Do Not Kill—Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Your Garden and Yard: Tip for Sustainable Living

“Therefore strive that your actions day by day
may be beautiful prayers.”
—‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Monthly tips about sustainable living are designed to inspire you to adapt them to your personal circumstances and locale and to help you generate other ideas about how to live a more responsible life, socially and environmentally. If we all pitch in by individually reducing our consumption and adopting a simpler life, we can collectively mitigate the severity of climate change, reduce human suffering, and keep the Earth a livable place for future generations.—CHRISTINE MULLER

Do Not Kill—Avoid Toxic Weed Killers in Your Garden and Yard

Unless ye must,
Bruise not the serpent in the dust,
How much less wound a man.
And if ye can,
No ant should ye alarm,
Much less a brother harm.
                                              —‘Abdu’l-Bahá

dandelionsGlysophate, the chemical in the weed killer Roundup, is harmful to humans and all life. Exposure to glyphosate has been linked to incidences of cancer. It also harms pets and wildlife. And, of course, it kills weeds. But what are weeds? Weeds are plants that grow in a location where you do not want them to be. If you want to grow lettuce or strawberries, you do not want other plants to take nutrients and space away from them. While weeding by hand is relaxing for your soul, it is time consuming and can be physically demanding. But you can choose some natural methods to avoid too many weeds. These include mulching and preventing weeds from going to seed by cutting off their flowers. “10 NON-TOXIC WAYS TO CONTROL WEEDS” provides even more methods.

However, you might want to consider weeds from another perspective. Weeds really are in the eye of the beholder. In most areas, wild plants should be appreciated and not be removed. Enjoy your lawn with a diversity of colors. Endangered bees and bumblebees will thank you for the blooming dandelions and clover. Moreover, many weeds are edible, highly nutritious, and delicious, especially when harvested young. These include dandelion, lambs quarters (wild spinach), pigweed (Amaranth), chickweed, plantain, and purslane. Recipes abound on the web, but be careful to eat only plants from areas not treated with lawn chemicals. Eating a diversity of food, including some weeds, is healthy for humans and is essential for the survival of wildlife. Ceasing to be stressed by weeds will free up time and energy for more productive pursuits.

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UPCOMING TIPS
Install Programmable Thermostats
Save Energy by Using Your AC Properly

TIPS BY CATEGORIES

Food
Why Eat Organic?
Eat Lower on the Food Chain
Considering Social Justice in Making Food Choices
Give Up Bottled Water—Go Back to the Tap!
Eat Less Beef

Home
Shower Less—Cleanliness in the 21st Century
Avoid Plastics
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Recycle Right!
Avoid Single-Use (Disposable) Items
Save Money, Save the Planet by Insulating Your House
Go Solar!
Hang Your Laundry Out to Dry for the Children of the World
Buy Clean Energy
Do a Home Energy Audit!
Search as Service on the Web (Use Ecosia and Plant a Tree)
Clean Safely—Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Your House

Yard
The Bees and We
Ethical and Easy Lawns
The Joy of Gardening

Transportation
Let’s Go for a Walk or Bike Ride or Car Pool to Meetings
Do Not Idle Your Vehicle
Use a local Car-Share Service

Shopping
Purchase Mindfully—Do I Really Need it?
Shop Smart, Buy in Bulk
Buy Second-Hand Clothing
Choose Reusable Shopping Bags
Shop Locally, Support Local Agriculture

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