Letter: Be Kind To The Earth

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By Patty Katz

With the arrival of spring and Earth Day, the Reach Out America Green Committee, a grassroots local political action organization, would like to remind residents to be kind to the Earth. There are many steps that we can all take to help our community and planet.

Recently, there have been major concerns about our drinking water’s quantity and quality. We must be adamant about the necessity to be vigilant and proactive in achieving sustainability of our drinking water. The average household in Nassau County uses approximately 130 gallons of water a day. In summer, that can jump up to 500 gallons a day due to excess watering of our lawns.

Conservation must be the first step. Here are some simple choices that are very doable.

• Take shorter showers.

• Don’t run the water the entire time you brush your teeth or wash your dishes.

• Lawn care is the biggest offender. Since the aquifers are underground, anything that is put on your grass will eventually end up seeping into them.

• Use low nitrogen fertilizers.

• Water your lawn longer, but less frequently.

• Do not water while the sun is shining.

Stop using poisonous pesticides. These noxious chemicals also threaten the safety of our air, food and drinking water.

Roundup and 2, 4-D are the worst pesticide/herbicide offenders. France has banned them and California awarded money to a groundskeeper with terminal cancer because he had not been adequately informed about its alleged health risks. There are safer, natural alternatives.

Pesticides also affect the delicate balance of our ecosystem. Bee colonies have collapsed and the butterfly population has declined by 90 percent, bringing them dangerously close to extinction.

Plant milkweed in your gardens to help feed and protect the Monarchs.

No one likes weeds on his or her lawn, but consider trying safer and natural alternatives. For more practical tips, visit the wonderful website from the Port Washington–based organization Grassroots Environmental Education at www.grassrootsinfo.org. They have been training landscapers how to be organic for years.

We are at a crucial point in our existence on the planet. We can no longer use the fastest and easiest methods. We have to protect the beauty and health of our planet while we still can.

We are losing natural habitats and wildlife essential to the health of our planet at an extra­ordinarily fast pace. Without clean air, food and water, we could face the same fate. We cannot afford to squander this magnificent gift. The window of opportunity is still open to make these vital changes to provide for a healthy present and for future generations.

Patty Katz is Reach Out America vice president and Green Committee chair.

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