help our traffic as well. )
- Get a tune-up: Keep tires inflated properly, avoid heavy breaking, lighten the load…every little bit helps!
- Garden: Use soaker hoses or drip systems whenever possible. Mulch around plants to prevent erosion and conserve moisture
- Plastic or Paper? Neither! Bring your own. I must admit I have yet to be willing to do this but we do recycle the plastic bags
- No more plastic bottles for water and beverages: This is another one we are finding hard to do after years of drinking bottled water but its on my list.
- Turn off lights when not needed
- Save a tree: Go digital or email whenever possible
- Energy efficiency: Program thermostats, caulking and weather-stripping and proper insulation all cut down on heating and AC.
Truly, green is now the color of the decade. I frankly didn’t even make a dent on my file of information on going green because the list of how we can help our environment is so long. I will write more in the future.
I know all of this can be terribly overwhelming so I just concentrate on baby steps, knowing that if we all join in we can make a difference!
Island Keepers (Join the effort to keep Lake Norman Clean!)