Today more than 80% of Americans live in cities and suburbs, further away from nature. Therefore, the landscapes in our urban/suburban environments become more important than ever in bringing us closer to nature and thus closer to better health and well being.
Each parcel of lawn is a microcosm of the ecosystem. How we choose to build it and maintain it has an impact that reaches far beyond that property line.
Choose sustainable landscaping – it saves time and expense, is healthier for you and for the planet, besides it also might make you popular in your neighborhood!
We at Sustainable Westchester are motivated to provide our member communities and individuals with support, resources and initiatives that will make it easier to create healthy, climate-friendly, sustainable landscapes.
Gas-powered lawn equipments (lawnmowers, leaf-blowers, trimmers, chainsaws) do not have the same pollution controls as do our cars and buses. Therefore, it is not surprising that the landscaping industry is quickly surpassing the transportation sector as the leading source of air pollution, especially as there is also a massive push towards electric cars and buses.
If your municipality or facilities are looking to phase out their old gas-powered landscaping equipments, this is a great opportunity to look into electric options!
Sustainable Westchester has partnered with American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) and Quiet Communities Inc. to bring solutions that make it easier for Westchester’s landscaping crews and local companies transition to quieter, cleaner and low impact technologies.
To get started, book a free consultation with us.
When landscaping includes plants that are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, there is a time and cost-saving achieved due to lower water usage and maintenance requirements.
Plus, native species possess their own defenses against pests and diseases, so there is less to no need for pesticides and fertilizer!
Here is a downloadable guide from NY Department of Environmental Conservation that lists a variety of native plants (flowers, shrubs, trees and vines) for the New York region.
It is estimated that domestic honey bees pollinate approximately $10 billion worth of crops in the U.S. each year.* Thus, it is not an overstatement that we practically depend on these industrious pollinators to provide us with the wide range of foods we eat.
In addition, pollinators are part of the intricate web that supports the biological diversity in natural ecosystems – In farming situations, they help increase production yield per acre. In the wild, they help increase wildlife food sources.
By mindfully planting habitats for pollinators in our lawns, we support our own needs for food and support biological diversity in natural ecosystems.
Here is a downloadable guide for growing pollinator gardens in Westchester (New York) region.
No one would knowingly want to expose their families and pets to toxic chemicals. Unfortunately though, the standard lawn management approaches rely on heavy use of chemical pesticides and weedicides that are known carcinogens (causing cancer) and endocrine disruptors (causing hormonal disbalance).
There is a better way!
If we think about lawn care as a preventative health care program where the goal is to build a healthy lawn and prevent problems from occurring then you don’t have to rely on harsh chemicals to treat them.
A healthy lawn can out compete most weeds, survive most insect attacks, fend off most diseases- before these problems become too big to solve.
Here is a downloadable guide from EPA to help build a healthy lawn.
Traditionally, food was grown seasonally and consumed locally. Today, our complete reliance on industrial-scale food production and subsequent supply chain, is a very modern and unsustainable concept. One of the hidden problems with this system is the prevalence of ‘food deserts’ in communities which have no grocery stores in their area, causing lack of easy access to fresh and nutritional produce. Disadvantaged populations such as children in low income households and aging seniors are especially at risk for becoming food insecure.
Ironically, over 40% of food grown in the USA gets wasted and sent to landfills where it decomposes and releases methane which contributes to climate change. Globally, food waste is equivalent to 3rd largest country in GHG emissions.
A humble kitchen garden is the much needed antidote to this social disparity and disconnection with food. As families discover the joy of harvesting ‘fruits’ of their labor, they unknowingly also help build our community’s resilience over a food supply chain that can only guarantee 3 days worth of food supply for any given community. Finally, composting what is not eaten helps bring the critical nutrients back into the soil as opposed to being sent away as trash.
The Healthy Yards team in Westchester has created an excellent step-by-step guide for growing your own food and composting what is left. Follow this link to visit their website.
There is a growing interest among Westchester residents, environmental groups and municipal officials to find cost-effective, practical and sustainable, landscaping solutions that will work for their communities.
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