At times, finding ways to take individual climate action can feel like walking in a bottomless pit. Here’s one method: Use home gardening to take climate action.

Trust me, I know! It’s a big ask. But what if you could reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and grow your own food at the same time?!


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The scoop: Home gardening is a safe, simple way to take climate action in your backyard (or even in your kitchen!). You can also save yourself some $$, and get some much needed peace of mind.

What’s wrong with the grocery store?

The industrial agricultural system takes a large toll on the environment. Whether cutting down trees for more farmland, or using fertilizer to increase crop yields, Big Ag is unsustainable in the long-term.

Agriculture causes about 80% of worldwide deforestation efforts, with devastating environmental consequences.

Environmental benefits of home gardening: While home gardening won’t change industrial agriculture, it can still have plenty of local environmental benefits…

on 1) your property and 2) its surrounding ecosystem.

Economic and health benefits: Studies show that being surrounded by more greenery can actually reduce stress and improve mental health. If your vegetation also grows well, you can save a few trips (and dollars) with some home-grown produce. If large vegetation is planted outdoors, you can even reduce electric bill consumption over time.

Bottom line: By expanding generalized access to indoor/outdoor gardening, we can teach more people to take decentralized climate action. It will also support more harmony with people and planet.

Dig deeper → 4 min


Environmental Consequences of Industrial Plant Agriculture

The industrial agricultural system takes a large toll on the environment.

Whether cutting down trees for more farmland, or using fertilizer to increase crop yields, Big Ag is unsustainable in the long-term.

Agriculture causes about 80% of worldwide deforestation efforts, with devastating environmental consequences.

Forests host biodiverse ecosystems (which nourish crops, inspire medicinal discoveries, and support economic well-being). They also contain some of the most efficient natural solutions. Forests reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere… that’s why plants are so important. 

Plants remove CO2 from the air and simultaneously replace it with oxygen. However, when they die, they release their stored carbon, increasing greenhouse gas emissions. They also expose nearby soil to erosion, which makes farming more difficult.

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Fertilizers also bring an unfortunate series of environmental concerns; including runoff which depletes oxygen in bodies of water. Although it may provide short-term solutions to increasing crop yield, the longer term damage is more significant than quick gains.

As a result of this human-caused manipulation of our farming environments, there is also a startling decrease in pollinator populations across the globe:

Many solutions exist for unsustainable farming and biodiversity loss: vertical farming, urban green spaces, reducing meat consumption. See: Is Beyond Meat Sustainable?

This article will only discuss the various benefits which arise from home gardening.

Practicing Sustainable Home Gardening

Finding the ‘right’ growing conditions for planting at home can sometimes prove challenging. Especially when there is limited space.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has left many looking for ways to save money and remain active at home.

As it turns out, gardening is the perfect way to enjoy a greener lifestyle while supporting local plants and wildlife.

How to get started home gardening

To start gardening, you can either get native seeds from your local outdoors store or nursey, or use seeds from the fruits and vegetables you eat.

Although not all fruits and veggies grow in every outdoor climate (think tomatoes, beans, and carrots) you can easily grow indoors with a window-sill and some water.

For more tips on how to get started gardening, check out this article about self-sufficiency and sustainable living.

Environmental Benefits

While home gardening won’t change industrial agriculture, it can still have plenty of environmental benefits. Like 1) your property and 2) its surrounding ecosystem.

By re-growing stems of lettuce, for example, or composting food waste in your backyard, you will divert food from landfills. Composting even allows food to break down and produce carbon dioxide instead of methane (a more potent greenhouse gas). Your yard’s soil quality will also improve. When your soil is healthier, less fertilizer is needed.

Plus, by planting more florae, you are effectively contributing to the removal of carbon dioxide (an abundant greenhouse gas in our atmosphere). Plants conduct photosynthesis and the reduction in soil erosion.

Your plants’ roots will keep the soil together, and promote cooler temperatures near your home. A tree’s shade can significantly reduce surrounding temperatures.

Just make sure the plants are not invasive, since this can significantly harm your region’s biodiversity and native plant growth.

Not only can your florae allow pollinators to support your garden and thrive once again (without the use of synthetic pesticides), but you also get a delicious reward!

Economic and Health Benefits

Fortunately for us, the above environmental benefits of home gardening also lead to positive economic and health effects.

Studies show that being surrounded by more greenery can actually reduce stress and improve mental health… something indoor plants do a great job of. If your vegetation also grows well, you can save a few trips (and dollars) with some home-grown produce.

If large vegetation is planted outdoors, you can even reduce electric bill consumption over time, and support stronger biodiversity in your community. Who knew? More biodiversity can also support the fight against declining pollinator populations.

With more native flowers, your surrounding environment will be more resilient to natural disasters and diseases.

Example? If a region consists primarily of sunflowers and an external threat harms the sunflower population, it is difficult for that region to recover. With a diverse population of flowers, an environmental (human-caused) threat is less likely to occur.

What’s Next for Home Gardening?

As more people move to cities, urban gardening will become more important. It already is.

Indoor/outdoor gardening at home has a positive local impact. But urban communities also need open green spaces and gardens.

The World Health Organization agrees with the numerous health and civic benefits from urban green spaces. Still, it is up to city councils to incorporate nature into city planning.

By expanding generalized access to indoor/outdoor gardening, we can teach more people to take decentralized climate action. It will also support more harmony with people and planet.

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Save money, help wildlife, and feed yourself by home gardening.

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