Be an environmental hero
Share the Love for the Environment
Listen as Sir David Attenborough delivers a speech representing the voice of the people in the first People’s Seat address at the UN Climate Conference
New Year, new you? How about just a more environmentally conscious you without all the bells and whistles of resolutions and hullabaloo? First step is an easy one, take a step out in nature!
What you can do: Literally go outside to a local park, natural open area, or dedicated reserve, preserve, or sanctuary! We might be biased, but Bolsa Chica is PERFECT for an evening stroll. Bonus, it’s free, local, and an easy walk as it’s mostly flat. Oh, and we have spectacular fauna and flora to boot.
Being out in nature or green space has many supported evidence to improve long term and short term mental and physical health. “Natural elements that promote well-being include trees, diverse vegetation, local biodiversity, water features, parks, natural playscapes, community gardens, and school gardens” is a good summary of all the different things that fit into the abstract concept of ‘nature’ or ‘green space’ (American Public Health Association). From lower stress and depression, better attention and focus, boost in creativity, to lower risk of major health diseases like inflammation, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, even potentially cancer (read about the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’). Nature play is also very important for children. The decreasing amount of time kids spend outside compared to inside on a screen, is being labelled as Nature deficit disorder. Let’s save the future generation for this disorder and teach them a great respect and appreciation for nature. Sources and more resources below.
A. Go for a walk
Literally. Go outside, find a park, take a walk. It’s as simple as that. Even better (and closer)? Plant a garden, native plants preferred, in your yard! If you only have a balcony then fill it with native plants in pots. Native plants can do well in containers. Grow indoor plants (if you have small children or pets grow non-toxic plants) which can help too, especially if there is a storm outside. The CDC recommends “adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week.”
B. Take your family and friends out with you!
Bring the whole family! Lead a hike with a local hiking or walking group at a local park (meetup.com, local environmental park organizations, and the Sierra Club are just some of the places to look for local hikes). Come to one of our FREE docent led walks at Bolsa Chica the third Sunday of every month! Garden with the kids or join a community garden (or start one if you neighborhood doesn’t have one).
C. Support local and national efforts to promote parks and open space
The Bolsa Chica Land Trust is one local non-profit who vigilantly fights to save the last remaining open space at Bolsa Chica, and who supports other local efforts to save and restore open space in Southern California. Nationally, organizations like The Trust for Public Land and the Nature Conservancy, are trying to save and restore, both small and large natural areas and parks throughout the USA. The Trust for Public Land even has an campaign to give everyone access to #10minwalk to a park. Their vision and goal is to get cities to spend resources to improve and build parks in their cities so that everyone can walk to a park in 10 minutes. We have partnered with The Trust for Public Land to save the last remaining open space at Bolsa Chica called the Ridge and Goodell properties.
’11 scientific reasons you should be spending more time outside’ Business Insider’ https://www.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature-outdoors-2016-4
‘It’s official — spending time outside is good for you’ Science Daily https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180706102842.htm
‘Health Benefits of Nature‘ American Society of Landscape Architects (great source of even more resources and research organized into adults and children sections) https://www.asla.org/healthbenefitsofnature.aspx
‘Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature’ Child Mind Institute https://childmind.org/article/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/
‘Ideas for Getting Your Kids into Nature’ Child Mind Institute https://childmind.org/article/ideas-for-getting-your-kids-into-nature/
Green Cities: Good Health from University of Washington and USDA Forest Service (great source of even more resources and research organized by research themes) http://depts.washington.edu/hhwb/
‘Improving Health and Wellness through Access to Nature’ American Public Health Association https://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2014/07/08/09/18/improving-health-and-wellness-through-access-to-nature
‘Physical Activity Basics’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm; https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf#page=55
#10minwalk The Trust for Public Land https://www.tpl.org/10minutewalk
The holiday season is upon us! Here are some tips to not only give gifts that they enjoy, but you also feel good about.
What you can do: Buy experiences like a concert, travel, or a spa day. Or get consumable projects like sweets, dried fruit, specialty salt, herbs, etc. If you feel inclined to get a material object as a gift, try to either buy from a local craftsperson or make it yourself (if you are one of the fortunate people who has both the time and the skill).
A. make it a family tradition
Very few things are fun to do alone, so wrangle your family and/or friends into starting a tradition of giving experiences or homemade goodies! Give each member a new experience (trying a new sport like paddleboarding, cooking classes, or a day at the spa) each year. Or make cookies and mason jar hot chocolate ‘kits’ for relatives. Who ever comes up with the most creative idea gets crowned the ‘Best Santa of the Year’ or something. Really, this tradition is only limited by your imagination.
B. Support community craft fairs and local small shops
The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday with the goal of supporting small local shops. But you don’t have to only shop local on SBS, there are craft or art fairs monthly or even weekly (especially around the Holidays). Huntington Beach is fortunate to have one that happens every Friday year-round, and in December almost every weekend at Pier Plaza. If you don’t live in or near Huntington Beach, most local farmers markets have local artisans and craftfolk selling their wares. Some cities also have special craft fairs right around the holidays, in addition to the farmers market. Look up your local city calendar, social media, or posters for events.
