Top 23 Acts (to do from home) to Conserve Earth!

This year’s Earth Day theme is Invest in Our Planet. You can invest time, energy, resources or funds to make our global environment better. For the next 60 days until Earth Day spread the word and as MJ says: Make That Change. Here’s a list to make the greatest positive impact on our globe. Some you can do from your couch.

  • Research Your Food. Of coarse, this first one is a couchable act. Pull 5 items you normally buy. Then look up the manufacturer for earth friendly practices. If they are being sued for unsafe disposal or employee unfairness – Change Brands!
  • Start Recycling. Most people support recycling, but do you really DO it? The EPA reported on November 2020 only 32% of Americans recycle. A couchable approach is to find out online exactly what your local trash collector accepts in that recyclable bin. You may be amazed.
  • Recycle More. If you are in USA’s 32% that is doing the deed – Do more. Don’t throw away that can or bottle because of food residue. Put it in the dishwasher, then throw in recycle bin. More items are recyclable now than before. Research new ways to reuse/recycle and find out what else you can put in that bin.
  • Research Your Trash. Since we’re on the subject, where does your trash end up? Yes, this too can be done from your couch. Check out what happens when trash leaves your home by going to company website. Some waste haulers changed tactics as China refused plastic disposal. Where does your local hauler dump, burn or bury?
  • Minimize Plastic Waste. Each year over 8 million metric tons of plastic is dumped in oceans. Microplastic particles are endangering marine life. Check out Earth Day Network to find other ways you can help.
  • Buy Less Packaging. Buy bulk product or choose option that have just the bare minimum non-recyclable packaging. The more packaging you buy the more you need to throw away. That leads to the next action.
  • Avoid individually wrapped ANYTHING. It may have made lunch or travel packing easier but is all that wrapping really useful. If it was for meals, consider investing in a reusable bento box with compartments for food items. If it was for travel, washable travel bags also have easy access easy clean compartments.
  • Voice a Complaint. Do it from your couch. Call and complain about local users of take-out styrofoam containers. Ask manager to change to paper or cardboard take-out options. Call back to see if they took action and praise any positive change.
  • Start a Vegetable Garden. No need for access to open land – use containers. Grow your veggies indoors near a sunny window. Plant only what you will really eat. Change garden plants each season to have fresh food all year long.
  • Create a Community Garden. Call your neighbors to share ideas, seeds, produce and more from doorstep to doorstep.
  • Start a Compost Pile/Bin. A handy addition to any garden, compost can help fertilize what you grow. Also compost is cheaper than store bought fertilizer that may contain unsavory additions to your local earth.
  • Change Toothbrush/Hairbrush to natural or recycled products. Sadly, these items are still packaged in plastic when newly purchased but it is a start.
  • Use Biodegradable Cleaning Products. Read labels of cleaners you now have for kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Is it safe for you, your children, our Earth? Some simple items are extremely effective cleaners such as vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, citrus and thyme. Check out products by Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation, Simple Green, Method, JR Watkins, ECOS and others.
  • Spay/Neuter Your Pets. Also Trap-Neuter-Return wild community cats for humane care of overpopulation. Feral cats pose biodiversity challenges globally. Nearly 100 MILLION feral, formerly domestic, cats live in the US. Feral cats usually die from starvation, contagious disease or injury. Help them. #DoGood.
  • Join a Clean Up Day. Find a local group or government sponsored effort to clean you region. Volunteer to start small by taking the family out to clean up your block.
  • Start a Cleanup Day. Start a clean up of your neighborhood or a nearby road or highway. Remember Earth Day is Everyday add your clean up to EarthDay.org map
  • Look B4U Buy. Check where clothes, housewares and other purchases are made. When shopping online, a couchable act, do a little digging. Find out what the items are made from before purchase. Buy clothing for long term, not one time use. If it is not from a sustainable source don’t buy it.
  • Eat Local. This may seem an odd for Earth act, but it decreases travel pollution and packaging needs. Plus it supports your neighbors and your community. Win-Win.
  • Consciously Buy Food. Find items that are sustainable. Look for labels that state Fair Trade, Rainforest Certified, Dolphin Safe, etc.
  • Plant/Care for a Tree. Trees help minimize carbon pollution. Guardians Around The Earth and nonprofits like us offer ongoing tree support. GATE works toward Central California reforestation through reseeding locally sourced tree seeds. Donate to our efforts here. Also larger nonprofits like Arbor Day Foundation, One Tree Planted, Trees for the Future and others help reforest our Earth one tree at a time.
  • Donate Time/Funds. Donate your volunteer time or monetary contribution to an Earth friendly nonprofit right now. Give to us at Guardians Around The Earth. Give to others – search online to find an organization you love. Every donation is greatly appreciated.

