This week corresponds with some inward thought on practical experience of nature and my personal place within it.
*This is actually one of my favorite weeks because it really opened my eyes up to how I could be living "greener" and more Druidic*
1. Where does your trash go?
Generally, into a trash bin, and a garbage truck takes it away to a landfill.
2. Are there options for recycling that you're making use of? Why or why not?
Some, yes, and others I can improve on. I always recycle cardboard because there is a special bin for it. I am not as good about recycling beverage containers like beer bottles or cans. There are a few considerations though, we have a glass recycle bin and I DO use this. I don't always take my cans to the store though as there are some homeless individuals and often times kids will benefit more from the money raised from return deposits than I will. Its not the greenest thing, but I see benefit in more than one area.
3. Are there steps you can take to help reduce the amount of refuse you create?
YES! NO MORE DISPOSABLE THINGS. (Or at least cut down on them) No more single package items. (Seriously, the amount of plastic on single serving items is ridiculous) No more using paper cups at coffee shops when I can be bringing my personal re-useable thermos. Try to bring my own bags to grocery stores because piles of paper or plastic bags in the house are unnecessary. When there is an option, choose to have things emailed to me rather than mailed. If a cashier asks if I want my receipt and it isn't a big deal, say no. Try to print less for school to cut down paper waste. Try not to cook meals too large to eat at one sitting when leftovers rarely get eaten.
4. What happens to your wastewater?
This one I didn't actually know off hand and it startled me. What I discovered after doing some research is that ultimately, after processing by a water treatment facility (that has a lot of detailed information on the website about each step of this processing method, that the water is recycled to a river near my home. There is also a lot of information about storm water and how to keep pollutants out of storm drains and how those pollutants could affect the river systems as well.
5. What rivers are nearby? Do you have a connection to them? What sort of connection?
There are several rivers near me but I would have to say the only one I have a real connection too is the Columbia River. The connection for this river is on several levels, first, before ever considering myself druidic, I would hike in the Columbia Gorge and admire all of the beautiful waterfalls. I found a very strong sense of peace in that area especially when I could hike up a cliffside and look down at the river below. Ive been visiting that area for over a decade when I just need to get out of the city and reset. The other connection I have is a new one that I have developed with my grove. Our sovereign goddess is that of the River Columbia as this river brings life and touches our lives in this area in many ways. Recently, several of my grove members participated in a guided meditation in hopes of meeting the Goddess Columbia and it was a very powerful experience for me. It was not anything that I was expecting but it really helped me feel that the river is every changing, always nurturing, and a force that flows through my heart deeply.
6. Describe the basic climate of your area. Is it often wet and rainy? Dry and sunny? Wet and Sunny? How has this affected the kinds of plants and animals in the area?
I live in the Pacific North West and generally speaking we are very rainy, very cloudy and full of the color green. In my state alone, we have forests, ocean beaches, and desert as well and you can visit them all within the span of half a day. The area I live is lush, green and often wet. Mushrooms are abundant in the fall, amphibians are all over, there are birds in the trees and squirrels all over. The diversity of plants is outstanding. Every single year I could learn 50+ new plants and flowers and still find new ones the next year. We have forest fires in the summer and there is new growth in many areas. There are canyons, and lizards in the desert areas. There are sparse Junipers in the deserts and beach grass on the beaches. Walking distance from my home is a wetland marsh area with nutria, ducks, squirrels, Willow Trees, toads, Cat tails, swamp flowers, and tons and tons of Oak and Maple trees. It is very obvious that my area thrives on the abundance of Water.
7. What visible effects have humans had on the natural landscapes around you?
Litter is a problem. The wetlands area nearly always has some type of litter in the standing water (or sunk to the bottom) There are apartments springing up all over and the areas that were once vast wetlands have been condensed to smaller areas. The animals are very afraid of people because so many children chase after them and no one pays attention to any of the details of the area. One day I saw that someone who had spray painted the trail had also spray painted a bunch of trees and grasses and it was very sad to see those unnatural chemicals on such beautiful things. Ive seen people tear limbs from trees for who knows what reason. Ive seen carvings in trees from humans who felt they needed to vandalize something. It is obvious that the effects of humans are not in any ways helpful to my area outside of those who protect it.
8. Where do the winds usually come from? Are there different winds at different times of the year?
We live in an area that has changing winds because of the changing climates of our state. Winds from the West bring ocean moisture and cooler air. Winds from the East come from our desert areas over the mountains so we get residual warmth but we are never a dessert climate. We live in a valley and we are generally cool all year long and very moist. The Willamate Valley is a beautiful, lush area. Our summers are never outrageously hot because of the cool winds from the West, and our winters are generally pretty warm because of our valley position and low elevation.
9. What major crops are grown in your region? Why are these particular crops grown here?
Oh man, we have so much available here. We have all kinds of tree farms, we grow hay, mint, corn, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, garlic, potatoes, seriously, SO MANY things grow in our area. I personally grew up on a home farm that grew every sort of vegetable. We don't do well with citrus fruits or high temperature crops but root veggies and anything that loves moisture grows well here. These crops grow here for the same reasons as the winds. We are a moist low altitude valley area that avoids High heat and extreme Cold. Water is abundant and it rains more often than it doesn't. :)
10. Where does your power come from?
Until now I had never thought of this. I went to my electric company's website and discovered that our electricity is a mixture of
32% purchased power
18% natural gas
8% wind and solar
Wow, ouch. I didn't realize how much coal was still being used in our area and how little hydro and solar power we use. We can do so much better.
Right now I realize that there are a lot of ways I can improve my awareness of the actual world I live in, and quite honestly, assignments like this really open my eyes. I hope to continue educating myself. I will start with what I can control (#3 the most) and continue working to bigger and better things.