An Environmental Aspect to This Memorial Day
As we remember our fallen troops this Memorial Day, let’s also pay tribute to Rachel Carson, born on May 27, 1907, a famous conservationist credited with starting the modern day environmental movement.
After studying at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and receiving a Masters in zoology from Johns Hopkins University, Carson started her career as a marine biologist. She became increasingly concerned about the use of synthetic pesticides after World War II and changed her focus to become an environmentalist.
In 1962 Carson wrote the seminal book, Silent Spring, raising public awareness, and concerns, about the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment. Although chemical companies aggressively fought to discredit Carson, her book eventually triggered a national ban on DDT and other pesticides. Carson’s activism also spurred a nationwide environmental movement including the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In tribute to Rachel Carson, let’s embrace these gardening strategies which improve the health of our environment:
1) Eliminate synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Use organic counterparts sparingly, and carefully, if at all. Organic does not mean “benign.”
2) Attract and support beneficial insects in your landscape with regionally native plants. More than 90% of the insects in our landscapes are beneficial and many act as nature’s pest control.
3) Reduce or eliminate your lawn – it’s an ecological desert.
4) Focus on increasing the health of your soil – it’s filled with life. Compost is king for most soils, not fertilizer.
5) Select plants which attract and support our valuable native bees and honey bees – they are responsible for pollinating many of our food crops.
6) Enrich the ecosystem in your yard by planting a diversity of native plants. Bio-diverse landscapes are more resistant to pests, diseases, and extreme weather events.
7) Plant the right plant in the right place for best plant health. Don’t put sun-loving plants in the shade!
8) Remove non-native invasive plants and replace them with regionally native plants.
9) Tolerate some messiness in your garden to support wildlife. Nature isn’t perfect and your yard doesn’t have to be either.
10) Plant more native plants. They have co-evolved with other living things in your ecosystem and support them.
Happy Memorial Day from Kim Eierman, Founder, EcoBeneficial!
Photo: Bumble bee on Clethra flower
Photo credit: Flickr_Dendroica cerulean
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