Share what action you take to conserve Earth. Tell a friend. Post a comment. Share on our Facebook page. Whatever action you do our Earth will be better for it.


Arbor Day

By Grace Colbert

Arbor Day is April 30th! Each year we take this special day to learn about, appreciate, and give back to trees. It’s a day to take part in your community and get involved with nature. Trees play a huge role in supporting life on Earth, and so we have a special day to celebrate them. 

Many people plant trees on Arbor Day. Planting trees is a great way to help the community and environment! But you can’t plant just any tree anywhere. Trees need the right environment so they can grow the best. Some trees need a hot, dry climate, other trees need colder, wet areas. Use this Right Tree, Right Place guide to help you figure out what tree grows best where you live, and how to do it safely.

After you plant a tree, you still need to take care of it! Like most plants, trees need the right soil, room to grow, good sunlight, and water. Check out this guide  for tips on how much to water and prune your tree to keep it healthy.

Here are other activities you can do this Arbor Day:

UH OH – Agency Crisis Alert!

Where’s Your Safety Net – By Marisa Folse, co-founder of GATE

In November I joined an online chat about what happens when leadership of a nonprofit is unable to function due to illness, injury or some other challenge. Does your agency have a plan, a safety net? Hmmm…

Thanks Bonbon Lang-es for photo

I commented (at that time) this is something we need to create. We have no plan, no backups for key volunteers, no system in place for transition of duties. Since it was November and Giving Tuesday happens, plus end of year everything gets into gear. It got pushed, with a note – set that up in the new year. ***Enter your eye rolling here!


Thanks to Praneeth Koduru for photo

In mid December that’s exactly what happened to our agency. Over half of our leadership and a majority of our key volunteers came down with covid and long covid symptoms. It took us out and hit us hard. For MONTHS, we were no longer able to do our job, continue our volunteer work nor continue the agency in a cohesive manner.

  • I was affected which meant our financial and volunteer systems were put on hold.  No budget updates or management, no fundraising oversight, etc. 
  • Our outreach efforts were halted even before I became ill. So no website or other updates, no email monitor or response. 
  • Our caregiver support lead fell gravely ill also, meaning our online community went unattended.

A coinciding event that was totally outside our agency occurred and also affected our services. Regional foster care system revamped child placements in an effort to house siblings together.  While a great idea, foster families who were key volunteers with us needed to refocus time to care for additional children with social emotional challenges. As a result most of our agency work with children halted. 

That’s pretty much everything we do negatively affected in a short period of time. Such a wakeup call!

Thanks to samer daboul for photo

The reality of how important a back up, or safety net, is hit home. The fact that it was put off (yes, I procrastinate often) was not okay for us. Now, in hindsight having some manual agency efforts automated would be great. But that’s another post.

Instead of procrastinating further, I choose to let you know where we are and what we are experiencing. Yes, we are in crisis. Yes, nearly everything is in a holding pattern. BUT, we will persevere, face this challenge and get through this in time.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos

So, the big question is – what do we do now?

We work daily toward greater health and strength.
We reach out to old volunteers and new for greater aid getting us back on track, AND
We create a system of longevity for our agency.


