Written by Ashley Vedwig, Education Supervisor
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” Native American proverb. Cave of the Mounds is committed to a greener and cleaner Earth and with these simple tips, we can all do our part to make that happen. These tips will even help you save money, become more sustainable and conserve energy. What’s not to love? Try this at home and know that you are helping the Earth.
Making new products and clothes require more energy, water, and resources. By donating items to your local thrift store instead of sending them to the landfill you are helping reduce our impact on the planet. When you stop at the thrift store to drop off those items, take a peek inside and see if there is anything you like. By purchasing clothes and items from a thrift store you are building a sustainable future as no resources went into making that product a second time. Cave of the Mounds makes sure to donate items such as office supplies, older lost and found items, etc. to our local thrift stores instead of sending them to the landfill.
According to the EPA, each American uses an average of 88 gallons of water a day at home. By simply fixing leaky faucets, turning the water off when we brush our teeth, shaving, soaping up in the shower, and running our dishwater and laundry with full loads we can all do our part to cut down on useless water wasting. You can even use rain barrels to conserve water for your gardens and washing your cars or bikes. By conserving our water, we will not only save money on our utility bill but help prevent water pollution in nearby lakes, rivers, local watersheds, and even caves (learn.eartheasy.com).
By planting native plants to your area instead of rare or exotic plants you are helping to build a sustainable native habitat, which is vital to preserving biodiversity (audonbon.org). Be wary of plants that could become invasive or that are from other countries as they might not benefit the local animals and insects. We have worked really hard at Cave of the Mounds to plant native species and have restored a prairie and oak savannah woods for the benefit of our environment and guests. Come tour the prairie and pick up some native plant seeds for your garden at home.
Coming to Cave of the Mounds? Great! Carpool with your family to come see us! Have space in your car? Maybe invite some friends to join you. Are you coming out to Cave of the Mounds as a parent chaperone for a field trip? Talk with the other parents and carpool out here together. If multiple people are all going to the same place, save the gas, the wear and tear on your vehicles, and do your part to help the environment.
A plastic bag takes around 1,000 years to properly degrade! They will then breakdown into small toxic parts, which are bad for the environment (conserve-energy-future.com). By using reusable shopping bags, we can eliminate the use of these plastic bags and help reduce the amount of plastic heading to our landfills. Cave of the Mounds has started offering a reusable shopping bag for $1 instead of using our typical paper bags. A fun challenge is to see how long you can go without getting a plastic bag by purchasing a reusable bag whenever possible instead of using plastic.
We love to conserve energy at Cave of the Mounds as we only use the light that we absolutely need when we tour the cave. Our guides light the way that they are headed on tours and turn off the lights behind them. That allows the cave to be in its natural state of total darkness when we are not down there and it saves energy and money. It is a win-win situation for the Earth and our cave. Do your part by only using the light you need at your home. You can even contact your local energy company and see what renewable energy alternatives they have. For just a few extra dollars on your bill a month you can potentially switch your home to renewable energy.
Now, we are not saying you have to make all these changes overnight. We just wanted to start you thinking of ways that you could change your routine to save money and help us work towards building a more sustainable future. Help us conserve and protect the precious resources this planet has to offer.