Your Sustainability Tips: A Thankful Mother Earth

We have much to be thankful for in Eastern Iowa, and the support of YOU, the members of Indian Creek Nature Center, is something we are thankful for every day. We’d like to think that Mother Earth would be thankful for the simple, easy adjustments we can all make to our daily practices to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Did you plan a sustainable Halloween? Did you start composting?
Now it’s time to focus our efforts inward. Inside the home, to be specific. As you begin to prepare for your holiday feasts and parties, be mindful of the following:
  • Source your turkey, ham, prime rib, or other meats responsibly. If possible, buy these directly from the farmer. Not only do you guarantee that 100% of your dollars stay local, but you reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to process and transport that from farm to butcher to grocery store.
  • Focus on reusable dinnerware. While plastic plates and silverware might be convenient, they’re terribly wasteful and rarely reused. Even compostable dinnerware is hard to break down in home compost bins (they require more heat and sometimes need to be shredded first). Instead, take a trip to your favorite thrift store for a few more forks and plates, and recruit a crew of nieces or nephews to wash dishes after the holiday dinner. Remember, the cook never has to wash the dishes!
  • In planning your holiday gift giving, don’t buy wrapping paper. It cannot be recycled! Instead, use paper grocery bags turned inside out, newspaper, and other repurposed supplies to give it some flair. Hop on Pinterest and you’ll see that rustic holiday wrapping is all the rage right now. Children can decorate the package, too. Win, win!
  • As your guests arrive, use sand to prep the sidewalk instead of chemical salts that are hard on pets, the lawn, and the rivers (due to spring runoff). There are some eco-friendly salt products that are safer, but do your research to avoid “greenwashing”.
  • Is there someone that is hard to shop for in your family? Don’t shop at all. Give them the gift of an experience. Go to a play or a sporting event together. Come to a program at the Nature Center (we have the Nature’s Noel Family Event and the Backcountry Film Festival coming up!) Or, simply spend time outside together. Rent a pair of snowshoes from us, grab a trail map, and get outside!
The holidays are stressful enough. It’s time to embrace the Norwegian concept of “hygge” (or the American rendition called #slowliving), which is naturally more respectful and mindful of our earth. If you want to take this concept to the next level, join us on Friday, November 24 at 3 PM for a Walking in Mindfulness Silent Meditative Walk. Instead of shopping on Black Friday, this hour allows participants to shift their attention away from thoughts of consumerism,  planning, judging and attachments; turning their attention towards the sights and sounds of nature; noticing their tolerance level in the silent company of others; and focusing on the breath. Register here. 
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