By Greenville County Soil & Water Conservation District
Under our growing demands, natural resources like healthy soil, clean water, and green space are being exhausted. While the environmental issues we’re up against can feel overwhelming, there are opportunities to make greener choices every day. If your New Year’s resolution is to reduce your environmental impact, we have some great places for you to start.
- Ditch single use items
There’s no denying that we’ve become creatures of convenience, but there’s no such thing as throwing things “away”. While some single use items can be recycled, the majority end up in landfills or littering our riverbanks and shorelines. Reduce your consumption and our dependence on fossil fuels by making the switch to reusable water bottles, bags, and food containers.
- Detox your yard
Yard chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides wreak havoc on our natural world. To find out what your soil really needs, get it tested by Clemson Extension first. Soil testing can save you money and protect our waterways. When excess fertilizer runs off, it can lead to toxic algae blooms and “dead zones” in rivers, lakes, and streams. Composting is a great alternative, and it will keep food scraps, leaves, and other organic materials out of the landfill.
When choosing new plants and trees for your yard, go native. Native plant species require less upkeep, pollinators love ’em, and you’ll be preserving local biodiversity.
- Eat local
Eating local doesn’t only support farmers – it supports Mother Earth too! Fewer food miles means less fuel consumption and air pollution. Plus, fresher food. Likewise, buying local food helps protect land, soil, and wildlife that could otherwise be lost to development.
Eating local can also mean growing your own. Consider becoming a Master Gardener or taking advantage of the new Seed Library that will open on February 23rd at the Berea Branch Library – both will turn your thumb green in no time!
- Spend less, save more
You save more than just money when you buy less or choose secondhand items. Everything we buy comes with an environmental impact. It’s estimated that one cotton t-shirt, for example, requires 766 gallons of water from seed to store. Supply meets demand. To live greener means to demand carefully.
Whether it’s a tree planting, restoring wildlife habitat, or a river clean-up, there are many opportunities to volunteer with local organizations here in Greenville. But you don’t have to wait on others to start! Download the ‘Litter Ends Here‘ app and start making a difference one piece of litter at a time.
To learn more about greening your 2019 and our community programs, visit www.greenvillesoilandwater.com.