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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

New Year, New Ideas for a Bright Future

By Dana Miracle-Hammons

It’s a new year and like many people, I’ve had a lot on my mind. As an environmentalist at my core, I take all the latest F.E.M.A., E.P.A., C.D.C., and the World Climate Summit reports to heart. It’s scary to think about what we have done to our planet. Many, many people around the world don’t believe the reports that come out about the condition of Earth, they figure if they can’t see it being done and if it isn’t affecting them right now, then it’s not happening. But guess what, it is. We can no longer sit idly by and wait for someone else to take care of it, and here are some ideas on how we can help.

Small ideas are still very important, remember a  journey of a thousand miles starts with one little step. The damage we’ve done to Earth didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be fixed overnight either. One of the biggest things to bear in mind is that if we have no plants and trees, we have no oxygen. Yes, you read that right, no oxygen. While trees are our largest producer of breathable oxygen, plants fill in the gap. But how is it possible to dispose of garbage and keep ample room for the flora and fauna, glad you asked…UPCYCLING, also known as recycling but better. You would be amazed at how easy it is to not only have trash but use it in everyday life! Gardening is an excellent time to upcycle, and Winter is a great time to do our new projects to help beat the winter blues. 

There are so many ideas it’s staggering, it can be daunting to know to even begin.  Let’s start with the first thing most people would think of, planters. Any everyday object can be used as a pot, or a way of displaying many pots. Anything that can hold dirt, can be used to display your glorious blooms and plants. Search your garage, closet, shed, local thrift stores, or look at the local landfill for items for your new project. These items can be whimsical and colorful, but they could also be lovely and simple, just use what matches your personality

There are vast amounts of objects you can use as a planter. Arrange them big or small, single or in a group, and you can paint it or leave it natural, but whatever objects you decide to use as your newest and coolest planter, make sure it can handle water without disintegrating, plus has no residual chemicals left on it, or in it. You need to clean any recycled materials that will hold soil and a plant, especially if the plant will produce food.   

Not only can you design planters, but you can also create new gardening tools or customize the ones you have. Have a problem with an existing tool or just plain need one, use your imagination and all the muscle you have and make one. Our ancestors made what they needed, and that information and craftsmanship need to be passed on to the new generations because you can always find basic tools at a major store, but they don’t always meet your needs.

There is a great deal of satisfaction in developing your tools and making them just the way you want them. For example, I need someone to create tools that will make bending over easier on my bad back. I think we all have that need, right?

After you make your planters and potted your plants with the gardening tools you have made, it’s time to get back to work and design, and make, your own patio furniture to rest and relax on. 

Tires, pallets, pails, pillows, and paint are the most sought-after objects when it comes to new “used”  garden furniture. A splash of color for Spring or a smokey hue for Autumn, it doesn’t matter just see where the wind blows your creativity. You’ll want to seek out the best of the best recycling to make your outdoor furniture, not only does it need to be very sturdy and safe, it will be sitting outside for many years to come.  Whether you paint it or not, using premium outdoor paint and a good sealant should do the trick to secure your upcycled furniture for a while.

We all need to take these climate reports seriously, we can’t grow anything on scorched soil.  Our beautiful gardens, our bountiful crops, all the life on Earth is depending on us to do our part.  So, upcycle your way into a brighter, and cooler tomorrow. God bless you and yours.

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