When I saw this beautiful wild mustang pick up a piece of trash in his mouth while attempting to find something to eat, my heart sank and in an instant I knew that I had to act immediately. This post was prompted by an innate need to take action and do my part to fulfill my inherent responsibilities to the earth, our home.
A healthy earth is essential for all living creatures, supplying us with shelter, food, fresh air, beauty to enjoy, and a place for us to thrive. Together, we can work for a brighter today, tomorrow, and future. No act is too small for a home that gives us so much.
Below are some ways we can help the earth that most of us are familiar with but often don't always know all of the details about. They are extensions of the well-known phrase, "Recycle, Reduce, Reuse," coined by the iconic Recycle Rex.
I hope to help educate people on ways they can incorporate sustainable, earth-friendly habits in their everyday lives and inspire positive change toward a happier and greener earth.
Recycling is an important process that minimizes the need for the harvesting, refining, and processing of new raw materials using less energy, keeping greenhouse gases down, and utilizing materials to their fullest extent.
-Packaging material constitutes a third of landfill space
-Recycling a single glass bottle means a 20 percent reduction in air pollution and a 50 percent reduction in water pollution compared to making a bottle from raw materials
-Recycling paper takes 73 per cent less air pollution than if it were made from raw materials
-A glass bottle takes 4,000 years to decompose, meaning that even if the degradable waste in the landfill properly finished decomposing, the land cannot be re-used as the amount of rubbish left will remain for thousands of years
In this incredible, useful, and informative resource written by earthday.org, you can learn how to take the guess work out of recycling with these simple tips.
*Don't recycle plastic bags
They get tangled in equipment, hurt, and kill animals. Instead, find a drop-off location to handle them properly.
Did you know that if you put a plastic bag full of recyclables in a recycle bin, it will go to the landfill? Place your recyclables loosely in your recycle bin, without a plastic bag to get them to the appropriate sorting facility.
Did you know that you can crochet plastic bags into mats and tote bags?
I stumbled upon a neighbor's post on Nextdoor who is doing amazing work making mats for people unhoused to sleep on. If you have questions, you can contact her on Nextdoor: Mary Torbik. She is currently accepting bags.
If you're not from Reno, join a crochet group in your neighborhood and start a movement toward a better world.
*Don't recycle anything smaller than a credit card (bottle caps and straws)- they jam up and break recycling equipment.
Check out these nifty ways to upcycle bottle caps or simply screw them back on bottles, then recycle.
*Make sure containers are clean, empty, and dry before recycling.
Food waste contaminates materials, rendering them useless and in turn ends up in the landfill.
*Mixed materials are considered waste. If your paper cup is mixed with plastic, it is not recyclable.
*Don't know if your plastic is recyclable? Check out these codes. Generally, plastics labeled with 1 or 2 are recyclable
*Don't wishcyclye - optimistically placing items in the bin you know are not recyclable.
The whole bin might end up in the landfill.
*Make sure what you're putting in the bin is recyclable, otherwise the whole load can end up in the landfill. Use the internet to double-check. Knowledge is power.
Reno's recycling guide - Where to recycle batteries, light bulbs, computers, phones & other e-waste, paint and other hazardous waste, scrap metal, fridges, and other big appliances, sharps and syringes, and tires
They also have a big dump bin right next to the recycle bins if you have anything to dump. If you have a lot of trash to get rid of, their dump site is across the street. They weigh your vehicle and you pay a minimal fee.
If you're a tenant and need to dump (using one of four free annual dumps), you must first get your landowner's permission. Fill out this form first before dropping off. Drop-off locations on form.
*What is carbon dioxide and where does it come from?
There are naturally occurring levels of carbon dioxide caused by natural processes such as the outgassing of volcanoes; atmospheric carbon dioxide is man-made and created mainly by the burning of fossil fuels- oil, coal, and natural gas.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the well-known greenhouse gases that collect in the atmosphere, absorbing sunlight and radiation that may have otherwise bounced back into space. The collection of sunlight and radiation causes the earth to warm up (Greenhouse Effect), and influences the fluctuations in our earth's climate. Droughts, increased incidence of wildfires, and the worsening of weather are only a few of the consequences of global warming.
