Sustainability – preservation, protection, conservation, respect of our natural environment.

San Marcos Democrats believe we all should live sustainable lives but we don’t always have the tools we need.
With this page of our website, we hope to provide you with some tools, information, connections to help you reach the goal of a sustainable life and good stewardship of the Earth.

We also hope you will SHARE information through your comments on what works for you, what tools you use, what websites offer information, what is happening in your community. That information will be permanently added to this page. We need you to make it grow into THE PLACE to go for information.
It will take ALL OF US to stop and maybe even reverse the damage done to date!!!!

Bees are wonderful garden pollinators – Help them out!

As the climate is changing, the Planting Guides for types of plants that grow in your area are changing too! Here is the newest version. How much has your area changed?

Fight Mosquitos With Nature!!


Milkweed Sap!

Fireplant, Sticks on Fire, Any Euphorbia Plant!

Euphorbiaceae family of plants: Sticks On Fire, Firestick, Pencil Cactus, Pencil Tree have irritating and toxic sap!
Native to Africa, they are interesting, attractive, easy-care plants found throughout the are BUT the corrosive milky, white sap is quite toxic to people, dogs,cats, horses, and other living creatures, often causing severe irritation to skin, mucosa, and eyes upon contact.

The sap is one of the most irritating plant substances known and yet it is being planted as a great drought plant. It is found around school, playgrounds, and even city and county buildings!!!


Symptoms of Poisoning and How to Treat:

Any time you handle, bump, cut, or disturb it, you run the risk of coming in contact with the sap which can drip or even squirt to protect itself. It is produced in copious amounts and contains a toxic component known as diterpene ester. Even if you wear gardening gloves or clothing, OR if the sap is dry, you are not fully protected. And the fumes can be toxic as well, especially if it gets in your eyes.

This plant is classified by poison control centers as a chemical skin irritant. Contact with the eyes results in light sensitivity, redness, swollen eyelids, blurred vision, and even bleeding. Sap in your eyes can cause corneal damage and temporary blindness if not treated. Treat by immediately rinsing the eye and continue for 15 minutes, being careful to not let the water run over skin or into another eye. Then seek medical help!

Skin exposure can result in swelling, severe burning or itching, blisters and peeling skin. Sometimes skin exposure has a delayed reaction, so do not wait for symptoms to occur. Immediately rinse the area with COLD WATER being careful not to contaminate another part of your body. If your pet is exposed or ingests the plant, take pet to veterinarian immediately!

How to Avoid Contact:

The best was to avoid is to not have this plant in your yard. Next is to put up physical barriers to protect you, children, pets and visitors. When you need to prune, wear disposable gloves and eye protection, along with long pants and a long-sleeved shirt made of materials that are heavy enough to deflect the sap if it should get on you*. DO NOT RUB your eyes! Dispose of your cuttings in plastic bags in the trash so they are not a risk to sanitation workers – you might even mark the bag as Fireplant cuttings.

Whether or not you think you have common contact with the sap, play it safe and wash hands, forearms, face, and any other skin (or hair) that might have come in contact with the sap, and then take a cool shower. Using hot water will only spread the sap, making matters worse.

*Nursery personnel cutting Firesticks have been seeing wearing Googles, gloves, facemask, and Tyvek spray suit!


Environmental Organizations & Volunteer Opportunities




  • Speed and Scale by John Doerr
  • How to Prepare for Climate Change by David Pogue
  • Climate Justice by Mary Robinson
  • Upcycle by William McDonough & Michael Baungart
  • Diet for a Hot Planet by Anna Lappe
  • Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
  • Rebuilding Earth: Designing Ecoconscious Habits by Teresa Coady
  • Sustainability for the Rest of Us by John Pabon
  • Responsibility Revolution: How the next Generation of Businesses Will Win by Jeffrey Hollender & Bill Breen
  • Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan
  • Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher
  • Grow Food Free by Huw Richards
  • Quenching the Thirst: Sustainable Water Supply … by George Annandale
  • Nature’s Best Hope … Starts in Your Yard by Douglas W. Tallamy
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom … by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto by Adam Webach
  • Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy

Videos & Movies

  • DCEFF Online – ecological movies and festival
  • American River Films
  • – Best environmental films of 2022
  • Don’t Look Up – Netflixr
  • Black Fish
  • Honeyland
  • Cowspiracy
  • Inconvenient Truth
  • The Human Element
  • Racing Extinction

Companies and Products promoting sustainability

Look for Energy Efficient Hotels: The Marcel – A New Haven, Connecticut hotel is hoping to be the U.S.’s first net-zero hotel, meaning it generates enough renewable energy to cover its annual needs. The Marcel is part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton.

