By Erica Fernandez
It’s no secret the world has a finite number of resources left on the Earth. The World Wildlife Fund estimates we will need two earth-sized planets by the year 2050. It might be a bit too dramatic a forecast, but there is a need for the world to consider more than convenience and instant gratification when planning, shopping and commuting. Although the buzz and efforts surrounding carbon offsetting has been growing, Bloomberg reports that the UN’s compliance deadline to cut and offset emissions still has not been met.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports over 1,300 sites on the National Priorities List, places too toxic for inhabitation, and the devastation caused by greenhouse gases needs no introduction. It can feel like there is very little one person can do to save it, but there are plenty of ways we can contribute to improving the state of the world and our garden at the same time before having to get remediation companies to clean up our messes.
Learn the Facts
Even though the number of landfills has decreased steadily in the last 20 years or so, according the EPA, we’re not producing less garbage. We’re shoving more into more cramped spaces. We have an overabundance of landfills that produces up to 17 percent of the nation’s methane gas emissions, according to the EPA. Methane disperses more quickly in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide and causes more short-term damage. Although organizations like the National Resources Defense Counsel work tirelessly to spread awareness, while remediation companies like Sevenson Environmental have cleaned up old landfill sites, there is still a lot of work to be done. Luckily, that work can begin right in your back yard, garden, or even garage or spare room. Welcome to the wonderful world of home composting.
Start With the Basics
Composting is not only an efficient way to discard organic waste effectively, it helps make the soil more nutrient rich and your garden more verdant. Composting can start with a cheap, large bin outside or inside, depending on your spacial limitations. You can use simple tools such as shovels and pitchforks, or larger tools like stump grinders for bigger jobs. The general recipe for compost is never to add dairy, fats or meats to your pile, and use a 1/1 ratio for compost and soil. The Sierra Club estimates that a family of four can create up to 500 pounds of healthy, fresh, fertile compost in a year. Compost is a suitable fertilizer for all soil types, and balances nitrogen-carbon ratio. As compost decomposes, it creates enough heat to kill most types of weed seeds as well, according to Cal Recycle. Composting not only offsets greenhouse gas emissions, it makes for happy trees and plants in your garden. Starting your own compost pile/bucket/bin is a win/win situation for your home, garden, yard and the environment at large.
From Seattle, Erica spends her days writing, landscaping and gardening. She enjoys writing for sites that support green initiatives.