Happy New Year!
Resolve to make 2021 the year of change to better the environment! Simple swaps can make a big impact. Even making one change can make a difference. Challenge your family and friends to go on this journey with you. There is no Planet B so we need to take immediate action!
It will take all of us, together, to make a difference.
Start by becoming aware of your carbon footprint. What’s that? It’s the most common measure of how much greenhouse gas (mainly carbon dioxide) is released into the environment from our everyday activities. There are several online calculators to help you learn how your choices impact the environment. Check out these calculators: Carbon Footprint Calculator | Climate Change | US EPA, Ecological Footprint Calculator, carbonfootprint.com – Carbon Footprint Calculator
Looking to make a simple lifestyle change? Consider these actions:
§ Ditch single-use plastics for reusable items. Reusable shopping and produce bags are a great start. Decline plastic cutlery and straws on take-out orders. Forgo bottled drinking water and carry a refillable bottle with you. There’s a style and price point suitable for everybody!
§ Join the meatless Monday movement. Delicious and flavorful plant-based dishes can be a great source of protein and nutrients without the consequence of greenhouse gas emissions. Looking for recipes? Check out: https://www.mondaycampaigns.org/meatless-monday/recipes
§ Go green! Consider switching to green energy to power your home. Many power companies offer this option. We made the switch: link to our green page on green energy credits
§ Lights off! Reduce wasted energy and save money by turning off lights when you leave a room. To calculate your savings, take the watt rating on the bulb and divide it by 1000. This gives you kilowatt hours or kWh. Use your most recent electric bill to find how much you are charged per kilowatt hour, and then multiple that price by the number of kilowatt hours. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs will help save energy and money as well.
§ Decrease the amount of lawn you have to maintain by increasing the amount of garden beds. Pollinators and wildlife in general need us to provide the ecosystem services they rely on. Native plants bring both beauty and function to a garden. Don’t forget – the air we breathe is courtesy of the plants around us. Less lawn equates to less chemicals along with less noise and air pollution from mowers, trimmers and blowers.
Environmental stewardship and community engagement are our top strategic goals. Not only do we promote responsible landscaping practices through onsite classes and community outreach, we evaluate our own cultural practices to ensure we are meeting our own expectations.
Many communities have limited exposure to the natural world and botanical gardens can help fill that void. Whether advising on a community garden, connecting kids to nature through hands-on learning, supporting local fairs and expos, or donating time and resources to other non-profits, Norfolk Botanical Garden serves as a resource to the entire community across the board.
YOU CAN SWITCH TOO! NBG switched to 100% renewable energy in 2019.
Garden is 100% invested in the Dominion Energy Green Power program. This allows us to match 100% of our monthly electricity usage with Renewable Energy Certificates. With these certificates, Dominion Energy replaces energy generated from non-renewable sources on their power grid with energy generated from renewable sources. Pursuing this option is a worthy investment because it provides the opportunity to offset our carbon footprint and support green energy. Arcadia Power is another resource that can connect you to clean energy options.
In 2018, 120 solar panels were installed on our Dominion Energy Garden of Lights storage building, generating enough energy to power our propagation greenhouse.
The panels generate more energy on a sunny day than the greenhouse needs. Keep up with how much energy and cost the Garden is saving. Click here.
Establishing NBG as a leader in environmental stewardship is our number one strategic goal. This includes initiatives to expand and improve our in-house environmentally sustainable practices and to empower Coastal Virginia residents to adopt sustainable practices.
We are cognizant of the impact our office and gardening practices have on the ecosystem. We strive to constantly review and improve our practices.
Take action in your own garden – Improve your soil. Let’s Compost.
Deepening our engagement with the community is an institutional priority. NBG is an important cultural component not just within the City of Norfolk but to the entire Hampton Roads Community.
Our engagement with the public is multifaceted and extends far beyond our physical footprint. While a good majority of our outreach centers on horticultural advice, we welcome opportunities to provide meaningful contributions to folks within the community.
Partnering with teen-based community groups like Teens with a Purpose and area schools like Booker T. Washington High School and Denbigh Early Childhood Center gives us the opportunity to connect with a broader audience that includes our next generation of stewards. In many instances, we are able to offer field trips free of charge through our Day of Nature Fund. These opportunities provide inspiration and gives students a tangible connection to the natural world and its ensuing benefits. Our youth education programming includes visits to area Title I schools, STEM events, education–based expos and scout programs.