By planting a garden, we can help to sequester carbon dioxide in the soil and in turn, help reverse the crisis that we are now facing. Plants "breathe" in CO2 by the process of photosynthesis, decreasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Collectively, we can work together to counter the detrimental effects of global warming and we can all start by doing so in our own homes, by planting a garden.
Watch this inspiring documentary, Kiss the Ground, on Netflix about regenerative agriculture.
Here are some other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.
-Make a difference by supporting Reno Food Systems, a local farm that aims at creating a sustainable and just food system. They provide jobs, educate the community, work with grocery stores, and improve access to fresh produce with their mobile market. Seedlings are currently on sale every Sunday 10am-2pm at their farmstand. If you want to join their movement, you can become a member.
I found them at a Farmer's Market at Sparks Methodist Church last year in 2020 and they had vibrant and delicious produce that I can't wait to purchase again. All produce is certified organic. Look out for their stand this summer at:
Sparks United Methodist Farmers Market
1231 Pyramid Way
Sparks, NV 89431
They have two farm-share box options (single and family) available in summer. Please visit their site for more information.
-You can find their produce at Great Basin Food Co-op, a grocery store that locally grows and is community-owned.
Great Basin will also have seedlings for sale in summer. Order ahead of time and pick up at their event in summer.
Food is a necessity of life and trips to the grocery store are inevitable. Opt for reusable bags to keep plastic production and waste to a minimum. Help keep trees intact so they can help control carbon dioxide levels, all while providing beauty and shelter for animals.
"If you had a 15-year-old tree and made it into paper grocery bags, you'd get about 700 of them. A busy supermarket could use all of them in under an hour! This means in one year, one supermarket can go through over six million paper bags! Imagine how many supermarkets there are, just in the United States!" (source)
While it is often convenient to use disposable dishes, many are made from non-renewable materials and have a negative impact on the environment and the health of animals. Big businesses like Disneyland and Starbucks have acknowledged these impacts and have stepped in the direction of a more sustainable future by getting rid of plastic straws. You can further this mission by acting now to do more for a brighter future.
*Switch up Plastic Bottles for Reusable Water Bottles
Water bottles can be costly, pollute the earth, take lots of energy to make, and can leach toxins into our water systems. Save money and save the earth by buying a sturdier, reusable option for drinking.
Plastic bottles require up to 700 years to dissolve.
90% of the cost of bottled water is the bottle itself.
80% of plastic bottles never get recycled.
38 million plastic bottles go to landfill each year in America alone.
24,000,000 liters of oil is needed to produce these billions of plastic bottles.
The average American consumes 167 bottles of water per year.
Bottling water and shipping transport is the least energy efficient method of water supply in the history of mankind.
Bottled water is the second most popular beverage in the United States. (Source)
*Some stores, like Starbucks, are taking reusable drinkware. Place your cup in their mug and they will fill it up for you contact-free. Call ahead to double-check for safety protocols during the pandemic.
*Pack kid's lunches in reusable lunch boxes to reduce waste.
Here's a bento lunchbox my family loves to use. All compartments are sealed off from one another.
*Try avoiding individualized snack packages as they create lots of waste and take lots of time to break down.
*For snacks, use reusable silicone ziplock bags. I use these bags for my kids, as they are non-toxic, seal-proof, and safe for cooking sous vide (water bath) recipes.
Dishwashers have come a long way and are more efficient with energy and water usage.
Don't forget to use biodegradable soap that will keep toxins out of our waterways.
5. Save the Trees by Opting Out of Junk Mail
"To make 100 billion pieces of junk mail, 100 million trees need to be chopped down."
-set fridge to 37 degrees F and freezer to 3 degrees F
-Choose energy-efficient appliances
-Choose energy efficient light bulbs
-turn off lights when not in use
-unplug unused electronics — they use energy even when off
-Switch out furnace filters when dirty. Furnace uses more energy when filters are dirty.
