During the late 90’s, in an effort to make some sort of difference regarding how we interact with our planet, I began to really focus on a selection of things that I could efficiently center my attention and energy on.
The reckless use of chemicals directly upon our Earth—both residentially and agriculturally—was one of the issues that I chose. Through education, advocacy work and devoted personal practice, it is my hope that we can do away with this wide-spread and detrimental convention.
I spent several years researching agri-chemical companies, the products that they mass market, and the cumulative effects that these sprays have on the wildlife they are consistently applied to—including us. I hand delivered letters to those surrounded by agricultural land and allocated time for reaching out to people through local media. During this stretch, I spent many hours in the field talking with farmers—often taking silent note of the visible effects on the nervous system in the older generations.
Though I slowly surrendered to the reality that my time and efforts were creating little change, the rampant use of herbicides and pesticides has remained an issue that I feel very passionate about. So when we moved to a new living space last year and discovered an ominous bundle of poison ivy around our home, it was important to me to find a feel-good compromise between our well-being and the well-being of the small piece of land that we now have the opportunity to work with and to nurture.
Many years ago, I used salt water on a couple of poison ivy plants around the home that I was living in at that time; it was really effective. As much as I love and appreciate poison ivy for the beautiful plant that it is and the role that it plays in our ecosystem, many of my friends and family members are among the estimated 85% of our population who reacts to it after an up close and personal mingle.
After a bit of research, I decided to add vinegar to the mix and discovered that both brews—salty water and salty vinegar—work impressively.
- 1 gallon vinegar or water
- 1 cup salt
Mix together and carefully spray on the leaves of the plant. This blend isn’t picky about what it will eliminate from your yard space.
Admittedly, I have a difficult time even spraying this mix on poison ivy. While I choose to occasionally (and mindfully) use this brew on the above-mentioned plant, I don’t use it for any other plant. Instead, my family and I embrace the beauty and value that these herbs have and add to our lives. Dandelion, plantain, clover, sorrel, chickweed, thistle and many more incredible, nutrient-rich greens make their way into our kitchen during their growing seasons. They are welcomed gifts.
Each year, millions of pounds of chemicals are carelessly sprayed on gardens, lawns and, extensively, on farmland. These harmful brews make their way into the bodies of the animals living in and on this land, our bodies, our waterways—and, irreversibly, into our groundwater supply. Research in Germany has revealed significant amounts of glyphosate (used in Roundup) in the urine samples from those living in the city. I am certain that similar results would be found in any country where spraying has become customary.
Please share the above spray mix with friends and family who routinely spray their gardens and lawns—and help decrease the amount sprayed on our farmlands through supporting local, organic farms and farmers.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Rob at Flickr Commons