C. #OptOutside on Black Friday
REI started Opt Outside in 2014 in rebellion to the craziness that Black Friday has become. It takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving to get people outside and away from the materialistic crowds and attitude. #OptOutside is now a national phenomenon and we couldn’t agree more. So this year, and every year, take a hike outside. May we suggest at Bolsa Chica 😉
Small Business Saturday: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Business_Saturday
Pier Plaza Art Afaire: http://hbartafaire.com/
REI Opt Outside: https://www.rei.com/opt-outside
5 ways to #OptOutside and 2 major reasons you should: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/11/23/5-ways-optoutside-and-2-major-reasons-you-should/885432001/
Did you know that 30% of the average American trash is actually able to be composted? Let’s keep that nutrient rich organic material for our gardens and not the landfill!
What you can do: start your very own compost bucket! If you don’t have the room or the thought grosses you out, then start to take smaller portions and shop more thoughtfully to avoid forgotten food from becoming refrigerator experiments.
A. family compost kitchen bin
Start your own indoor kitchen compost bucket (usually using vermicomposting or specific type of bin you can buy or DIY). If you have more room, you can start backyard compost piles for all green waste. There are many different methods, from rolling bins to DIY piles for outdoor use. The important things to remember are: air, moisture, and organic matter (greens and browns). The ideal combo of organic matter is 75% brown and 25% green. Brown matter is like dry leaves and grass, straw, sawdust; green matter is like kitchen scraps (fruit, veggies, coffee and tea), fresh garden waste like grass, leaves, weeds. Avoid dairy, meat, and citrus (but egg shells are great).
Use worms inside or outside (less work for you) to vermicompost through a method called vermiculture. It’s pretty simple once you’ve established a nice healthy worm habitat. You can find more info on vermicomposting and where to get worms1.
Done well, your bin, either traditional compost or vermicompost, shouldn’t attract pests or smell bad.
B. community garden and work compost pile
If the idea of having composting green matter sitting in your garage or backyard just doesn’t appeal to you, you can often donate your kitchen waste to your local community garden. You can even start composting the weeds you pull at your community garden right there and then! If you don’t have a community garden, start one (Orange County Community Gardens)!
C. Getting companies like Costco to start composting and moving towards compostable products/ ‘plastics’
Put the pressure on local coffee shops (coffee and tea are compostable!) and food markets to offer compost collection bins. See if your local city has a green waste option and use it, or put the pressure on city council to start a city composting effort. Encourage the use of compostable products made out of materials like “nontoxic, cellulosic, compostable plastics2” or edible packaging (rice paper anyone?).
Composting at Home: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Compost Awareness: http://www.oclandfills.com/recycling/eco_challenge/compost_awareness
How to Create and Maintain an Indoor Worm Composting Bin: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/how-create-and-maintain-indoor-worm-composting-bin
Cheat Sheet: Composting: https://earth911.com/home-garden/cheat-sheet-composting/
Coastal Clean Up Day is the third Saturday of September, but wouldn’t it be great if we had the spirit of Coastal Clean Up everyday?! One way to prevent plastic is to not buy it in the first place!
Ok, not so simple, but we all can start by buying foods in bulk. I’m not talking about fresh foods that go bad fast, like strawberries and lettuce, which actually cost you and the environment more in the long run (think all that wasted food that isn’t home compost-able). I’m talking about dried foods like nuts, flour, spices, dried foods, loose leaf teas and coffee etc. Store these bulk foods in recycled glass or metal (or even plastic) containers that seal-air tight (bugs will still try to get at your stash). Reduce the plastic packaging out of landfills and the ocean by refusing plastic packaging, and even reuse/re-purpose old jelly jars at the same time! No need to even recycle!
Buying bulk isn’t just good for the environment, it can also be good for your wallet. Staples, like flour, are usually cheaper in bulk and you will need to take less trips to the store to refill saving gas and car emissions. The reverse can also be good. If you only need a cup of dried cranberries and you don’t use a lot of cranberries regularly, get exactly what you need. This will prevent wasted money and food compared to having to buy a whole prepackaged bag of the stuff.
A. Buy long-lasting food in bulk. Take it one step further: bring your own container to store the goods (remember to tar the weight of the container first) so you don’t have to use the disposable plastic bags, which is the whole point!
B. Get your family and friends on board. tip: tell them it will probably save them money and time in trips to the store
C. support your local grocery stores that have bulk foods. Snap a photo while you are buying bulk foods and share it on social media!
extra: if possible, you could even buy bulk staple household items like shampoo, soap, toilet paper, etc. Be careful though, sometimes bulk items are just regular sized items grouped together and wrapped in more plastic.
Moral of the story, scrutinize and be a consciousness shopper.
California’s recycling program is running into a recycling problem: wishful recyclers. Who are wishful recyclers you ask?
“People are engaged in wish recycling,” says Mark Oldfield, public affairs director at CalRecycle, which runs the state’s recycling program. “They think: ‘This should be recycled. I’m going to put it in the bin.’”
