Jelier in the library holding her book.

FHC’s impact on the environment: how can we all do better? Q&As: Jaye Jelier

Jaye Beeler-Jelier is passionately educated on the environment and has also written her own book about the positive impact of buying foods locally, eating sustainably, and experiencing what homegrown foods Michigan has to offer. This book is entitled Tasting and Touring Michigan’s Homegrown Food.

1. What are extra things you do to help the environment?

“I always save any type of paper and I upcycle it to make greeting cards. I save any scrap of paper that I happen to come across, and a lot of the paper I save becomes Valentine’s Day cards, and we give those to the residents of Heather Hills. So, it’s a nice way to upcycle [something] and bring joy to other people. I [also] compost my kitchen scraps, and when I cook, I like to use whole foods.”

2. Why do you feel like doing your part for the environment is important?

“It feels right. I feel good when I take something that could be considered recycling or something to throw away, and I take it and make it something new and wonderful. Particularly greeting cards or holiday cards, it feels really good to recycle that into something lovely. I first started [to make these greeting cards] when my kids were little because they would have snow days and need crafts. [When we gave them to family], it would spread a little cheer with something we [recycled].”

3. What’s a pet peeve you have related to how others treat the environment?

“My one pet peeve would be [plastic] water bottles because we aren’t actually buying water from companies that sell water, we’re buying plastic. And then, when you’re done with that plastic water bottle, [we] have no idea how long it really takes for that plastic to dissolve, even if you recycle it.”

4. What’s something you want to personally improve on in the future?

“I do have thoughts about having a green lawn. I have a green lawn at my home and a green lawn at my cottage. I [am] weary about that because there’s not a lot of good that a green lawn does. If we were to plant more friendly, indigenous plants, I would like that better. We don’t use fertilizer on it; that’s the one thing we don’t do. But, if I could have a wish, I would definitely figure out something better [for my lawn].”

5. What is your favorite thing about the earth?

“It’s a big, wonderful place. I’d love to see more of it; I definitely love to see and explore wonderful places that seem like something you would find in a storybook. Going to places like Kangaroo Island and Tasmania, you see this whole environment built for this island, how precious it is, and how much we should preserve these places. I like small, wild, open places that I hope can stay small, wild, open places.”

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