By Molly Butler

The other day Noah came home and spotted my latest project on the kitchen counter; a jug full of water and banana peels. “What is that?” he asked, disgusted. To be fair, it looks a bit like a yellow octopus started to melt. “Don’t worry. It’s for the plants!” I’d read that low-nitrogen banana peel fertilizer is beneficial to tomatoes, peppers and flowers and thought it was worth a try. “Have you ever noticed that a lot of your eco-experiments are…kind of disgusting?”

We laughed, but he had a point. There’s that compost-salad in the freezer waiting to go out to the pile, a disturbing little jar full of cat-hair for birds to take from the feeder to make their nests, a bin of worms in the basement and my DIY body scrubs made with coffee-grounds that look, literally, like sh*t. Trying to be eco-friendly isn’t always the clean, green, glamorous lifestyle Instagram likes to make it seem. It’s Earth Day, and I want to talk about the dirty work.

We live in a sanitized and plastic-wrapped reality. Trash goes into bins and onto trucks, and then poof, it disappears. Plucked, bloodless, boneless meat waits, pre-pattied and plastic-wrapped on the grocery shelf. Mold, dust, weeds, they can all be solved with the spray of a bottle. We rarely see the rest of the picture. But sometimes, you get a peek behind the curtain. Highway ditches are full of litter. The stink of something rotten. An infographic explaining just how much plastic you’re unknowingly eating in a year. Behind all these quick, easy, clean and tidy solutions, there is a whole lot of dirty work we don’t usually want to look at.

The earth is doing a lot of our dirty work, and we can’t keep expecting her to keep up without our help.

I think a lot of us assume mother nature can handle the dirty work. She sure does a good job, sending birds and coyotes to take care of roadkill, bacteria to decompose our wasted produce, maggots and flies, plants to filter out our poisoned water. But we create more work than the world can possibly keep up with. The earth is doing a lot of our dirty work, and we can’t keep expecting her to keep up without our help.

On the flip side, for those who choose to see the other side of our waste, the picture is overwhelming. When we look at our own lives and choices, it’s hard to think that we can make any difference. You’re on a walk and see a plastic bottle on the ground. You’d have to carry it around quite a while before you found somewhere to dispose of it, and you’re wondering, “Does it even matter?” I’ll admit, more than a few times, I just kept walking.

If you’re out to save the world, you’re likely to realize that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t be perfect, and with that mindset, you’re going to crash and burn out. If you’re just trying to give yourself a warm fuzzy good deed feeling to post on your social media, you’ll get bored quickly. But if you see that small decision as a gift you’re giving, to the earth, to every living being, to yourself, if you see the all in one, one in all, if you believe that by mattering to something it matters to everything, you’re a little more likely to pick up a piece of that dirty work and say, “This matters.”

Let’s make it a beautiful weekend. Roll up your sleeves, get a little dirty, and celebrate Earth Day, today and every day.

Friday

Ready, set, shop! It’s Mom’s Night at Bumbelou! They’re open late from 5-7 p.m. with $10 gift card givebacks and an extra 5% off for Mom’s Bag holders! Ashley and Jenna will be hanging out and cranking some tunes, so make sure to stop by for these rare deals! Plus, Wild Sparrow Co. will have their Succulent Market open all weekend at their location on Riverfront Drive in Mankato.

The North Mankato Taylor Library’s Tween/Teen DIY activity will be Earth Day Seed Bombs! This FREE kit can be picked up until April 24, with registration available online or by stopping by or calling the library.

Then make sure to catch some live music around town! Gold Star will be at the Wow!Zone beginning at 6 p.m., and Another Time Around will take the stage at Indian Island Winery from 6-8:30 p.m. Buster’s Sports Bar and Grill in Mankato will host IV Play beginning at 8 p.m, or you can catch some fusion of jazz and modern pop with the Virtual Live At the Grand, featuring the Hannah Bretx quintet, starting at 7 p.m.

Saturday

Get out and get moving! The Shoreland Country Club in Saint Peter will host an 8” Cup 4 Person Scramble! Cost is $30 for members, $45 for non-members, and the price includes golf, range and prizes! Call them at 507-931-3470 to sign up. Game on Nutrition will celebrate their Grand Opening this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Enjoy some snacks and energy Jell-O shots. There will be a drawing as well, so be sure to swing by and get your name in. The Westwood Marina Bar and Grill on Lake Washington will host a Dock and Lift show from 2-7 p.m., with the Jeremy Poland Band performing from 2:30-5:30 p.m.

Don’t miss live music from around the area. The Mankato Brewery will host Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Tony Williams, performing from 5-8 p.m. The Loose Moose Saloon in Mankato will have Dan Duffy and his Orchestra from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and Family Tradition will perform country hits at the Indian Island Winery in Janesville.

Sunday

Hope you’re hungry! The New Creation World Outreach Church in North Mankato will host a $7 pancake fundraiser breakfast, with proceeds going to support their Mexico Mission Team working at an orphanage in Mexico. Breakfast is served starting at 10:30 a.m. Ages 5 and under eat free. Then, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New Ulm will host a Super Sausage Supper this Sunday (say that ten times fast). Meals are $12 for Pre-Order/Pre-Pay/Pick Up Sales.

Vagabond Village will host a self-defense class from 4-6 p.m. This discussion and training are $10 to the public, free to members.

Finally, you can enjoy music from the Bethany Lutheran College Jazz Band this Sunday and Monday. Concerts will take place outside between the chapel and library. Seating is limited so register now.

Bonus

We love local stories, especially when they’re eco-friendly! If you, someone you know, or an area organization is taking steps to protect the planet and make the world a better place, we want to hear about it! Submit a story, and it may be featured or included in a future Green Earth column!

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Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.

Author

  • Molly Butler

    is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.

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