Wasteful Woes

by Marisa Folse 1Sep2022

Years ago I made a pledge to reduce household waste and carbon footprint. I am happy to report I take out trashcan only once a month for pick up, a big change from weekly dumping. Now however, I notice a distressing personal trash trend. It is what I call Shy-Based Petro.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Admittedly, I am exceedingly, even painfully shy. Hard to tell as my work of choice requires me to interact daily with numerous people. Yet, each day I return home to release, recover, refocus. You may think COVID shutdowns were great for shy-sods like me. But no, for some post-COVID anxiety of socializing with others is WORSE. My COVID experience was different during these past few years; I was one of many workers NOT experiencing a shutdown. I worked away from home the entire time, driving each workday on nearly vacant roadways.

But let me get back to household waste woes. A recent article shows COVID-based needs increased waste and single-use plastics by nearly 300% from pre-COVID production. Think about it, all those disposable PPE – masks, gloves and hand sanitizer bottles. But I digress from my topic.

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

COVID restrictions make it easier to shop in new ways without face-to-face interactions. Win-win for shy folk. Online shopping, self check outs, prepackaged deli and butcher items make it possible to do errands without coming face-to-face with another human. My dilemma – THIS SHY SHOPPING PATH BOOSTS PLASTIC TRASH!

Too shy to talk to butcher, I choose prepackaged cuts entirely wrapped in plastic. Household items ordered online arrive with plastic padding in the shipped boxes. Even conscious choices of cardboard boxed purchases instead of plastic reveals plastic inner liners containing contents. Drat this shy business!

So, even though my trash quantity is less, a larger percentage of it is now plastic. I make lots of changes to reduce plastic. Household sponges are walnut. Toothbrushes and similar items are bamboo. Global impact is more important than my shyness comfort. I MUST make a change. Here are a few new efforts to embrace.

New ways to focus plastic reduction efforts:

  • Change bottle soaps, shampoos and conditioners back to bars.
  • Change laundry and dish soap to dry types in plastic-free containers.
  • Decrease plastic wraps and cellophane. Encourage others to do the same.
  • Choose PPE that is NOT plastic based or individually wrapped.

Multicultural Book Challenge

As program director for GATE’s Learning & EduCare Project, I have always wanted to expand our educational horizons around the earth. This challenge is now achievable.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

During a child development class, I saw a TED Talk by Anne Morgan. She shared desire to expand the horizons of her personal bookshelves. In this talk, she spoke of her journey to read a book from each country of the world and the challenges she faced in taking on that task. Anne’s talk inspired me to do my own version of her challenge.

I’m a multiethnic early childhood educator, so my challenge is – read and add to our nonprofit library a quality children’s literature book from every country around the earth. Of course, not just any children’s book will do. Quality criteria must be applied since I am an educator first and foremost, with experience studying multicultural literature and leaning hard into early STEM. Chosen book criteria are the five listed.


  • Ideally, picture books depicting scenes, people and experiences from that country.
  • Also if possible, books avoid story retells from outside cultures (i.e. Cinder-Ella).
  • Authors not limited to in country residents, but cultural depictions must be authentic.
  • Books should avoid stereotypes of people, yet accurate negative imagery is part of life and welcomed.
  • Family member roles and lifestyles are genuine, accurate and complex.

List of countries for this challenge was simple to determine. For instance, although http://www.listofcountriesoftheworld.com has over 250 countries listed, some are ancient civilizations, unoccupied by humans, or regions within other sovereign borders. The United Nations has most commonly recognized list of sovereign states, currently at just over 190. However, a few countries spread across vast regions of the globe – specifically, Australia, China, Russia and United States. In fairness, various regions within these countries will be included later as separate entries.

Antigua and Barbuda


Bosnia & Herzegovina
Brunei Darussalam
Burkina Faso

Cabo Verde
Ctrl African Republic
Costa Rica
Côte D’Ivoire

Czech Republic

DPR of Korea
DR of Congo
Dominican Republic

El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea


Guinea Bissau



Lao People’s Rep.

Macedonia- X Yugoslav Rep.

Marshall Islands

New Zealand

Papua New Guinea

Republic of Korea
Republic of Moldova
Russian Federation

Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
St Vincent & Grenadine
San Marino
Sao Tome & Principe

Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Africa
South Sudan
Sri Lanka
Syrian Arab Republic

Trinidad and Tobago

United Arab Emirates
U K of Great Britain & North Ireland
U Republic of Tanzania
U States of America

Viet Nam

This is my challenge. You can help.

