Are you someone who cares about the environment and your impact on it? It goes without saying that if you do, I think you are pretty rad. Chances are you take your reusable coffee cup to your local café, say no to plastic bags and recycle or upcycle wherever you can.
Perhaps you always chose environmentally friendly cleaning products. Or better still, you make your own. All of these things are important and worthwhile, but they are simply not enough, considering the state of the natural world. Most current environmental initiatives only focus on reducing our environmental impact, not reversing it.
When we reduce our impact, we still have a negative impact on the environment. It’s only smaller than what it would be if we used the less environmentally friendly initiatives. Reducing our impact only slows down the rate of destruction of the planet, it doesn’t stop it. It doesn’t improve the overall health of the environment.
What we really need to be doing is reducing our impact and reversing the damage we have done. Doing things which support our local ecosystems, flora and fauna. Things that enable the natural world to flourish.
The good news is that there are many such things that we can all be doing which are simple, practical and cheap. Below are just a few examples.
Instead of sending your food waste to landfill (approximately 50% of waste sent to landfill at present is either food or green waste according to Brisbane City Council), allow it to be broken down so that your garden/yard can benefit from its nutrients.
There are a few different composting systems available these days – in garden piles or bins, mobile bins and even indoor bins. Some utilise worms and others, not. You can buy kits and bins from local gardening and hardware stores. They are also great for the kids to learn about nature and get their hands dirty (instead of playing on their iPads).
2. Leave some water out for insects and animals
Just a little container will do. Native bees, birds and other creatures all need water to survive. Having water available enables them to work around your property and help keep your local ecosystem healthy. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to leave the water to stagnate and become a mosquito breading ground, so you would need change it regularly.
3. Plant native trees/plants
Native plants attract native wildlife. Native wildlife is important because they play a role in supporting other functions in the ecosystem, therefore keeping them running well. Native plants also require less maintenance because they are suited to the climate and that means less of your time!
I should note that the native trees you select need to be suitable for your local area. Just because something is native, doesn’t mean it will grow in shitty-arse soil or in whatever your local climate conditions are.
4. Stop caring so much about how things look
Let things overgrow. Allow nature to take its course. Healthy environments aren’t perfectly manicured. Each living plant and creature has a function in the larger ecosystem. Interfering with that because of how we think things should look, just messes everything up and prevents the ecosystem from functioning correctly.
5. Allow other species to live in your vicinity
We don’t have more of a right to be here than any other species. We don’t have a right to knock down bird nests because we find their singing annoying. We don’t have a right to poison insects, and we don’t have the right to destroy other animals’ habitats.
We are part of the environment. Not separate to it. Not above it. We need to be kinder to all the other living things we share the environment with. They benefit us by supporting the natural ecosystems we need to survive.
All of these things support the environment and help it to flourish. Think of them as a way of giving back to the natural world. The natural world that humans generally only ever take from.
The poor state of our ecosystems across the globe require us all to take action. Will you stand up and start playing your part?
Is there something you do to improve the health of your local environment? What is it?