Thinking and Acting Green, Every Month of the Year
Here are some impactful things that you can do - every month of the year - to help West St. Paul be an environmentally resilient community.
Tune Up Your Lawnmower
Breaking the lawnmower out for the first time this year? Give it a tune up to ensure it’s in top order. Check and sharpen the blade if needed to ensure efficient cutting. If you have a combustion lawnmower, be sure to check the oil, and refresh any old fuel.
If looking to get a new mower or replace your current one, look into electric options to see if one might be beneficial for your yard. This market has been growing, and battery-powered mowers are capable enough to handle most yards in town, as well as being versatile enough to be stored compact and upright in nearly any space.
Walk or Bike instead of Drive
As the weather warms, get into a habit of biking or walking, even if it’s just one day of the week. Not only will you be helping the environment with less CO2 emissions, you will also be getting some sunshine and exercise.
West St. Paul has several biking trails available, including the River to River Greenway. Take a look at these maps for more details:
Other Months of the Year
Recycling & Composting
This can be a good time of the year to re-familiarize yourself with local recycling capabilities, to ensure you are recycling the right way. And although it’s January, it can be a good time to think about composting your household organic waste through Dakota County’s recycling program, held at Thompson Park.
January is a popular month for New Year’s resolutions like exercising or abstaining from alcohol. If you want your next resolution to have a positive environmental impact, consider cutting out meat or going entirely vegan for the month. It’s estimated that livestock farming accounts for 15% of global carbon emissions—that’s as much as all emissions from transportation worldwide!
Feed the Birds
Winters can take a toll on our bird community. Show them some love by leaving some seeds out for them!
Start your Gardens Early
March is an excellent time to start assembling supplies for vegetable gardens and annual flowers. Starting your plants inside can be a rewarding activity while you wait for the snow to melt, and can also help your garden be more productive with fewer pesticides once the growing season starts.
Plant Native Plants
Spring is here, which means it’s time for the growing season to start. When thinking about your balcony, porch, or yard, consider planting native, pollinator species. These types of plants will help to feed our local pollinators, giving them critical habitat.
By letting your lawn grow during the month of May, you are giving critical spring habitat to our pollinator friends, and helping your lawns have a strong start to the season.
The best thing about No Mow May is that it requires you to do absolutely nothing! Take a month off of mowing responsibilities - for the bees.
Learn more about No Mow May from the Bee City, USA website.
Pump the Heat
Can you handle the heat? By raising the temperature of your thermostat in July by even just a couple degrees, you can help lighten the load on the electric grid, which is beneficial to the environment with reduced CO2 emissions during this high energy use month.
Efficient Yard Watering
Ensuring our yards have the right amount of water for optimal growth is surprisingly complex! Take some time during the month of July to check in on the health of your yard watering system - especially if you have an in-ground system. Is your yard being watered in accordance with best practices? Watering is most efficient at dawn and dusk when plants are active and evaporation levels are low, and least efficient during the middle of the day–especially when it’s bright and sunny.
As you enjoy those final family vacations and trips up north before school starts again, now is a good time to be mindful of how you travel. Road trips with at least three people in the car are more carbon-efficient than flying. Consider driving instead of flying to your vacation destinations, and try to carpool as much as possible on long drives.
Check your furnace
Take some time this month to ensure that your furnace is ready for the winter by doing a check up on your furnace. A professional furnace inspection can not only improve your home’s indoor air quality, but also make sure that it’s running at peak efficiency before the cold months–when energy use is highest–arrive.
Adopt a Drain
Maintaining proper stormwater drainage is important to preventing our roads from being flooded during storms. The Adopt a Drain program shows you a map of all of the storm drains in your area, and allows you to ‘adopt’ them, checking up on them periodically and removing any debris that may accumulate around them.
Mulch instead of Rake
Mulching up fallen leaves with a lawnmower has many benefits for your yard, as the mulched up leaves have protective and fertilizing properties. This fall, instead of raking up, consider mulching your leaves instead.
Bring a Reusable Bag
A great way to reduce waste is to always bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping. Not only can you bring reusable bags to replace paper or plastic grocery bags, you can also bring mesh bags that can take the place of those plastic produce bags.
Some tips and tricks to remember to bring your bags with you are to pre-pack them in your vehicle, or put them in your coat pocket, purse, or other accessory bag.
Sand over Salt
When the snow starts to fall, use sand and grit instead of salt on your sidewalks and driveways. Salt is a problematic pollutant for our stormwater systems, which drain to our local ponds, lakes, and rivers. By using sand instead of salt, you help keep the chloride counts in our local water bodies down, helping their ability to support aquatic life.