Earth Day 2012 is being recognized internationally today.
My Claremont community had an Earth Day celebration yesterday, Saturday, with a variety of events. Vendors and informational booths were set up throughout the several blocks area of our downtown Village.
Demonstrations, workshops, children's events, speakers and information on sustainability were featured. The city of Claremont and organizations devoted to sustainability organized the event.
I had planned to share my first hand impressions and experience but I decided not to attend, based solely on our unusually hot, well over 90 degree temperatures the past two days. The prospect of walking about outdoors for several hours in even such low humidity heat has become considerably less attractive as I've aged. I chuckle to myself as I've come to fully appreciate my mother's words many years ago, "The heat tires me." There will be other interesting sustainability events in the future I can explore.
Once grassy green lawns are being transformed into the more natural desert-like landscaping native to our area in my neighborhood, surrounding streets, and all over Claremont. I've eliminated grass in my yard's parkway area (the strip between the sidewalk and the street.) I have yet to decide what drought resistant plants I'll install. Several other yards have replaced all their front yard traditional green grass with a colorful variety of shrubs, decorative grasses, succulents, cacti and flowers. Many Mediterranean plants thrive here.
One nearby house now has artificial grass that looks nice, but not what I would want. There are considerable questions about the eco-friendliness of synthetic grass. Some of the cons are there's a wide variation in grass quality including rain water drainage issues. The synthetic plastic grass is petroleum-based in a time when we want to use less oil, not more. The product contributes to pollution deteriorating yearly, especially in high heat, emits toxic gases and will ultimately end up in a land-fill.
I had always lived where watering grass wasn't necessary since Mother Nature sent her rain clouds frequently enough to keep the grass alive. Only when I moved West did I encounter the grass-watering phenomenon. The Phoenix-Scottsdale-Mesa-Tempe-Paradise Valley Arizona area which is truly desert had lots of homes with grass. Some city areas had and still have canals running through communities.
Phoenix friends neighborhood canal had scheduled days when they turned their lock on and their yard would be completely flooded. Often they would find crayfish left in the grass. Golf courses were being constructed in surrounding city areas with more watering required which ultimately also increased the whole valley's humidity levels -- none too pleasant when the temperatures rose to 100+ and hovered in the 112 - 115 or so range.
Initially, I was intrigued by the homes without grass that had chosen instead colored rocks -- green, sandy red, pink, or whatever shade you might choose. I eventually tired of seeing those artificial-looking stones, much preferring our grass. I haven't returned to the area for about a decade, but I would anticipate more grassy yards are being transformed into native desert landscaping.
Sustainability focus in my Claremont community has also included some homes establishing a series of small raised gardens for growing edibles. Before my husband died I had several large pots with cherry tomatoes, and a few large lengthy rectangular pots in which I maintained a few lettuce varieties planted for staggered maturation. I had also just obtained a small inexpensive plastic-type green house I thought I'd use on the patio during our winters, but I have yet to do so.
There are many sustainability ideas unique to each persons situation that would be enjoyable to learn about.