In our last newsletter we teased the idea of having your own indoor compost. We ask people with experience what pros and cons would come with having a soil filled bin in the house.
This month we’re also going to discover what volunteer opportunities you can dive right into in your neighborhood. From recycling food, animal orientated work, soup kitchens and even anti-landfill services that pick up old clothes from your house and recycle them. Ask questions. Do your own research. And enjoy stolen Pinterest images that make up this month’s Saigon Goes Green.
From the Beginning to Composts.
What are they? How do I start?
It’s okay! I had no idea what they were or what they did either. But continue reading to understand the simplicity of at home composts. I have interviewed three ladies with different experiences to both composts and the lifestyles that come with it.
Me: Thank you ladies so much for answering the following questions! Could you please say if you’re a student and what you are currently studying?
Rene Vanek: I am an Environmental Health major and a Biology minor at East Carolina University, and will be graduating in a matter of weeks! My major has inspired me to not only become more interested in a green lifestyle but to educate others too.
Mckenzie Wilson: Yes, I'm a student. I study Dramatic Art and Communication with a focus in Performance Studies and am getting a minor in Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. My roommate who will help me answer some about our lifestyles is Nicole Affleck who is also a student at UNC studying Environmental Studies with minors in Urban Studies and Planning and Hispanic Studies.
Me: What motivated your interest in Sustainability and Biodiversity? Did you make any immediate changes to your life?
R.V: I have been interested in science since High School. And with learning anything in the world of science, sustainability is a large part of that. It has been more of a gradual interest throughout my academic career.
M.W: The first time I really heard about it was with Al Gore and the George W Bush presidency. I definitely started learning about it as Global Warming than Climate Change which is actually what it is. I didn’t make any immediate changes besides water. The Flint Michigan water crisis has kept up extremely aware; no keeping the water running when brushing teeth or doing the dishes etc.
Me: Do you find this lifestyle difficult?
Nicole Affleck: You’re trying to combat systemic action with individual action. To elaborate, it's important to do as much as I can personally while being aware what larger systems, myself and governments aren't doing. Trying to make up for that inaction when I can is what I'm most passionate about. These are issues and topics that we have to take on for our individual communities and lifestyles. We have to be active in this progress, as individuals.
M.W: It can be, absolutely! Eating healthy and being smart about this kind of stuff can be hard to do with temptation and busy schedules. What’s helpful is to consider how your actions influence the community as a whole - that if everyone just made small contributions when they could, things could improve greatly. It’s a very cleansing way of living - mentally and physically.
R.V: A zero waste life is tricky, and arguably in vain, but small steps aren't meaningless. Reusable ziploc bags and plastic wrap are small things, but can have a big impact, especially on your wallet. Another thing that gets left out of a green lifestyle is what we are pouring down the drains (and slowly into our oceans). That means no microbeads, flushable wipes or laundry detergents high in nitrates and phosphates.
Me: About Compost. Are there any other similar changes people can make that are completely doable and inexpensive? Can you walk those who are unfamiliar with this process and steps with having compost at home? R.V: Composting is so easy and cool! If you have a backyard or even a small outdoor area, it is easy to get one started. While everyone's compost might look different depending on your area, the basics components are fruit/vegetable scraps, soil, and some other organic component from worms to dead leaves.
So lets just assume you have a small backyard. I would take a large metal trash can, dirt, maybe some grass clippings and fill it halfway up, and then add your food scraps to it. Every so often mix it up and you can use that nutrient dense soil for flowers or other plants around the yard. Be aware that composts attracts bugs and even some other animals like possums or raccoons to eat/help process the scraps, most of the time they are beneficial, but do keep an eye out for it. I would highly advise against having an indoor compost...they attract a lot of bugs.
Me: What, in your life personally, continues to aspire you to be 'greener' and aware of your affect on the environment?
N.A: Learn as much as you can about the global situation. Use that to get inspired to do something about it for your smaller community. It's a complex issue but we can all play a significant part.
M.W: We have to think about ourselves in the equation - what can I do for myself everyday? Probably something for better health which, in turn, perpetuates a healthier world!