Natural Environment

 

OK In Health's Environment Section

We designed this page to help share information about small or big changes we can make in our daily lives that can help protect and enhance this beautiful place we live. By educating our selves and sharing information with each other, we can help makes some changes so that we and our children can breathe and live in a less toxic world. Often, it is the small changes we make that can make the biggest changes.


Hedley, B.C. --- Photo by Phil Maranda, Ok Falls

OK in Health Environment Articles on our Main Article page, such as: 

  • Dr. David Suzuki articles
  • Healthy Homes 101
  • Provide a Chemical-Free Safe Home for You and Your Family!
  • 150 Organic and Natural Garden tips
  • Common Sense Pest Control
  • Saving Water with Rain Barrels Capture rainwater for your garden.
  • Health & Safety Information on Household
  • How can we help to have Clean Air?
  • Caring for ourselves goes hand in hand with caring for the planet   

 

See our Events Calendar for upcoming environment events

 

 

Lynx cat in the Oliver, BC landfill
Lynx cat in the Okanagan, BC

Here is a photo taken of a Lynx at the Oliver. BC Landfill. Take note of the big feet on this guy! It is not often ones see this rare cat so close to this type of human activity. It was probably seeking out mice.Photo  by Sherri Klein

 

 

Environmental Tips and Suggestions

Taking Action for our Environment

Composting and Natural Yard Care
Composting is as Easy as 1,2,3... Wouldn't you prefer to see your garden grow instead of local landfills? Composting can reduce your household waste by more than 30%. Composting not only helps to reduce the amount of waste going to local landfills, but by adding compost to your garden, flower beds, lawn and trees you improve soil fertility and texture and reduce watering. Best of all, your plants will love it!

Save your Back!
Did you know that good posture helps to protect your back? Other ways to avoid back pain include regular exercise, proper lifting and stretching. When you lift objects from the ground, use your legs instead of your back. When lifting with your upper body, keep your back straight and allow your arms to do the work.

Heirloom Seeds.
Many seed varieties available today have been developed for the commercial grower. They are bred for qualities such as uniformity and long shelf life; taste is usually the last consideration. Heirloom seeds have been passed down through the generations and are cherished for their outstanding characteristics, such as superior flavor, vibrant color, adaptability and vigorous growth. All the seed we offer is open pollinated, untreated and free of genetic engineering. Planting and seed saving instructions are provided. See your Local Health Stores

Bat Houses
Did you know that one brown bat can catch 600 mosquitoes an hour? The Cedar Bat House provides a very specific roosting environment which attracts these misunderstood insect eaters.

Push Lawn Mower
Not like what your father had..! Today's push lawn mower is lightweight and easy to use. They're good for the environment and they're good for your yard, snipping the grass for a clean, quiet, precise cut.

Organic Lawn Care
Organic lawn care takes a holistic, preventative view rather than reacting to various problems using chemical pesticides or herbicides. By building healthy soil many of the problems with lawns are solved, eliminating the need for poisons and harsh reactionary measures.

Composting
Convert kitchen, yard and garden waste into soil-nourishing organic matter with our backyard tested compost bins and supplies. Decreasing household waste and building your soil has never been so easy!

Turn off lights and equipment when a work area isn't being used
Even better, if you don ’t need them, don't turn the lights on in the first place. Natural light saves energy and is easier on your eyes. And a computer that runs 24 hours a day uses between $75 and $120 worth of electricity each year. You can save about $15 on your annual energy bill with an ENERGY STAR qualified computer in standby mode.

Turn down your water heater temperature
If you want to save energy and, therefore, money, turn down the temperature on your hot water heater. It takes less energy to heat water to a lower temperature and to maintain that temperature than it does to keep water extremely hot. Turning down your water heater from 140 degrees F to 120 degrees F can shave 10 percent or more from your electric bill. With most water heaters, turning down the thermostat is a simple process, although the exact procedure varies slightly depending on the kind of water heater.

Install a low-flow showerhead
Install a low-flow showerhead with a shut-off lever. This do-it-yourself project takes only minutes. But it delivers big savings in water consumption and water heating, because it allows you to interrupt water flow. A low-flow showerhead uses 60% less water than standard fixtures.

Avoid using chemical pesticides or fertilizers
Avoid using chemical pesticides or fertilizers on your lawn and garden. Chemical fertilizers are a source of nitrous oxide, a GHG. Try using organic products - they are better for our environment and healthier for your lawn and your family.

Western Pine Beetle
The key to dealing with western pine beetle, which attacks only ponderosa pines, is early detection. Look for these signs:
*Entire crown (all of the foliage) turns yellow, then red
*Bark bears regular pattern of pitch tubes where beetles have bored into the bark; boring dust may also be present
*Woodpeckers peeling the bark to get at the beetles
*Live beetles or tiny white grubs and a characteristic pattern of tunnels are revealed when bark is pulled away
*Beetles eventually stain the wood blue due to a fungus that is introduced.
If these signs are evident, the tree should be removed and properly disposed of before beetles are allowed to reemerge. The next major reemergence isn’t expected until spring, but there may still be activity in the winter if temperatures stay warm.
IMPORTANT NOTE
For All Areas: Infested trees must be treated to destroy beetle brood (e.g. debarked, burned, chipped or thoroughly buried). DO NOT store infested wood or use it as firewood unless it has been treated. Some references suggest that plastic sheeting may prevent beetle emergence but this is NOT a reliable method.
For Kelowna Area - Recent infestations have killed hundreds of trees in some areas of Kelowna. The City is asking all property owners with pine beetle infestations to fill out a pine beetle form. This form will help determine the scope of the problem in Kelowna and establish criteria for developing a removal program {latest details  http://www.kelowna.ca/CM/Page1077.aspx } Call the Pine Beetle Hotline for more information: 1 250 469-8457

Tick Season
The few cases of tick paralysis in the Okanagan and B.C. Interior are generally related to the bite of the Rocky Mountain wood tick although there are dozens of varieties of ticks around the world with varying degrees of toxicity. "A cluster of tick paralysis cases does not make an outbreak and it has nothing to do with Lyme disease!" So says Dr. Rob Parker, a medical health officer with the Interior Health Authority. He recommends removing the tick with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. “Don’t burn it off or put alcohol on it. If you damage it, it may regurgitate more material into the body,” he advised. “Gently grab the tick at the base where it attaches to the skin and pull it directly upward.” Precautions for avoiding tick bites include wearing light-coloured long sleeved shirts and long pants when hiking in forested areas and grasslands. “Do a check along the hairline which is where they tend to gravitate,” advised Parker. “Check your kid’s hairline and do a thorough comb-out of your dog.”

Food and Our Environment 'Carotenoids in fresh food can actually offset the effects of exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke', says David Kitts, professor of food, nutrition and health at the University of British Columbia." (orange fruit and vegetables) Always try and wash your fresh foods before eating or peeling.

 

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