Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Happy Earth Day! Did you kiss your earth this morning?

I fed my worms today. On my balcony, there's a black box filled with vegetable scraps, dirt, and red worms. The worms are vegetarians. They especially like the stuff that is rotting already. Their waste goes into a bin below, which I use to fertilize my house plants.

A lot of people find the worms to be icky. I like them. They live to eat and breed. They eat the vegetables that I couldn't get to in time. And my plants get food from my food and the worms' waste which beats having to use chemical fertilizers.

Alameda county residents with a balcony or backyard can get a compost bin or worm bin which usually costs at least $100, can get one for $25 with shipping from Stop Waste.

I started a list last year called, "I'm an environmentalist because I'm Filipino because..." kind of along the lines of "I'm Filipino because..."

A friend of mine who works at Asian Pacific Environmental Network contributed quite a few, which is probably why she works for environment stuff now. Here's part of the list:

I'm an environmentalist because I'm Filipino because..."

  1. wash and reuse foil
  2. pass along and use hand me downs from my siblings/cousins/etc
  3. never throw away stuff because there's always someone who can use it
  4. always bring baon/leftovers home from a party
  5. carpool with as many people as possible
  6. use banana leaves for plates

In some ways, Filipinos are natural environmentalists. In some ways we're not. (It's that out of site out of mind problem that we have.)

I've been practicing. It takes a while to get into the habit. There are a lot of good reasons to be an environmentalist in your home.

  1. it saves money - a lot of the chemicals and cleaners you use have low cost alternatives that are dirt cheap
  2. it's a lot healthier - have you read the active ingredient list on some of those things? malathion, stuff that carrodes the skin, really toxic stuff. And we spray this stuff in our homes where we sleep and eat?
  3. it feeds the soul - it makes you feel better that you're doing what you can to alleviate the pressures we put on the earth on a day to day basis.

I bought a pair of books called Haley's Hints which is a collection of tips on cleaning and managing the home. Most of the cleaning products involve: water, baking soda, vinegar and/or ammonia.

In some ways it makes life easier, simpler. There doesn't have to be another gadget, another cleaning product. It's the small things we do on a daily basis that add up over a life time. It's the least we can do for Mom.

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