Take Away: Find alternatives (Refuse), Don’t get as many (Reduce), Find a way to Reuse, Find a way to Repurpose, and as a last step Recycle
Spoiler: disposable dirty diapers cannot be recycled….just don’t, that’s gross and ruins the rest of the stuff that can be recycled. I (Erin) as a new mom can understand why you would wish your dirty diapers, that seems to breed all on their own like Tribbles, could be recycled, but please, don’t put them in the recycle bin. Possible alternative: cloth diapers when feasible.
Sunscreen. Important for skin protection, but some ingredients can be harmful to coral reefs and possibly other marine life. Protect your skin AND the environment with our tip of the month.
What you can do: avoid sunscreen with oxybenzone and octinoxate for a start. Wear more protective clothing like hats when out in the sun so you use less sunscreen overall. Choose sunscreens that are mineral-based with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
- Trying to eliminate plastic from ‘polluting’ your trip? Get some tips from National Geographic! “Cutting back on single-use plastics might be easier than you think. Here are four things travel writer, Marie McGrory, learned from a week long experiment in Belize.”How to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics on Vacation
- Camping trip? Remember to Burn it Where you Buy It and Leave No Trace philosophies. Only burn wood you buy locally to that area to avoid the spread of invasive bugs who can be found in the wood (and when you burn it they scatter). Don’t bring the wood home either (spreading bugs in your local area), leave it for the next camper! Leave No Trace is exactly that, leave no trace you were ever there. One step further, leave it cleaner than you found it!
- Boating trip? Please remember to check for hitch-hikers! Invasive mussels are a major threat to the waterways of CA and beyond (even at Bolsa Chica). Also, if you are fishing, don’t leave any of your fishing gear (and we mean ALL of it) behind. Too many animals get caught in abandoned fishing lines, hooks, and sinkers.
- Home for Summer? Learn more about Backyard Conservation* at ‘Home Science: Backyard Conservation‘
- Going to the Beach? Here are some great tips to consider: ‘6 Ways to Be an Environmental Hero at the Beach Some ocean-friendly products and practices for the summer and beyond‘
- Prefer to stay indoors and veg out to some videos? May we suggest this great compilation of videos at the University of California Climate Lab
*thanks to Miss Ainsworth and Jennifer, Mikayla, Jamie, and Taylor for this link
Our purpose is to launch, inspire, and encourage EVERYONE to think beyond the 5 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle) and create a sustainable network of Environmental Heroes.
We have broken the exponential concept of “Share the Love” Environmental Action into 3 main steps below.
We have then broken it down further into 3 categories from an individual level to a global level:
A. Individual Actions
B. Family and Friends
C. Community and Beyond
*Come back often for even more tips and suggestions as this web page is updated frequently!*
Stay informed, engaged, and take action!
Write letters, emails, leave voice messages, vote, and spread the word (about issues, meetings, legislation, fundraising events and efforts, and any other activities that have an exponentially positive impact to save the environment and fight climate change). Volunteer, donate in any form, and speak up! Most environmental groups are always looking for new ways to reach people, always need help in one form or another, and appreciate hearing from concerned citizens.
A. Individual Action: Vote for upcoming legislation and local environment-friendly candidates
B. Family and Friends: Spread the word about Ridge/Goodell online (social media, blog posts, community forums, email, etc.), by sharing our newsletters and printed materials with your own community (church, school, club, neighborhood, family/friends, etc.)
Be conscious about your impact on the planet daily
From food to energy, and everything in between, every little bit helps, but don’t beat yourself up if you forget once in a while. We’re all human and life happens. Help others remember and become aware in an encouraging and supportive way too! After all, getting your family, friends, and community involved has the biggest positive effect on positive change. Start in your own home then get your extended family, friends, neighbors, church groups, clubs, schools to start themselves (create programs, community goals, etc.).
A. Individual Actions: Different areas in your daily life: home, office, vacation, yard, water, electricity/energy, transportation, carbon footprint, food use/waste/source etc.
B. Family and Friends: Create a friendly competition or reward system between groups/neighbors/clubs, family units, etc.
C. Community and Beyond: Bring a friend, group, family, etc. to an organized event (like our Bolsa Chica Stewards volunteer days!), volunteer to help at events or become regular volunteers at clean ups, restoration, education booths etc.
Invest for the future
Invest resources, time, money, almost anything will do. This is going beyond just taking action on a current issue, but investing in long-term conservation, innovation, ‘eco’ technology, and even the next generation.
A. Individual Actions: Planned giving (Learn more about the Bolsa Chica Land Trust Planned Giving)
B. Family and Friends: Invest to improve your own and your family’s property, and help your friends improve their properties, for long-term energy, water use, solar panels, water and local wildlife friendly yards, rain catches, electric cars, etc.
C. Community and Beyond: Invest in businesses, projects, infrastructure to improve community carbon footprint, make it easier and safer for people to improve personal impacts- city friendly bike paths, public transit, green spaces, community gardens etc.