Tip #13: Find a low-energy summer hobby

My favorite thing about summer is that you finally get to catch up on all those fun things you never get to do going to school full time. I can finally sew, paint and run again!

So, this tip is going to be pretty short and sweet: find a hobby that doesn’t require a lot of electricity or resources. We spend so much of our day staring a screens- television, computer, phone- that it’s worth it to occasionally unplug our devices, turn off the lights, go outside and participate in something tangible.

I have a few favorite hobbies that require minimal electricity and are still fun and productive (goodness, I sound nerdy):

– Beading. My stepdad taught me to bead when I was 8 years old and I haven’t stopped since. I love bead work because it’s so beautiful, intricate and creative. Also, beading is something that you can see real progress when working. All you really need is fishing wire, a needle and a pack of beads.

full_1297259895serviette

(http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/2011/02/10/latest-south-african-beadwork-raises-money-for-hivaids-infected-women/)

Come on, aren’t these just the coolest things ever? And when you get into it, beadwork can look insanely cool. It’s not actually that hard to do! This is a page which has a few cool starting stitches.

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(http://www.pbase.com/image/125189520)

– Running. Until this semester where I had almost no time to myself, I had no clue how much I love running. I always feel incredibly clear headed and happy when I run, and I usually end up accidentally working out all of my problems when my mind wanders. It’s uses zero resources, I can experience the great outdoors, and I can eat a substantially larger amount of chocolate during the day without feeling disgusting.

– Painting. The paint itself isn’t really “low-resource” per se, but we can’t be 100% sustainable all the time, that’s the whole point of these posts anyway. Go outside and paint something you see, it will get you closer to nature and further from the television screens.

Of course, there are millions of others. Sewing, hiking, gardening, reading, whatever! Just try to sit outside in the sun for a bit and enjoy the sunshine.

Tip #12: Pot a native Missouri plant!

Yes, just one. If every person planted one native Missouri plant, we’d be out of trouble in no time!

A huge problem facing us today is “invasive species.” They are species of plants and animals which outgrow other plants or animals around them, and take over the landscape. Invasive species are hard to get rid of once they’ve become rooted in an ecosystem, so one of the best ways to combat them is by manually planting native plants and hoping that they’ll balance out.

Planting native plants has a lot of other benefits, as well, though. First of all, they are pretty, which is a huge plus.

Second, plants store CO2, and the more of them there are, the more CO2 is stored somewhere other than the atmosphere. Have you ever noticed walking on a sidewalk, when you pass a large wooded area, the air is colder? It’s because comparatively, plants cool the earth more than concrete and buildings. This is why a lot of people advocate rooftop gardens because they cool whole cities just by existing, which is very cool.

I’ll suggest to you planting the Butterfly Milkweed. This is a plant which is so nicknamed because the Monarch Butterfly uses it to live.

Butterfly_Milkweed_(Asclepias_tuberosa)

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Butterfly_Milkweed_%28Asclepias_tuberosa%29.jpg)

Invasive species and pesticides have been killing Milkweeds, and this has been killing the Monarch Butterfly. Many people have pointed to the weed killer, Round Up, as the biggest culprit in the decline of Milkweed. The maker of Round Up is Monsanto, the same Monsanto which Monsanto Auditorium at Mizzou is named after.

It’s something to think about, you can get Milkweed’s at a local flower shop. Wilson’s Garden Center on Business Loop would be a great place to start!