  • Join me by expanding your reads to include diverse cultures.
  • Let me know what you read to your children in comments.
  • Post comments on book suggestions.
  • Donate a good multicultural children’s book to us by mail.
  • Watch for GATE’s YouTube videos where I present Multiethnic Enviro Ed On Our World.

2021 (in picture perfect) Review…

Some highlights of what YOU HELPED GATE DO during 2021.

  • GATE reached out for 1st time on Facebook and YouTube. More to come.
  • TreeForce volunteers’ before and after tree care.
  • Learning & Edu-Care Project‘s education outreach.
  • Litter clean up helpers.
  • Hands on learning in Nature.
  • Click to look back into our past 15 years!
  • What’s next? – more early STEM, more damaged tree care, more caregiver support, more for our environment, our families and our future on Earth.

Opening GATES for 15 Years!

#Open Your GATE Photo by Chanita Sykes

For 15 years your generosity has helped others. Join us as Guardians Around The Earth turns 15 during our 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Yep – 15 YEARS… Wow, time flies. We are scouring files, peeking into the past and compiling snapshots of what your donations accomplished in five year increments. Take a gander at the work you helped complete and the impact made one person at a time.

Photo by Kelvin Siqueira on Pexels.com

GATE’s first 5 years (2006-2010) –

With merely 4 volunteers you reached:

  • over 300 families face-to-face and
  • countless more through published educational articles.

Impact Story from GATE’s first 5 Years – Changing little lives gives great rewards…

Stress in children negatively impacts a whole family.

Little R was an angry baby. Her scrunched face, loud cry at any provocation, flailing fists of fury and uncontrollable outbursts were her M.O. By crawling age, she took out her anger at any other child within reach. Not a great experience for her newest little sibling. R’s parents briefly glanced at GATE’s Stress Reduction info at a local event, but were interrupted by R’s tantrum. Then, a 30 second encounter R had with one key volunteer showed immediate calming in her. R laughed and her mother cried.

GATE worked with R weekly after that day in one-on-one sessions until she was nearly two years old. R learned and practiced simple breathing techniques, hand movements and other in the moment methods of stress reduction and self-calming. Her interaction with siblings and other children improved. Plus, Mom and Dad were overjoyed.

Photos by Karolina Grabowska

Little R was spotted recently at a soccer game. Now school aged and not so little, she was teaching a teammate to self-calm. She was heard saying “You’re angry! Suck in – Blow out…” R demonstrated simple techniques she learned years before to her friend.

GATE is a small organization. Though initial impact seems small, it ripples out to others – one child at a time. That’s what we do. You help us manifest butterfly effects that change the world.

GATE’s second 5 years (2011-2015) –

You helped GATE freely comfort and educate hundreds through:

  • 1050+ blog posts published at Every Stitch A Prayer.
  • 100 comfort quilts distributed at guilds, Project Linus and by global direct delivery.
  • end of life and writer’s workshops lead at community libraries.

Testimonials from GATE’s second 5 Years – Comforting those who comfort others…

MANDY’S STORY – “Thank You GATE! I knew when I reached out to you that I was losing my cancer battle and would leave my husband with 3 small children. I had no idea the comfort you would provide my family. Not only did you send a perfect quilt for each of my kids but you included one for my hospital bed. I was able to hold each child, wrap them in a quilt made just for them and tell them that it was a hug from me whenever they needed it. Thank you so much.” – Mandy.

MARK’S STORY – “I do alot for my family. Plus, I volunteer here in town with other Vets. I rely on my wheelchair but getting around gets hard. My wife takes part in GATE’s online support groups every week. Then, I was overwhelmed to get a beautiful quilt mailed from you. It fits perfect on my lap and doesn’t drag when I move around. Sometimes when I feel drained, I look down and think of the work that went into it, just for little ol’ me. It gives me strength to keep going, keep helping out where I can. Thank you so very much for your kindness.” – Mark.

