Home and Garden
The Benefits Of Ethical Gardening: How You Can Make A Difference
by Luke Fitzpatrick
Climate issues. Sustainability. Ethical living. These aren’t just buzz words. They’re real-world problems that we all need to face together.
There’s no denying that pollution is a big problem and people are becoming more aware that collectively, something needs to be done, and a change in our lifestyles may be just the way to help.
One major change is living more sustainably. For example, using more public transport, the war on plastics, choosing environmentally-friendly household products and even ensuring our gardens are ethically produced and cared for.
What is ethical gardening?
Ethical gardening is a term used to describe gardening using only sustainable and environmentally-friendly maintenance, planting and harvesting methods.
In many cases, this means minimal intervention in the natural growth process. Key to remember here is that in the wild, plants usually grow with little to no help from humans, chemicals or harmful gardening methods.
Why is ethical gardening so important?
For many people out there, maintaining an ethical and sustainable life all boils down to one thing: the state of our planet and how we will leave it for our children, their children and all future generations.
Increasingly, Mother Nature is laying claim to the land, with bushfires, floods, hurricanes and more thrashing the earth. Many will say that the way we have conducted ourselves as humans has contributed to this a lot, which is why living as ethically and sustainably as we can is so important.
In fact, just recently, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reported that almost 75% of the land has been altered by humans, and a million plant and animal species face extinction in the coming decades. That’s a scary thought.
Another key factor in ethical gardening means looking beyond your little plot and seeing how your decisions impact the world.
Finally, remember that sustainability is a lifestyle that has immediate benefits and long-term rewards. Ensuring we’re living sustainably and ethically goes a little way to protecting our future. It’s forward-thinking, trying to leave things better than we received them.
8 ways you can make a difference
It’s all well and good to understand what ethical gardening is, but putting it into practice is a whole different story. So how can you make a difference?
1. Reduce your carbon footprint when landscaping
Generally, think about how you are creating and nurturing your garden. This includes what materials and tools you’ll be using, reducing the use of chemicals used in your garden and using organic pest control methods.
Remember, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives for natural garden care that save energy and don’t put harmful chemicals into the air. One big example is using a push lawnmower to prune your lawn.
2. Repel, don’t kill, pests and weeds
There are some pests and weeds that simply aren’t conducive to growing a garden. Remember though, these pests and weeds are all part of the natural ecosystem.
While it can be frustrating to have caterpillars eating through your leaves or weeds sprouting between your tiles, there are natural and chemical-free ways you can repel unwanted guests.
3. Encourage wildlife to visit
Wildlife such as bees, birds and other animals can work wonders for your garden. This increases the biodiversity in your garden and gives them a lovely home to call their own.
4. Get involved with composting
One of the most common methods of ethical gardening is composting, where all the garden waste is used to fertilize the land. This means less material is going to landfill and the garden is getting some wonderful food.
The compost contains organic compounds that help plants grow. Keep a compost bin in your kitchen for all the fruit and vegetable peels and when it’s full, spread it around the garden.
You could also try collecting coffee bean leftovers from your house or local coffee shop and then reusing these to spread over your plants — rather than chucking them in the bin or down the sink to minimize wastage.
5. Go native
Quite simply, foreign species will require much more work to grow and they may even need specific fertilizers to help. This only increases our impact on the environment. Native plants, on the flip side, don’t need much maintenance.
They’re comfortable growing in the environment and will generally thrive without too much attention – they’re used to the conditions. Remember, they’re native for a reason.
6. Use natural or recycled materials
Natural materials are taken from the earth so they’re a fantastic way to encourage a sustainable landscape design. They also don’t need chemicals when it comes to care because they simply feed off the environment around them.
Using natural stone, for example, provides a range of distinct and unique looks with no impact on the environment. Use natural materials to build walking paths, plant containers, and even fences, which can be created out of hedges rather than other non-organic materials.
On top of this, be conscious of the pots you use for your plants. Many garden centers may send you home with plastic packaging and pots. Swap these for terracotta or galvanized metal ones and you’ll be much better off.
7. Grow your own food
Growing your own food has a ripple effect on everything. Vegetable and herb gardens and fruit trees look absolutely lovely in your garden so they’re aesthetically pleasing.
Then, of course, you have an almost ready-made meal right in your backyard. And finally, it means one less trip to the supermarket, which has its own environmental-footprint issues itself.
8. Conserve water
Water is one of the most important resources on Earth and conserving it is of utmost importance. Collecting rainwater and then using this to water your garden is one of the simplest ways you can conserve water. If you can’t collect water, use a watering can rather than a hose so you can control the amount of water you’re using and it’s not wasteful.
Getting out and about in the garden can be a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the fresh air and create an aesthetically-pleasing outdoor area. But we should always be mindful of our carbon footprint. Ethical gardening is important and it is really not as difficult as it sounds.
About the Author
Luke Fitzpatrick covers blockchain trends on Forbes. He has been published in Yahoo! News, Influencive, and Tech In Asia. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program.