“Earth alone of all the elements has never proved unfriendly to man. Bodies of water deluge him with rain, oppress him with hail and drown him with inundations. The air rushes in storms and prepares the tempest, and fire lights up the volcano. But the earth, ever kind and indulgent, is found subservient to his wishes. Though constantly harassed more to furnish the luxuries than the necessities of life, she never refuses her accustomed yield. She spreads his path with flowers and his table with plenty. And though she produces poison, still she supplies the antidote and returns with interest every good committed to her care. When at last he is called to pass through the dark valley of the shadow of death, she once more receives him and covers his remains within her bosom. This admonishes us that as from it we came, so unto it we must shortly return.”
Practicing the Masonic tenant of Brotherly Love requires us to care for each other as well as our community. Our communities are not just our brethren, neighbors and the towns and cities in which we live, but also the geographic space which we occupy. As Masons, we should be compelled to lead by example in the stewardship of our homes and the world given to us. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve compiled 5 easy ways to take a small step towards protecting our planet in your community, and throughout the great state of Ohio.
- Consider limiting your consumption of single-use plastics
Single-use plastic includes items such as plastic utensils, take-out containers, plastic cups, sandwich bags, shopping bags, and more. Though one of these may appear trivial in the moment of its use, Americans on average throw away 100 billion plastic bags alone annually. To add, when a plastic bag is thrown away in a landfill, normally it takes 10-20 years to decompose. The time it takes a plastic bottle to decompose in a landfill is worse still at 450 years, and other more rigid plastics up to 1,000 years.
Making the switch from single-use materials to more durable, long-lasting ones limits the amount of waste that accumulates in our landfills and seeps out into our wildlife, rivers, and parks. An easy place to start is by purchasing reusable shopping bags that will fit all of your groceries in them. Next, consider using reusable dishware, drinkware, straws, and napkins when eating, and using glass Tupperware and containers for storing your food. If you’re interested, you can find more tips on how to limit your plastic use here.
- Start Recycling at Home
If you can’t replace the single-use plastics you use, recycling at home is the next best way to limit the number of materials that end up in landfills and be repurposed for another life. Since social distancing has taken hold of our world, it is important to continue to keep recycling top of mind at home. All you need to start recycling at home is to purchase a blue recycling bin from your local Home Depot or hardware supply store and fill it up with recyclable materials! Here is a handy list to know what is able to be put in your brand new blue bin. Check your local trash and recycling pickup days to know when to put your recycling bin out for collection.
- Construct a Living Fence
If you’re looking to take on a home project, why not make it one that supports the environment as well! If you’re improving your backyard, need to mark a property line or protect your garden, a great way to do it is with a living fence: a natural barrier made with bushes, trees, ﬂowers, or any combination you prefer. Not only are living fences usually cheaper investments than traditional ones, but they also save on materials and maintenance. If you want to take it one step further, you can turn your new living fence into a pollinator garden with bee-friendly plants. Bees are vital to the environment as they transfer pollen between plants to keep them and, consequently, our agriculture industry healthy and flourishing.
- Build a backyard garden
Gardening has lots of benefits. Not only do they supply us with healthy fruits and vegetables grown right in our own backyards, but they also help to give back to the earth by reducing the amount of plastic packaging, carbon emissions, and chemical pesticides used to grow and distribute produce. They’re also a cheaper alternative to purchasing produce at a grocery store and are a great stress reliever and mood booster. With more time spent at home these days, it’s the perfect project to keep yourself occupied and outs in the fresh air as the days get warmer.
- Join the Ohio Environmental Council to Keep Our State Clean
The Ohio Environmental Council was formed in 1969 to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home. Since their formation, evidence of the impending impacts of climate change has shown itself to be harmful to industries that Ohioans rely on to feed our families, and has altered the landscapes that make our state special and unique.
To mitigate the causes of climate change in our state, the OEC is working with other groups as part of a larger, much more diverse, active, and inclusive movement to reverse the impact that has happened and prevent future damage. If you’d like to get involved, here is how you can help.
Is there another way you are making a positive impact on your community and the environment? We’d love to hear it! Email your story with a photo to OhioLodgeLife@freemason.com.