Photos by Caren Clark
Four Simple Steps for Starting a Green Business
Are you an ecopreneur? Ecopreneurs are business-minded people with a passion for protecting the environment and creating a better life for everyone on this planet. There are a variety of inventive and exciting ways to achieve this, from building a reusable product that replaces single-use plastics to reinvesting business profits into sustainable energy. If you’re thinking about launching your own eco-friendly business, here are some simple steps to get you started.
1. Come Up with an Eco-Friendly Idea
There is no shortage of green business ideas out there. Do some research and find one that you feel passionate about!
Identify specific environmental problems to solve.
Research the eco-friendly market and look for gaps you can fill with your business.
Make a business plan that maps out all the steps you will need to take between launching your business and achieving success.
2. Cover Your Legal Bases
As with any business, it’s important to tackle all of the legalities involved in running a company so you can avoid legal trouble down the line.
Determine a legal structure for your new business.
Review the process involved in forming an LLC in Maine.
Create LLC operating agreements to establish an environmentally-friendly framework for your business from the start.
3. Marketing Your Green Business
Marketing is vital to the success of your green business. Stick with sustainable marketing strategies that will resonate with your customers.
On your website, list all of the green actions your business is taking.
Go beyond this by explaining why you care so much about these eco-friendly practices.
Focus on how your customers can benefit from your environmental approach.
4. Grow Your Business Sustainably
As you prepare your business for growth, remember to maintain your focus on eco-friendly practices.
Always put the environment ahead of profits.
Look for ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Keep making improvements in your manufacturing processes.
Few things are more rewarding than running an eco-friendly business that protects the planet and supports your local community. If you’re toying with the idea, just go for it! Start researching business ideas today and get the groundwork going on your new business!
Photo via Pexels
How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference When It Comes to Climate Change
As children, we learn things like “every action has a reaction” or “even the smallest actions make a big difference.” Both of those statements are true when it comes to our climate. In a world full of billions of people, it may not seem like something we do individually can impact the changes happening in the world around us. But cumulatively, those small actions make a big change — and that change can either be good or bad. This article will discuss some of the changes you can make within your home and community to help stop climate change.
All the Small Things
You don’t have to make drastic lifestyle changes, spend a lot of money on renovations, or completely change your routines in order to make an impact. Since the industrial revolution, we have been releasing emissions into the atmosphere. While we cannot completely erase what we have done or stop the way we live, we can make small adjustments. You can start by doing things like:
Switching out your plastic straws for glass or metal straws you can wash and reuse
Recycling recyclable products
Planting native drought-resistant plants
Buying food with reusable or resealable packaging
Insulating your home
Cleaning your air filters
Changing your light bulbs to LEDs
Installing energy-efficient shower heads
Turning off all the lights when you leave a room
Mix-in Large Changes with the Small
Alongside making the small adjustments, try making a couple larger changes for a bigger impact. To reduce global warming emissions, you can switch to more energy-efficient appliances, such as your washing machine, dishwasher, or refrigerator. Utilize what nature provides for free by catching rainwater in barrels for home use or to be absorbed in a rain garden. Consider switching up your transportation to work by adding in a couple days here and there where you carpool or use public transportation. If you have the resources to do so, use alternative sources of energy. For instance, you can add solar panels to your home and mitigate the cost through tax incentives and future savings. Finally, you can offset some of the bad gases released by planting trees. Implementing greener choices, and making some of the bigger changes to your home and everyday life, can collectively make a large impact.
It Takes a Village
If it takes a village to do something as important as raising a child, it also takes many to halt the negative impacts we are causing through greenhouse emissions. If everyone implemented the smaller and larger choices to prevent climate change and the community invested in reducing greenhouse emissions, we would see an improvement.
So, what can you do? Start by getting involved and spreading awareness of the effects of climate change — whether that’s through a booth at the local county fair, hosting presentations, or sending out literature. Then, get involved in your local community by encouraging infrastructure upgrades and new eco-friendly construction. Encourage your lawmakers to educate themselves on environmentally safe alternatives and to make the right decisions when voting on infrastructure and budgeting. It’s easier and more effective to build on what already works than it is to reinvent the wheel.
We cannot completely change what has already been done, but it is possible to reverse some of the damage caused. For the sake of the earth and future generations, we should all feel a sense of urgency to act now. You can make a difference by making routine decisions, making some larger changes to your home, and getting involved with your community. It’s not too late.
Article submitted by Neil Stawski
Photo Credit: Pexels
Article submitted by Christy Erickson
How To Create A Bee-Friendly Garden For Fall
Bees are amazing little creatures, and they are largely misunderstood. Many people don’t realize how important they are to our ecosystem and the production of quite a bit of the foods that we eat, and because of this, their habitats are being destroyed and their populations are declining due to pesticide use. It’s important, then, to do what we can to keep these insects thriving and multiplying.
It’s easy enough in the spring and summer, as you can plant plenty of plants and veggies to attract the bees. But when fall rolls around, you still need to think about providing shelter and lots of food options for them. Bees are still active during this time and it’s harder for them to find adequate amounts of nectar and water.
