Are you looking for a gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life? If so, here are some ideas.
For their next adventure
1. A portable water filtration bottle or straw
3. A kit to turn the flashlight on their phone into a lamp
4. A military grade compass
5. A down jacket or rain coat
6. A wireless charger for their electronics — one that’s solar powered is ideal
7. A portable camping stove and mess kit
To inspire them
8. A wilderness survival book
9. Novels and memoirs about outdoor adventures
10. A birdfeeder to bring wildlife to their backyard
To really spoil your outdoor enthusiast, consider buying them a pass that will grant them access to the country’s national parks for a year. No doubt, they’ll love exploring the American wilderness.
5 ‘wild’ books for wilderness buffs
1. Into the Wild
By Jon Krakauer
2. Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail
By Cheryl Strayed
3. The Call of the Wild
By Jack London
4. One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
By Sam Keith
5. Lost on the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods
By Cary J. Griffith
5 strategies to ward off squirrels
Squirrels are agile creatures that like to snack on seeds and dig up flower bulbs. This can make them quite a nuisance for gardeners. If you want to keep the squirrels in your area at bay, here are five tricks to try.
1. Plant bulbs at least six inches deep, and opt for species that squirrels tend to avoid such as daffodils, hyacinths, and fritillaries.
2. Cover your flower beds with chicken wire. This metal mesh will keep unwanted critters at bay without disrupting the germination of your seeds.
3. After planting, cover the soil with blood meal or chicken manure fertilizer. The odor repels squirrels and helps mask the smell of bulbs.
4. Grow aromatic plants that repel squirrels such as onion, garlic, and herbs. Scented geraniums (pelargoniums) and certain other fragrant flowers will also do the trick.
5. If you have a cat or dog, let it roam near your garden. Your pet’s presence, as well as the fur and scent it leaves behind, will serve as a deterrent.
5 tips to reduce your digital carbon footprint
Did you know that using the internet contributes to global warming? In fact, digital technologies are responsible for nearly four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this number is predicted to double by 2025. If you want to limit the environmental impact of your online activities, here are a few things you can do.
1. Change how you watch videos. Limit how often you stream shows, and download videos if you plan to rewatch them. Disable autoplay videos, and opt to use Wi-Fi rather than 4G, as this consumes less energy.
2. Adjust how you search. Bookmark web pages and use your browsing history to avoid repeating searches. You should also favor eco-friendly search engines such as Ecosia, which plants trees to offset its environmental impact.
3. Review how you store data. Save files, photos, and videos on USB flash drives or external hard drives whenever possible. This will limit your use of cloud computing, which relies on data centers that consume a lot of electricity.
4. Rethink how you use email. Rather than send large attachments to multiple people, provide a link to a file-sharing platform. You should also regularly clean out your inbox, as each email you store emits about 10 grams of carbon dioxide per year.
5. Modify how you power devices. Set your computer to go into sleep mode when it’s not in use, and turn off your devices at the end of the day. Lowering the brightness of your monitor can also save considerable energy and reduce eye strain.
In addition to shrinking your digital carbon footprint, you should also avoid creating electronic waste. Only replace your devices if they’re broken and beyond repair, and make sure to recycle old electronics at a drop-off location in your area.
4 tips to help your child overcome a fear of water
While fairly common among young children, a fear of water can really put a damper on otherwise enjoyable activities like bath time, swimming, and going to the beach. If you want to help your child get over this fear, here’s some advice.
1. Talk it out. If your child is old enough to clearly express themselves, try to identify the source of their fear. This understanding can help guide your approach and allow you to offer more specific reassurance.
2. Get in with them. Whether it’s the bath or the ocean, this can go a long way toward helping your child feel comfortable in the water. Just make sure you or the person who accompanies your child isn’t also uneasy about swimming.
3. Make it fun. From playing with toys in the bath to blowing bubbles in the water at the pool to jumping over waves at the beach, there are plenty of ways to entice kids into the water. These activities can provide your child with a distraction from their fear.
4. Start with clear water. One common reason children are reluctant to go swimming is that they’re afraid something is lurking in the water. If this is the case for your kid, start by getting them used to swim in a pool rather than a lake or the ocean.
If none of these techniques work and your child seems overly anxious or frightened by water, consider speaking with a child psychologist.
A brief guide to upcycling
Did you know there’s more than one way to recycle? When you toss scrap paper, plastic containers, and glass jars into a bin, it’s called downcycling. However, it’s also possible to upcycle. Here’s a look at this eco-friendly practice.
Also known as creative reuse, upcycling is the process of transforming used objects and waste materials into new, higher-quality products. For example, worn-out fabric from old clothes can be repurposed to create fashion accessories and one-of-a-kind garments. This is in contrast to downcycling, which breaks down the original materials.
How can you do it?
Upcycling can be used to create art, home decor, clothing, and a variety of everyday items. While an increasing number of companies have started to incorporate upcycling into their production process, there are also plenty of ways you can give new life to old objects lying around your home. For example, you can make a backpack out of empty juice pouches, transform Mason jars into light fixtures, or use old curtains to make face masks.
What are the benefits?
As is the case with downcycling, upcycling reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and limits the need to extract raw materials. However, upcycling has less of an impact on the environment. This is because it doesn’t need to break down materials in order to reuse them. Downcycling, on the other hand, relies on water to process paper and requires energy to melt plastic and glass.
If you want to help protect the environment and support your local economy, look for upcycled products sold at the stores in your area.
4 ways kids can help in the garden
If you’re a parent, you might find it difficult to tend to your garden while also keeping a close eye on your kids. Fortunately, there are a number of simple tasks that can keep even the youngest gardeners occupied.
Fill up a watering can — make sure it’s not too heavy — and let your little ones go about hydrating your planter boxes and potted plants. When it comes time to water the vegetable garden or flower beds, offer to let your kids hold the hose.
Teach your children to recognize the most common unwanted plants that sprout up in your garden. Ask them to go on a hunt for weeds and, with your supervision, let them try pulling up ones with shallow roots.
You can add mulch to your garden to help it retain moisture and limit the spread of weeds. Encourage your kids to get their hands dirty by carefully transferring mulch from the bag to the garden and spreading it evenly over the soil.
From picking up leaves to putting twigs in the compost bin, there are plenty of easy ways your kids can help clean the yard. Remind them to keep an eye out for fallen petals, pinecones, and acorns they can use for crafts.
In addition to giving you a hand, your little ones will have plenty of opportunities to learn about how plants grow. It’s a win-win situation.
4 tips for eco-friendly beauty care
Are you looking for ways to limit your impact on the environment? Here are four tips to help you adopt a more eco-friendly beauty care routine.
1. Favor solid cosmetics. These hair and skincare products generate less waste than liquid alternatives since they generally have less packaging. Look for items wrapped in recycled cardboard, or buy your cosmetics in bulk to avoid packaging altogether.
2. Opt for reusable wipes. Rather than rely on single-use towelettes to remove makeup, sweat and dirt, choose a washable pad, microfiber cloth, or cleaning mitt. This will considerably reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills because of your personal care routine.
3. Find natural alternatives. Many personal care products are harmful to both the environment and your body. By opting for cosmetics made with natural or organic ingredients rather than harsh chemicals, you’ll help protect the planet and enjoy healthier hair and skin.
4. Choose products carefully. From lipstick and mascara to lotion and shampoo, an increasing number of beauty brands offer products that are eco-friendly or sold in refillable containers. You should also select quality makeup brushes with sustainable bamboo or wooden handles.
To discover a wide range of eco-friendly personal care products, visit the stores in your area.