-air dry dishes instead of using dishwasher drying, hang dry clothes
-use double paned windows, window coverings, and make your house air tight to minimize furnace and air conditioning energy usage in winter and summer
-keep house a little hotter in summer and cooler in winter. Put thermostat up 2 degrees in summer and down 2 degrees in winter. In fall and spring the temperature is perfect and I only use a space heater at night when it gets a little chilly
-wash clothes in cold water and save $115/year
-clean lint out of dryer filter to use less energy
-set water heater to lowest most comfortable setting
-turn off water heater when out on vacation
-unplug battery chargers
-when purchasing a new home, opt for insulation and decrease the need to heating and cooling in the warmer and cooler months
-solar panels might cost a lot up front, but will save you money and the environment in the long run. More details on solar panels in Reno. Nevada offers rebates, tax exemption and net metering as incentives for residential solar energy and other renewable energy systems. (Source)
Experienced travelers say the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you climb through the heart of the Rockies, and further west through snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, you may find it hard to disagree. The Zephyr runs between Chicago and San Francisco, coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco. Connections in to San Francisco and Oakland station via Thruway Bus Service at Emeryville, California.
10. Conserve water
-Turn off the faucet in between brushing and hand-washing and keep shower time to a minimum. Used water requires processing, requiring the burning of fossil fuels (natural gases).
-program your irrigation system according to your watering days (Reno) and watering needs. If you're unsure as to how long to run your sprinklers and drip irrigation, ask your landscaper or nursery for help.
-Turning on irrigation during cool parts of the day will prevent water loss through evaporation from hotter parts of the day
-grass, although ornamental and nice to look at, can use lots of water. You can redesign your yards with drought-tolerant options.
-Did you know that using dishwashers can be more efficient than hand-washing? Handwashing often uses more detergent and water. Run full loads along with washer and dryer.
-you can join together with like-minded people to stand up for a cause
-write letters to officials pushing for change. You can even start small and push for change in your own neighborhood. For example, push for a recycling program if there already isn't one in place. Or write to help push for eco-friendly standards like banning harmful materials like plastic bags and styrofoam.
-write to corporate businesses like Target to minimize the use of single-use plastics
Cleaning up at the Damonte Ranch Exit in South Reno
12. Organize a Community Clean-Up
With Reno's wild winds, trash can get out of hand, contributing to lots of the litter that's out on the streets these days. Until the city realizes the need for funding to control waste, we can take initiative and help ease the burden on our earth by picking up trash on our own, one bottle and plastic bag at a time.
Benefits of Community Cleanups
-save the animals for getting harmed. Animals ingest toxic meterials, get in a tangled mess, and end up with health problems, resulting in discomfort or death.
-creates a sense of community. Meet some cool new people.
-everything adds up. In just two hours, me and my kids picked up 3.5 - 32 gallon plastic bags worth of trash. Can you imagine how much trash we can pick up if there were community cleanups going on all the time around the world?
-prevent toxins from seeping into our environement
-help make the environment safer by getting rid of dangerous sharp objects
-encourage family and friends to join the movement toward a sustainable and healthier earth by teaching them what you know
-write a blog post with detailed information specific to your area to help aid efforts in making earth a better place
-Educate the future. Teach young ones in school and at home the importance of taking care of earth's creatures and our environment. They will grow into responsible adults and in turn, hand down these important lessons for generations to come.
-Jessi, with SciSchow Kids on Youtube has lots of educational videos, including an Earth Day one that is entertaining and educational for kids.
-be inventive - think of ways to spark the need to change. Take photos, make videos, create blogs, challenges, make incentives.
-start climate change committees at your school to help bring awareness to climate change issues and organize school events to bring on change. You can raise funding for bike racks to encourage everyone to bike to school.
-Watch Disney's Marvel's Hero Project that recognizes young, real-life super heroes that are making a positive impact in the world. One of them lives here in Reno. You can find Robbie in "Roving Robbie." A truly inspirational series.
14. Compost Food Scraps to Keep Them Out of Landfills and Reduce Emissions of Greenhouse Gases
-Globally, 1/3 of all food produced is wasted = one pound of food per person, per day
-Causes of Food Waste: Food is lost at every step of the food chain: in production, distribution, and on a consumer level. Misshapen food is not preferred (stores will not buy them because customers won't buy them) and left behind to rot. People tend to over-purchase, buying more food than they can finish before it goes bad.
-Impacts of food waste: environmental impact. Emits methane, a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming. Tons of resources are wasted to produce food such as water and oil to clear farming land.