Sonos – making a commitment to sustainability and a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2040. Packaging with care, investing in biodiversity, innovating to save energy

SilverFit – promoting Plogging – Combining your fitness routine with a good deed may enhance your workout motivation in a big way. Plogging (picking up litter while you walk or jog) is a fun, easy way to do this.

King Arthur Baking – The Sustainable Baking Guides

Dog waste bags

Household Items

  • Reuse parchment paper when baking: King Arthur Baking
  • DIY everywhere
  • Refresh Glass – repurposing wine bottles in to glasses, vases and more
  • Induction Cooking
  • Tru Earth Laundry Sheets
  • wool dryer ball
  • laundry balls instead of detergent
  • biodegradable deli wax paper & sandwich bags
  • biodegradable paper towels & napkins
  • biodegradable toilet paper
  • multi-use sandwich and storage bags
  • biodegradable and compostable garbage bags
  • bamboo kitchen utensils
  • recycled glass glassware
  • reusable straws
  • reusable waxed clothes for wrapping foodstuffs
  • biodegradable dishwasher “detergent” and dish soap
  • biodegradable cleaning products
  • cloth tea towels, dish cloths, etc

Garden and Landscape

  • mulching and composting
    • improve you soil – one of the best detergents is soil rich in nitrogen, potassium, iodine, boron, phosphorus
  • drip irigation
  • neem oil and other phytotoxic essential oils
  • natural acids – vinegar, citric acid
  • diatomaceous earth for aphids, snails, ants, slugs, earwigs, beetles, whiteflies, squash bugs, fleas, ticks
  • lady bugs/beetles and praying mantis as friendly predators
  • everything you need to know about vermicomposting – did you know worm casings actively repel white flies, aphids, spider mites, and other pests that feed on plant tissue?
  • epsom salts for the garden – DIY everywhere
  • kitchen soap spray – 1 tablespoon liquid soap in 1 quart warm distilled water
  • catmint and alyssum near roses attracts ladybugs and lacewings to eat aphids
  • fight bad bugs with plants – marigolds, petunias, alliums, nasturtiums, chrysanthemum
  • Make your own “Round-up” – 2 cups of vinegar, a bit of dish soap and 1 tablespoon salt
  • corn gluten
  • herbicide soaps
  • bad garden bugs generally hate fresh herbs – parsley, fennel, lemon balm, coriander/cilantro, sage, dill
  • hand remove large gad garden bugs – don’t spray – caterpillars, tomato hornworms, potato beetles, slugs, etc.
    • Tip: wrap duct tape around one of your garden gloves, sticky-side ou; with cup of soapy water in one hand brush pests into water with duct taped hand!
  • Garlic spray – 10 clovers of garlic – puree them; combine with 1 quart water; let sit overnight; strain mixture with cheesecloth the next day and then mix with 1 cup vegetable oil and a shake of cayenne pepper; let sit again 1 day then dilute with 1 gallon water to 1/4 cup garlic solution; fill spray bottle and spray underside of leaves – reapply once a week or after rain and sprinkler. while not harmful to dogs and cats, will keep them away. And vampires and zombies!?!
  • iron-based and salt-basedherbicides

Grow these annuals to attact bees and other pollinators
Articles from The National Gardening Association:
Attract Butterflies with the Right Plants
Plant List for Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Bees
Butterfly Plants Especially For the North and West

Food Waste

  • freeze, dry and properly store leftover or excess food – just like grandma did!
  • reuse, repurpose leftover food scraps
  • recycle through EDCO’s new green bin curbside organic food waste recycling program
  • start your kitchen compost
  • buy only what you need – use stores offering bulk bins where you can purchase small amounts – remember to bring your own reusable bags

Crafting and Sewing

  • Repurpose clothing into crafting supplies
  • Upcycling crafts for children – upcycle my stuff

Leave a Reply