GATE’s third 5 years (2016-2020) –

Hundreds of amazing supporters like you help GATE succeed – volunteers, donors, sponsors, class participants, blog readers, group members, event attenders, and more.

Caregiver Support Program reaches 1300+ individuals via outreach and blog posts.

Tree Force volunteers witness devastation in 2017 as Bark Beetles ravage area Pine Trees sparking re-seed agenda.

GATE’s Learning & Edu-Care Project begins focusing on youth:
bringing Wilderness Skills to the very young, and
adding early STEM activities for more children.

Volunteer Story from GATE’s recent 5 Years – Each helpful drop ripples into waves of change…

Pat’s Story – Pat O., an avid local volunteer, is GATE’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year. He’s served for years with Rose and Garden Society, Heritage League and managing Pioneer Cemetery’s graves of the unknown well before helping us at GATE.

Pat came to our Earth Day clean up with a request. Not able to work that day, he wanted an area assigned so he could clean it up in his leisure time. GATE offered a site needing ongoing maintenance since wind carries trash across farmlands to this stand of wild trees. Pat jumped at the chance to take on and tackle the task.

Pat did amazing work clearing mounds of garbage and even revisits the area to check on upkeep. GATE greatly thanks Pat for his outstanding achievements serving community.

Elaine’s Testimonial – Living with chronic illness is challenging, but needing to care for others on top of that can be overwhelming at best. One key GATE volunteer offers help and healing online through one-on-one contact and support group outreach. A few years ago Elaine met our volunteer in a facebook group and started one-on-one support. She cares for ailing parents and her children while trying to find ways to care for herself.

Elaine received GATE’s caregiver support services during pandemic years and beyond. Recently, Elaine sent a note of thanks. She provided insight on what GATE services and support have meant to her and her family.

“You taught me so much and helped me appreciate life on life’s terms. Your gift to me is priceless. You helped me reexamine myself, so I can face each day with courage and with as much love in my heart that I can muster. (GATE’s support) taught me the value of forgiveness and the depth and love of family and friendship. Thank You. ” – Elaine.

As always, GATE volunteers do not do our work for thanks. We do it to help others heal and grow. We believe each person who can lift their head from pain and breathe an air of relief is then able to give back more to others and to our planet. Help us help others.

Season of Giving

This is it. ‘Tis the Season. What can you give that will be appreciated? Here are five suggestions for TRULY SHOWING YOU CARE. Gifts for every budget.

  • Give a HUG. Since COVID-19 mandated physical distancing, hugs have been hard to come by and so greatly needed.
  • Volunteer. Funds are challenged for so many, but time and effort is always welcome. Find a way to give back with virtual volunteering from your couch or in-person volunteering not just this season but every season.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
  • Give Thanks. A genuine thank you goes a very long way. Thank a neighbor, thank a friend, heck thank a stranger just because. Look for little things as well as big actions and be thankful for them.
  • Forgive. People acting out of fear and stress tend to hurt others. You may have been harmed emotionally, physically or in other ways. Can you forgive another? In this past few years of COVID-induced stress filled with agony and grief, conscious intention seems to have been thrown out the window for some. A bit of forgiveness can be truly healing.
  • Donate. Join our challenge of 50 for 5+/mo. Guardians Around The Earth will seed five native trees for every new monthly donor giving $5 or more who signs up by January 22, 2022. Sign up today by texting GATEGIVE to 44-321. Give in the name of another and honor that person with a generous contribution. THANK YOU!
Photo by Panos Sakalakis on Pexels.com

It’s gettin’ hot in here…

 Global warming is now irreversible. Human impact has pushed sea temps to its highest in over 100,000 years. Some homes and cities are underwater while others burn. This is a global crisis, bt each of us are part of the solution. Take action within your own home and neighborhood to spread the word and make a change. Read more on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and quotes from UN response:

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his reaction to this report, the solutions are clear: “Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all, if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage.”

IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai – “Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate.”

Click link below for UN article on the full report.


A 16-year-old child swims in the flooded area of Aberao village in Kiribati. The Pacific island is one of the countries worst affected by sea-level rise.