Saturday, June 02, 2012

(No Impact Week - Day #5) Don't Be A Drip

The focus for the fifth (and for us, final) day of No Impact Week was water.  To be perfectly honest, I didn't make any changes in our water use during the week.  I felt that I had pushed Fin and Lucy to their limit with the other changes so I didn't insist on altering the way we consume water.  Others in the group that I was participating in this experiment with did much better.  One household cut their water use in half with very simple methods of catching grey water (the water used to wash and rinse dishes, for example) and using that water to flush the toilets.  Others shut off the shower after they had gotten wet, soaped up without the water running and then did a quick rinse off.

My one goal was to re-install a diverter from our downspout so that rain water will again collect in our rain barrel.  I didn't get that accomplished during the week, but I will.  No Impact Week doesn't actually have to end, you know.  Truthfully, most of it was pretty painless and actually improved our lives.  Is that really surprising?

No Impact Week ends with what Colin Beavan calls Eco Sabbath - a day when one gives back to the community.  For our group, we had a three options for a morning of service: work on a farm in Red Hook, work in a community garden or attend a tree stewardship workshop.  Lucy and I went to the tree workshop.

It was a straightforward session that gave us the basics about how to care for street trees.  The trees are owned by the city but do not really get much care once they are planted.  As you might imagine, city life is pretty hard on the trees and even a little care and make the difference between survival and firewood. New York City trees don't really end up as firewood; they end up as garbage and is there anything sadder than seeing a tree go in the garbage?  After getting our instructions, we went out as a group and took care of four street trees.  It was kind of shocking to notice just how uncared for most trees are in the city.  Suddenly, we saw dire circumstances everywhere!

Lucy was so inspired by our experience that she immediately signed up online to adopt the tree in front of our house and then went out and began to care for it in the way it needs - first by removing weeds, garbage and ivy around it.  Eventually we will plant some flowers and mulch around the tree pit, as it is called.  Truly, there is a huge need to care for the trees that add so much to city life.  The workshop took only a few hours and our efforts make a visible difference to our neighborhood.  Consider taking this on!  It isn't a big commitment but it is an important one.  Plus, we met all sorts of people walking by who were curious and happy about what we were up to.  A real community building effort.

After our labours on the street, the No Impact Week-ites gathered for a picnic of local, organic homemade food in Fort Greene Park.  Yum!

We were very happy about our nice lunch!  

And since it made such lovely pictures, here are some photographs of the pasta I made for the pasta/kale salad that was my contribution to the picnic.


It was a good day and a great week.

1 comment:

Patti Blaine said...

Is it 54th St that runs between Queens PS 11 and the connected six-family houses on Skillman? Along that street, shockingly across from the park and its green-space, someone had put blacktop around the base of the trees, covering the tree pits when we were there. Wonder if that's still the case? And if it killed the trees.

Good on you all!