In March, 2020, MEP cofounders created a Bat Parachute, inspired by a Washington Post article that connects COVID-19 to the Climate Emergency. MEP also placed a box of free parachutes for neighbors to take, decorate with art, their environmental concerns, and next sustainable actions, this all during the COVID-19 stay at home lock-down.
Sustainable Actions in this Community
Sustainable Actions of Neighbors and Hopes for a More Sustainable Neigborhood
Have an issue with your 'Bat poster'. While habitat loss is a factor, I believe a more significant factor, are the bizarre eating habits of people around the world who consume wild bats, rats, snakes etc! - Alan Dock
Response By Barton: There are more sides to the bat story and yours is correct as well. As large mammals are closer to extinction, people are now hunting smaller mammals, such as rats and bats, which is how they become sick. I didn’t want to make the parachute too confusing, mostly to start the conversation!
Thanks to Barton Rubenstein for all his amazing efforts working on the climate change issues. The Environment is one of the largest issues plaguing our modern society. The effects of industrialization have impacted certain communities more than others. In Somerset, it can be easy to avoid the impact of coal, fossil fuels, or pollutants, but for many communities it has a stark impact on their health and daily lives. Black and brown communities have beep plagued by the effects of lobbyists and big corporate interests polluting their lands and homes. These long time toxins now are causing these populations to have more complications from COVID-19. Overall climate change has been a major focus of our family. Beyond my brother working for a solar financing company, our family has taken several steps to reduce our own carbon footprint.Three of us have completely cut out red meat from our diets and then only eat fish or chicken once a week. We have also reduced to one car to encourage walking and taking of public transport. I have also been making efforts to reduce the amount of dairy I eat by drinking oat milk. Removing cheese from my diet though might be impossible. I also attempt to purchase as much of my clothing from thrift stores or sites, such as poshmark and thread up, or to by from companies that have sustainability plans. Happy Earth Day! -Elisa Gobbo
Happy Earth Day to all! Thank you Barton for all your efforts to make Somerset more environmentally conscious! It is wonderful to see how conscientious this community is already and how many in the neighborhood are ready to adopt new ways. We too started composting from the day the town offered pick up, got solar panels installed 12 years ago after returning from the pollution in Hong Kong, invested in a hybrid and electric car, stopped using pesticides and chemicals around the house and have been recycling for a very long time. However, we have been feeling like we need to make some basic changes in the way we consume and live. In addition to minimizing our carbon foot print, we are trying to minimize our waste footprint so we: REDUCE: we minimize single use disposables (avoid plastic bottle beverages, paper towels, paper napkins, plastic bags etc) We use a water filter, Sodastream machine, Cloth rags for cleaning and spills, cloth napkins (assigned by design to each family member), cloth grocery bags, large containers instead of single serve containers, run the dishwasher and washing machine mostly with full loads. REUSE: repurpose plastic bags for garbage and dog poop, glass bottles for storage and vases, use Take out food containers for flower pots and pot lucks, swap worn clothes for a discount at retailers like Marine layer, Madewell etc. who recycle them. We are still aspiring to get the Elisa Gobbo’s standard of shopping only at Thrift stores! RECYCLE: we follow the town’s guidelines and between recycling and composting we have gone to only one bag of garbage every two/three weeks? However, recycling is becoming unsustainable and recyclables are going to to end up in landfills/oceans. China is no longer accepting and processing recyclables and it is commercially unviable to do in the US. Therefore, it is urgent that we all REDUCE and REUSE more so we can reduce our WASTE Footprint! Any additional ideas are welcome. Cheers, -Malini
My earth day pledge is to restore native plants to our yard. For years, I have been working as the Executive Director (and founding member) of the Little Falls Watershed Alliance to restore habitat in our Park lands. With the help of thousands of volunteers and a lot of grants and donations, we have restored three meadows, removed acres of non-native invasives that are killing native plants and planted hundreds of native trees, bushes and wildflowers. But recently, I came to the realization that there is only so much we can do on public land. However, yard by yard we can restore native plants to the area and bring back bats, song birds and other wildlife who depend on the native plants for their food source. So, slowly, but surely, we are replacing our unused lawn areas with native plants and all new plantings in my yard are native. In my front yard, there are native ferns, foam flowers, native bushes and more where once there was only a non-native grass lawn. In the backyard, we have removed all the bush honeysuckle and recently planted native elderberries along the fence. (Thank you Sara Anderson for the plants!) We have a long ways to go, but every little bit helps. - Sarah Morse
Good suggestions. And I would hope that as a neighborhood we could pledge, no new bamboo. I’m having a terrible time in my backyard with bamboo creep from my neighbor’s yard. I am trying to save my native plantings And it makes me sad to see it along Little Falls Parkway. Bamboo is nonnative and invasive. Starlings who are non native and invasive shelter in bamboo. -Alison Fortier
Here is a parachute that our boys, Elias and Jonah, made to encourage recycling. Thanks to the Mother Earth Project and the Rubenstein family for the wonderful idea and parachute. What a great way to celebrate Earth Day. We've stepped up our composting efforts and found this recent New Yorker article on the topic so interesting. - Nancy Zuckerbrod
Nancy and Michael— Love the design and colors in your guys’ parachute, and hanging it from a tree is very cool. It makes it look like it really dropped down from the sky. Thanks also for the composting article. Truly composting has changed our lives. I used to feel guilty about creating waste, and now when I put scraps into my compost bin I feel that I am pouring goodness back into the earth. Hope we get to see more posts of parachutes and hear about what people are doing to love Mother Earth? Happy Earth Day, - Sharon and John
Dear Friends, We have joined the Mother Earth gang for Earth Day and agreed to display one of their parachutes on our house as shown below. Made by the students of Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon, its motto is Feed the World—Eat Bugs. The West Coast seems always to be ahead of East Coast types like us, but if you are interested, there is an entire edible bug section at Mom’s Organic Grocery in Rockville. In the meantime, in honor of the early 20th Century history of our house as the Bee Research Lab for the Department of Agriculture, we have posted a collage assembled by our sweet as honey Granddaughter urging us all to Save the Bees. Our family continues to compost and to live with a lovely back yard of weeds rather than use pesticides. We have introduced leaf mulch to our gardens this year and planted four trees including a white oak canopy tree. We are doing a new tree survey of our property as we make plans for planting more new trees along the east property line this fall. Keeping it close to home for Earth Day, like most of America, and we haven’t used even one quarter tank of gas in the last five weeks. That’s got to be good for Mother Earth. - Sharon Stoliaroff and John Stewart, Dorset
We’ve been composting for years. In fact, I take more pride in my compost than any plant in our garden. And I know the habit has been passed along. Jake, our 25-year-old, got in trouble at his restaurant side-hustle in Tel Aviv when he dutifully placed the eggshells back in the carton. The chef thought they had eggs when they were out! Reuse helps too. I just hosed down empty potting soil bags to use inside for garbage. If we have to use plastic, why not get some extra mileage out of it? -Lauren Rubenstein
For Earth Day last year, my son made me take a pledge for his daughter’s (my granddaughter’s future). No more plastic bottles (love my Brita) No more non organic lawn treatments (digging weeds has been very therapeutic during CV crisis) I’m looking for a few more simple steps I can take this year in honor of Abbi and Earth Day. - Alison Fortier
[Our Parachute is] not artistic, but our excuse is that we couldn't rely on the talents of any children! Thanks for the huge organization effort, Rubenstein family and Mother Earth Project! -Julie Greenberg