By Khanh Banh, community advocate at Southland
There are many things to celebrate in May. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge and raise awareness of those living with mental health conditions to help reduce the stigma so many people experience. It serves as a reminder for us to find ways to take care of ourselves and support others with mental health needs. May is also Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Heritage Month, a monthlong celebration that recognizes the contributions and influence of AAPIs to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.
While there are many things to celebrate this month, what I enjoy most about May is heading outside to enjoy the warmer weather and do the things I love, including working in my garden and watching my vegetables and fruit grow. By tending to my garden, I am also tending to my mental health.
Although I love my garden, I know that California is facing a severe drought. And, since May is also Water Awareness month, finding ways to reduce my water usage and recycle water enables me to save water, save money, and do my part to help save California. And it is not hard!
Save Our Water, the statewide public awareness campaign, offers a simple yet impactful list of water saving tips that can easily be added to daily routines to make the most of your water usage while still getting the results you want. I encourage all of us to do our part by:
- . Using leftover water to give thirsty plants a drink prevents water from going down the drain while also taking care of your plants.
PLANTING LOW WATER USE TREES. Planting low water use trees in your yard provides shade to your outdoor landscaping and helps keep homes cooler. Consider planting water wise trees and plants around the home to save water and create a beautiful yardscape.
- . Some plants, areas and tasks need more water while others need less. With an adjustable nozzle, you are in control of your water usage.
- . Less time watering is more water saved. Instead of letting water flood your plants, use a timer. Your plants and your wallet will thank you!
Finally, before reaching for your hose, consider using a broom to clean outdoor spaces. Sweeping can clean your patio or driveway just as quickly and easily as water. Plus, this simple switch saves 6 gallons of water every minute—that’s 180 gallons of water saved every 30 minutes!
As we take care of our mental health this month and recognize other AAPIs in our community, let’s also do our part to make saving water a way of life. Visit SaveOurWater.com for more tips on how you can do your part and help preserve the California we love for future generations.