Reaching Beyond the Three R’s: More Ways to Care for the Earth…By Guest Blogger & 1st Place Winner Emma Guglielmo
The Roswell community has no shortage of nature-lovers and tree-huggers. There are endless prestigious organizations that spread environmental education and activism, such as the Roswell Garden Club and the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Oftentimes, the environmentally-conscious choice is not the most convenient, but there are numerous ways to get involved.
Transforming your home into an eco-paradise can be easier than one thinks. At the end of the day, some people do not have the space, financial standing, or freedom to live a 100% eco-friendly lifestyle. Baby steps are the key to modification. If you don’t have room for a compost bin, use eggshells, which are full of calcium and other nutrients, as a plant fertilizer. Reducing red meat intake substantially reduces an ecological footprint. Try to go zero waste with the help of reusable storage bags and water bottles. One of the easiest recommendations is a simple switch to Ecosia, an online search engine. This company plants a tree for about every 45 searches in heavily deforested areas around the world, such as in Indonesia and Amazonia, with the use of ad revenue. While it seems too good to be true, there is no catch: Ecosia is extremely transparent with its financial reports and afforestation projects.
Another way to care for the environment is to garden with plants native to Georgia, such as Stokes’ Asters, salvias, and honeysuckles. Growing plants help pollinators like bees (arguably the world’s most important animals) to pollinate a third of the Earth’s food supply. More so, plants are the basis of all habitats for animals; they are needed to encourage biodiversity in insects and bird species. The garden’s hospitality reaches to all pollinators, including bees, butterflies, beetles, birds, and moths. One cannot emphasize the importance of native plants enough. The most foolproof way for a habitat to remain sustainable is by restoring the area with its native plants. Georgia’s own flora needs the least maintenance, which often means less water and fertilization, and creates a sense of place. Georgia should be as proud of its elderberries as much as its peaches! Gardens do not necessarily have to be outdoors, especially when there is a shortage of space. Keeping houseplants and growing herbs indoors like sage and mint are nonetheless a great option.
Taking an environmental science class and partaking in a school’s environmental group are wonderful ways to spread awareness and to meet others with the same passions and concerns for the Earth. At Roswell High School, the Environmental Club leads the charge to reduce the school’s ecological footprint. For example, the Environmental Club (fondly nicknamed the “Green Hornets”) assists by sponsoring drives. Let it be for old towels, dead batteries, or plastic bags, these drives confront students and staff with the shameful reality of human wastefulness―trash does not disappear after the garbage truck drives away, after all. The Green Hornets expand interactions with other Roswell-founded organizations, such as the Small Dreams Foundation’s Fun Run Toward Sustainability to participate in the community. While on a smaller scale, many mornings are spent picking up litter on the campus.
While it may be easier for the human race to ignore the wreaking of havoc onto the environment, ultimately it will be humans who will suffer in the end. Fortunately, there is a solution: awareness and action, which are both provided by the Roswell community. Change is challenging, but possible as a passion for the Earth’s wellbeing perseveres in the hearts of Roswell citizens. All it takes is one small step in the right direction, even if that step is as minimal as switching a search engine.
Photo caption: Tomato ripening on the vine. For a hot summer in Roswell, this August harvest will not be the last. (photo credits: Emma Guglielmo)