Depending on where you live, fall can actually be one of the best times to plant a bee garden. In California, for instance, the wetter-than-usual weather is beneficial to the types of plants bees love.
“Fall, with its cooler temperatures, shorter days, and imminent rainfall, is the best time to plant a bee garden in California. Much of the plants' growth at this time will be in the roots rather than the vegetative growth, and that gives new plants an advantage when temperatures warm up and the soil dries in the spring. Fall and winter are usually the wet seasons in California, and a bee garden will benefit from the natural pattern of rainfall that helps plants get established,” writes the University of California.
It’s not difficult to plan for the bees if you live outside of California, however; the key is to make sure you give your plants plenty of sunlight and plan for a variety of them so your local bees will have several to choose from. There are many colorful flowers that will offer lots of nectar and pollen, such as Goldenrod, Purple Aster, and sunflowers; for a great list of which ones will be the most useful for your bees, read on here. Think about flowers that will look good no matter what time of year it is, such as Hydrangeas, Pagoda dogwood and Ninebarks. Maintain your plants by weeding and “dead-heading”, which involves taking off any dead or withered parts and cutting off the stem right above the first set of healthy leaves.
Don’t forget to use only natural insect repellants on your plants; pesticides can be harmful to the bees and could interfere with their ability to pollinate. It’s also a good idea to set out a small bowl or birdbath full of water with several stones in the bottom so the bees can stop for a drink without fear of drowning.
Layering trees and shrubs is a great way to give your landscaping a textured, professional look, and they’ll give the bees a safe place to hang out when they need a rest. For tips on how to get your yard to look gorgeous no matter what size it is, check out this helpful article.
Give the bees a place to nest for their young by leaving an area of your yard free of mulch so they can burrow. You can also drill holes into blocks of wood to give them a safe place to take shelter.
Remember to plant your flowers in clumps so the bees can feed on the same type of plant before moving on. This allows for a more efficient way to get nectar and pollinate, and it will also allow you to create a beautiful, colorful landscape around your home.
[Image via Pixabay]
Article submitted by Christy Erickson
Article submitted by Christy Erickson
Helping The Honey Bees: Ways You Can Make A Difference On Your Own
Honey bees are important for not only creating honey, but for pollinating many crops we rely on throughout the United States. There have been concerns over the past decade or so about declines in the honey bee population, leaving many people looking for ways they can counteract these problems. What can you do in a garden at home to help support these insects?
A reduced honey bee population threatens crops
The Mother Nature Network explains that honey bees are connected to pollination of many crops across the U.S. such as cotton, oranges, apples, almonds, cotton, and soybeans. In addition, bee venom has been found to be useful in managing several medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, tendonitis, and nerve pain.
Colony Collapse Disorder has been causing issues for honey bees for a number of years, but the exact reasons for CCD and the population decline are unknown. CCD occurs when worker bees disappear, leaving the queen, baby bees, nurse bees, and food behind in the hive. The hive soon dies because the worker bees are not bringing pollen and nectar back.
There are several theories tied to CCD, but research into the exact causes continues. Earths Friends explains that one theory relates to a virus that causes a mutation that interferes with protein production in the honey bees. However, it is also believed that pollution, pesticides, parasites, and environmental toxins may play a role too.
Embrace opportunities to help the honey bees thrive
What can you do to help the honey bees? You could learn how to become a beekeeper, but the Guardian details that there are ways to help just via your garden at home too. Choose plants that provide nectar and pollen to honey bees such as foxgloves, larkspur, hollyhocks, sunflowers, asters, allium, or mint. Most beans are also good choices, and lime and willow trees are great for these bees too. For more tips on starting your own bee-friendly garden, click here.
It also helps to provide a water source for honey bees in your garden. You should arrange a landing pad of sorts for them, as they are not good swimmers. For example, put a large, flat stone in the middle of a birdbath, having it rise just above the water, or add sand or small stones to the shallow part of a pond or other area of water. One easy option is to leave a faucet dripping slightly or have a pet waterer outside they can use.
Use your pocketbook to make an impact
Outside of your own personal gardening, you can use your buying power to help the honey bees. For example, buy honey from a local beekeeper rather than purchase commercially-produced honey. You can often find locally-made honey at a farmers market or local health food store, and this allows you to help beekeepers invested in protecting the honey bee population.
You can also start buying more organic products. Organic fibers like hemp and cotton as well as organic foods are made without commercial herbicides and pesticides that are believed to be harmful to bees. In addition, if keeping a beehive of your own seems intimidating, you could sponsor a hive instead.
Honey bees play an important role in our world and threats to their population are causing concern. If you want to do your part in helping these insects thrive, choose honey bee-friendly plants for your garden and leave a water source available to them. Purchasing locally-made honey as well as organic fibers and food are additional ways to help and every bit of effort adds up to support the vital honey bee population.
[Image via Pixabay]
Article submitted by Christy Erickson