I want to bring up the prospect of native gardening.
If you haven't read Nature's Best Hope, I recommend you do so. It's a great book that can be summed up in this quote:
...humans now occupy or have seriously altered nearly all of the spaces outside our parks and preserves. Each of us carries an inherent responsibility to preserve the quality of earth's ecosystems. When we leave the responsibility to a few experts (none of whom hold political office), the rest of us remain largely ignorant of earth stewardship and how to practice it. The conservation of Earth's resources, including its living biological systems, must become part of the everyday culture of us all, worldwide.
Native planting has become an obsession for me. I have a very small yard that I have spent the last two years (trying) to turn into a native prairie (local to my area).
I don't use herbicides or pesticides on my lawn. This year was the first year that wildflowers started to pop up along with all of the invasive. I've seen 10 monarchs already this year (after seeing none any previous years). My lawn is filled with birds eating the bugs in my poison-free yard. We've even had frogs and rabbits, something I've NEVER seen in my suburban neighborhood.
Every day during spring I rush outside. Unlike traditional gardens, native gardens change drastically every season as well as every year.
If you live somewhere like I do, the native plants and animals have lost almost every space that have left. My eco region is extremely small and narrow, and it's been almost completely replaced by urban sprawl.
Native plants host the very unique needs of the animals who depend on your ecoregion to survive. Whether that's birds or butterflies that are migrating and searching for food, reproducing, or trying to find shelter--all of that is largely dependent on giving them the native plants that they have evolved with over hundreds of years that have now been replaced.
It has been amazing learning about the natural history and plants and animals that make up my area. I have learned that there are less native prairies that there are rainforests, despite the ecological benefit being just as important.
The amount of life I have seen grown from what was once a half-dead lawn is amazing. I truly feel like I am making a difference. Yes it's small, but when you see all of the various forms of life that are making home in their natural space, it feels amazing.