Whether we live on a ranch or a farm, we need to be aware of the impacts that we have on nature. If all of the wide open spaces go away or become landfills, there will be less acreage for our horses and no open trails for us to ride on.
When we talk about “green,” a word that generally follows is “sustainability.” An often quoted definition for sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
But what does that mean, and how do we accomplish this? The answer can be very simple. Each of us has undoubtedly heard about “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” If you have school-aged kids, just ask them. To reduce, recycle, and reuse at the barn, here are seven simple and cost effective things you can do. For more ideas, simply pose the question to your boarders or students.
1. Place recycling bins throughout the barn area. Encourage the kids to use them. After all, your students and boarders are the future generation whose needs we are trying to protect.
2. Many riding stables have game days where ribbons are awarded. Undoubtedly you’ve amassed quite a few over your career. So why not use these old ribbons for your clients? Award them to your students and share with them how you won them. That will be special to the child and bring back great memories for you.
3. Give old blankets to a new home. There are many non-profit organizations in every community (rescue operations, therapeutic programs, and others) who would love your hand-me-downs.
4. Old horse shoes spend a lot of time in a land ill. With a little ingenuity and some welding skill, you can make wine racks, picture frames, paper towel holders, and so much more. Give them away as gifts, sell them at a flea market, or hand them out as awards. If you can’t weld, there are plenty of people who can.
5. The next time you need fill dirt or railroad ties, try craigslist.com first. Generally you can find someone who wants to get rid of something you want. Same thing goes for when you want to get rid of something; advertise it on craigslist. And there are other swap sites on the internet. Rest assured: your junk is someone else’s treasure.
6. Unplug your computer at night. Not only is that good for the environment, but you will save about $96 per year on your electric bill for every computer that you unplug. Same with your phone charger during the day. Don’t just disconnect your phone, unplug the charger at the same time.
7. Set lights on timers. That way you know they will always be turned off. So, when clients enter the barn, they can turn the dial to however long they think they will be there. The savings will be immediate.
And remember to communicate. Share with your clients what you are doing and why you’re doing it. Most will appreciate your efforts.