-shopping hungry leads to purchasing more than what is needed. a shopping list can help prevent purchasing excess food
-carefully monitor foods that are frequently wasted and adjust portions accordingly
-have measures ready for food that is about to expire - can, freeze, dehydrate, pickle, share, make into animal feed and soups. Keeping a food inventory checklist can help you keep track of expiration dates and help with planning what foods should be eaten first
-If you have a busy schedule, you sign up for this sustainable local service in Reno- Down to Earth Composting. They pick up food scraps weekly or you can drop off at participating locations. Compost will be given back to you two times a year.
-There are plenty of meat alternatives available these days that are delicious. There are a good amount of Fast-food places and grocery stores that carry meat alternatives, making it easy for us to adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle.
-pressed for time? pre-heat veggie meats in microwave then toast for texture in toaster oven or air fryer
-My father-in-law is vegetarian and enjoys a variety of plant-based meats from Sprouts (Gardein is his favorite). Simply swap out real meat for plant-based meat and prepare the same way.
-Not only is eating less meat good for the environment, it's also good for your health.
"A diet high in meat increases the risk of obesity, cancer, and heart disease." (source)
16. Go Big in a Tiny House and Make a Big Impact
There's a tiny house movement and people are joining it for many reasons: ease of moving, low living costs, connecting with earth, and lowering their impact on the environment. If these reasons resonate with you, the tiny house movement might be for you.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to be alive on an amazing earth that keeps me in awe with its beauty every single day. There's no act too small or too big to help preserve Earth's beauty, creatures, and limited resources. In life, we have many options and striving for more earth-friendly ones everyday is a step in the right direction. Collectively, these actions are making for a better world.
If there's one thing I'm confident about, it's human's capabilities in making the impossible possible. Join millions of people across the world to help restore earth and make for a brighter today, tomorrow, and future. Together, we can make a difference and preserve the earth for future generations, giving them a happy earth they deserve.
Please feel free to share this post with everyone and make taking care of earth attainable, desirable, achievable and enjoyable for all.
If you've been to New York and you're a foodie, chances are you probably know about the notorious Halal Guys' food carts found on the streets of the busiest areas in downtown. They're pretty hard to miss with their long lines stretching down the block.
People line up for their outrageously satisfying foods composed of grilled meats, rice, hummus, & veggies topped with a tahini/hummus type sauce that brings the whole dish together.
At Aladdin's, you can get the same type of flavorful food, but without the wait.
Aladdin's Market & Kitchen is the only local Mediterranean market in Reno and is run by a sweet owner, Radi.
I got the sampler and chicken kabob plate (my favorite) and boy was I jumping up and down with joy when I tasted how amazing the food was.
The chicken kabob plate was perfectly balanced with spices, had super juicy chicken, and came with a garlic tahini and tzatziki sauce that was finger licking good. You'll probably want to order extra if you want to play it safe.
The beef kabob (kofta) could use a bit more flavor, but nonetheless was still great for its freshness.
Though some of the desserts were a tad too sweet for me, I still encourage you to try them out if you have a sweet tooth. Lots of people like them.
Their tabouli salad, made of finely chopped ingredients, including parsley, tomato, cucumber, bulgur wheat, and a citrus dressing, was the perfect side.
I can't wait to try their kibbeh (meat wrapped in wheat dough and fried), fries, and soup next visit.
The owner moved to Reno 40 years ago and while he admired the city, he felt like something was missing - meditarranean/middle eastern food.
I'm so glad he followed his heart and worked his butt off in starting this business. Me and many other locals are thankful for this passport to amazing food.
What You Will Find at the Market: *Hot, Fresh Food, Made to Order -Kabobs
-Appetizers (Dolmas, Hummus, Fries, flatbreads) -Shawarma Plates (meat thinly sliced, stacked, and roasted) -vegetarian and vegan options (falafel plates, hummus, and sides) -desserts like baklava
-Specials *Grocery items- Frozen and Pantry (no fresh produce), snacks and drinks *Hookahs
Their Tabouli Salad is the BOMB
-You can browse the grocery side while waiting
-You can easily customize a meal. Just let them know
-Order online for pickup or delivery through their website (link above) -Parking lot can be full depending on time of day, but you can find street parking nearby. -There are a couple of tables inside the market available for dining -Halal Certified (food and products accepted in accordance to Islamic Law) -They have prepackaged sides & desserts for sale
Different styles of Baklava. A little too sweet for me but worth trying if you have a sweet tooth.