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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Celebrating Earth Day is Two Weeks Away

If we are to continue to survive on this planet, we must find a sustainable way to preserve our natural resources and the integrity of our bodies. Observing Earth Day is a way to remember that all of us must do anything pro-active to protect the planet. Some are well on their way in taking this matter into their own hands. Those that live on arable land, no matter how small, have begun to grow their own produce. Others, who live in dense urban locales, are opting to shop for organic produce and protein by linking up with farmers’ co-ops and farmers’ markets that deliver locally, and sustainably grown, healthy food into the cities.

Wise gardeners have begun using drip hoses, instead of sprinklers, to preserve water where it has become precious, and they are judiciously re examining the use of certain herbicides and pesticides that trickle down into the water tables. For others, composting kitchen scraps and garden waste to reuse in the garden as nutrients for plants, is becoming the reality. Farms, degraded by overproduction, await restoration so that nature’s balance of wildlife and plants may return to preserve the rejuvenated land. Furthermore, we must ensure that the heating and cooling systems of our homes and work places are the most energy efficient that prevailing technology allows.

Driving fuel-efficient cars is still a controversial topic. Few have addressed the question of how much energy a power plant must generate in order to recharge an electric car battery; while the use of bio-fuel to run cars and trucks has created unforeseen problems in the food chain. Another unresolved matter concerns global warming. It is still unclear what portion of the warming of the earth is a natural, cyclical phenomenon and what portion is attributable to human behavior. It is also unclear how much effect humans will have on this natural cycle, if such behavior can ever be modified on a global scale.

What is certain, however, is that human behavior pollutes an earth that is supposed to sustain us. If we are to remain healthy, cleaning up our environment has to start with us, at the community level, because it is unrealistic to expect governments of heavily industrialized nations to lead on this matter. And it has to start now!

Furthermore, nothing will be accomplished if environmentally friendly folk continue to dialogue endlessly only with each other. All of that energy, both human and capital, should be spent on improving the environment where we live, because it appears to be so much easier to introduce new ideas, locally, than at the federal level. For example, in the American Southwest, individual communities are successfully regulating landscape irrigation by capturing rainwater with innovative recycling sewer systems. In California, new standards of emissions will be implemented shortly. This environmentally significant move will take place in conjunction with several other American states and a few Canadian provinces that, jointly, will turn these emission standards into law. This has been accomplished without the circus and fanfare that usually accompanies dealing with controversial issues.

In some parts of the world, the value of life, other than one’s own, remains dismayingly low. In other places, what happens outside the village boundaries is of no consequence to local inhabitants. Therefore, it would be naïve to assume that there will be global consensus on saving the planet in the very near future. In the meanwhile, each of us can do our share to restore and heal that portion of the earth that we appreciate by starting, literally, in our own back yard. Please observe Earth Day on Thursday April 22, 2010 with an act of kindness to the land that surrounds you. To find out what you can do, visit the EPA web site.

This post was created with the encouragement of Garden Bloggers Sustainable Living Project.

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Reader Comments (4)

I have my Earth Day tee shirt all ready to wear! The schools are big proponents of Earth Day and I just read and am waiting to review a really good children's book on ecology.

Thanks for the reminder about celebrating a day that should be everyday!


April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Very interesting article. definitely food for thought about the world we live in and how we affect it and others.

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchris

Hi Allen,

I'm so sorry but somehow I lost your message and was unable to publish your comment.
I must first apologize for my mini rant, but it's a bit like the Redford Gardens being described as an American Garden. What else to describe the style? Not sure,but British Garden doesn';t sound right does it ? The style what ever it should be called is probably a part of the last century, before concerns for environment and valuable resources that were used on that kind of garden.As the world becomes more homogenous' style' has become more international and so, in the future perhaps we should describe gardens by the climate they are in, such as Northern temperate , Mediterranean, Pacific North-West etc.

As for Hellebores, I have a place in Montreal and know it is difficult or impossible to grow Hellebores. Maybe some of the species are more hardy? Has the Montreal Botanic done any work on the genus?

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry Parker

Hi Allan, I really enjoyed this piece. You brought up so many important points. Thank you so much for your participation! Your contribution is important and gives us all lots of food for thought. Jan

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan (ThanksForToday)

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