21 New Ways to Think Green
Cut Down and Clean Up Your Runoff
- Sniff out a sick septic system. Inspect for odours or puddling and pump out
every 3 to 5 years.
- Kick the lawn habit. Plant with native plants
- Don’t soap in the lake, ever. Even if a soap
says its phosphate free and biodegradable, it can hurt aquatic life.
- Replace hard, paved surfaces with more porous
ones - wood chips, small pebbles, turf.
- Stock up on green cleaners. Avoid using
household chemical cleaners which destroy the beneficial bacteria that break
down waste in your septic system. Use baking soda and vinegar, etc.
- Hook a rain barrel up to your eaves troughs - so
easy - reduces erosion all year.
- Pick up after pooch. It pollutes by carrying
coliform bacteria with the run off into the lake.
- Refuel away from the water - boats, as well as
chain saws, pumps and generators, over a tray in a shelter with a hard floor
and a rag for mopping up spills
Shrink Your Cottage Energy Bill
- Plant a tree or two, they are great
insulators. Plant deciduous trees on the
south and west sides of the cottage to provide shade in summer and conifers on
the north and north-west sides to block cold winds.
- Hang curtains or blinds and keep them closed as
much as is practical to moderate the heat/cold from outside.
- Switch the cottage wattage. Compact fluorescent
bullbs last up to 10 times longer and use about ¼ the electricity of
- Hold the heat in hot water tanks by wrapping the
tank in an insulating blanket. Turn the setting down or switch to an on-demand
- Retire that old beer fridge. It could be costing
you up to $130 a year by using more than 4 times the energy of a newer energy
- Replace outdoor lights with low wattage ones and
only turn them on the few times they are needed.
Keep a Healthy Shoreline
- Rebuild the buffer zone at the shoreline and
leave driftwood, fallen trees and water weeds in the water. Resist the urge to “tidy up” except for a
small swimming area.
- Opt for a low impact dock - a floater or
cantilever - which causes less disturbance to the lakebed.
Protect Our Wildlife
- Drive your boat at “no-wake” speed near shores
to guard aquatic babies from wave and prop action and to minimize erosion.
- Keep aliens away by draining bilge and buckets
before launching in a new lake to avoid transferring exotic species.
- Get the lead out of the tackle box. Switch to
- Let dead trees stand for woodpeckers and other
birds, mammals, and insects.
- Create a wildlife corridor full of native
shrubs, grasses and flowers to allow animals and birds access to the water
without going out in the open.
from article by Steve Stockton, Cottage Life Magazine, 2007