Treading lightly

Are you enjoying the October landscape? 

Underneath all those signs, most coastal North County properties are still surrounded by expensive green grass. A well-trimmed lawn is lovely, but the plastic variety is not. During this time of “global-weirding,” while our state officials debate energy policy and fret over looming water wars, solar energy systems are still rare, and it is common to see poorly-timed sprinkler systems spraying the air, sending water flooding down the street for miles! Precious water.

Micro-managing the size and timing of signage during this election season is of major concern, but could someone please explain to me why the Encinitas Public Works Department is systematically spraying the cracks in the sidewalks on Encinitas Boulevard with Round-Up? I suggested to the worker that he should at least be wearing a mask, to which he replied, “The company assures us there is no harm to humans.”

Why would anyone believe propaganda from a chemical company while this stuff, along with our tax money, flows down the storm drain?

Occasionally a gardening service will make use of burlap instead of plastic bagging and rakes instead of leaf blowers, which should be the rule. Noise and fuel from lawnmowers and blowers is obnoxious and wasteful. I installed a rock garden at my house and allowed the backyard to go natural because it makes sense environmentally, monetarily and spiritually, as I much prefer peace and quiet.

My raised vegetable planters, flowerbeds, and fruit orchard are all on a drip system reducing my water bill for a half-acre to $30/month. Homemade cisterns catch rainwater, which I distribute the old-fashioned way — by bucket brigade. I compost with two Biostacks reaching 150-plus degrees, and I vermicompost as well. No herbicides or pesticides, and of course all bunnies are welcome!

Plastic bagging is not allowed in my house or yard and my kitchen is almost completely plastic-free. I accept no Styrofoam, straws, or disposable silverware, no clam boxes, lids, or any other single-use packaging if I can avoid it. Zero waste, or darn near! Nothing extreme, just common sense. Restaurateurs have thanked me for bringing my own container for take-out. Health consequences associated with most plastics are real, and so far the claims of biodegradable plastics are misleading. It’s shocking to see plastic water bottles in every hand and car, heating up to poisonous levels; canary in a coalmine?

I predict plastic-free zones will be the next trend for home, business, church, and how about the beach?

It was encouraging that a youngster like Evan Lewis of La Jolla led the latest effort to ban the bag and that 50 cities in our state have already done so, phasing them out gradually with no consequences. Expensive anti-litter campaigns continue to avoid the reality of the volume of garbage littering beaches and bays, choking storm drains, killing wildlife, landfilled, or shipped to China. EDCO promises to open Gregory Canyon near Fallbrook.

Many homes are in disrepair with weeds, cigarette butts, trash, rodents and junk cars all too common. There is a serious drainage problem between a new housing development and an Encinitas church unaddressed for the past two years resulting in a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The report tested positive. West Nile Virus?

The French philosopher Voltaire opined that we should, after all is said and done, retreat from philosophy and politics, and focus instead on tending one’s garden — the mundane, ordinary necessities of life. Our gardens are expressions of our politics, as our habits are indicative of our values. Striving to do more than “same old same old,” you can bet I’ll be voting (seeking statesmen and women, settling for politicians), but I also buy local (prefer Made in the USA), I conserve water and avoid chemicals and excess packaging. It is challenging yet liberating to live plastic-and-pesticide-free.

Quoting Captain Charles Moore on a Pacific Rim tour speaking about his book, “PLASTIC OCEAN,” “You can stick your head in the sand, but you’ll discover that sand is full of plastic.” Regardless of how we spend our time in this life, we only have one garden — this beautiful planet Earth. Tread lightly.

Celia Kiewit is an Encinitas resident.

 

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