By Pamela Szatanek, Guest Contributor
You don't have to drive a hybrid or become a vegan to go green. Admit it, some of these ideas we keep hearing are not realistic for everyone. It's great if you drive a Prius or decide to swear off meat and dairy, but what works for one may not work for another. Why don't I drive a Prius? I own two Dobermans and three cats -- we can't all fit in a small car and get to the veterinarian's office in one trip. Why am I not a vegan? I love cheese, enough said.
So besides reducing, reusing and recycling, what can we do to green our routine mid-Atlantic style?
Keep reading for more on how you can green your routine...
1. Get your cat spayed or neutered. Even though you may own the friendliest cat in the neighborhood, if your cat goes outdoors, no doubt he/she routinely crosses paths with feral (undomesticated) cats, and cats are indiscriminate breeders. As the number of feral cat colonies soars in this country, the impacts are devastating on local and migratory bird populations, which become part of the food chain for these invasive species. By getting your cat spayed or neutered or keeping your cat indoors you are helping birds in the mid-Atlantic and beyond.
2. Who wouldn't want a lawn that looked like the 18th hole at Torrey Pines? Some of us strive in earnest to reach that goal by installing lawn irrigation systems. If you plan on getting a sprinkler system or already have one, contact the vendor to learn how to adjust the timing system. The mid-Atlantic goes through both wet and dry periods and the region's aquifers are already strained. When your area has been consistently getting good rains, you can make a significant contribution to the environment by turning off your sprinkler system and not wasting water.
3. Fear the Turtle? How about "Help the Turtle"? In areas that continue to see rapid development, turtles embark on long treks to find new homes for themselves or to find mates, often crossing asphalt along their way. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but turtle populations across the mid-Atlantic are dwindling. You can't help them all, but if you come across one attempting to cross the road, pull over, put your hazard lights on and take the turtle to the other side of the road.
Pamela Szatanek is a meteorologist for the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Camp Springs, Md., and a former National Academy of Sciences fellow with the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate.