Air Pollution Control

In 1955, the very first Air Pollution Control Act was enacted by Congress. This Act was meant to be a means of conducting research and better understanding how the United States could better technical assistance pertaining to air pollution control. The federal government left individual states in charge of preventing and controlling air pollution. Unfortunately, all the federal government did was provide minimal information about air pollution and its effects and there were no penalties to massive polluters.

Since the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, there have been many improved Acts passed through Congress. Although with each new Act there are stricter policies, loopholes and minimized punishment remain.

Since 1970, the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, has been extremely successful in protecting the health of the people by regulating and setting standards to protect the air that we breathe, but with the numerous loopholes and light punishment, there is still much more to be accomplished. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, nearly 37 million children live in areas of low air quality and there are many pollution-associated illnesses on the rise. With pressure from big businesses pushing the EPA to lay off, it is of utter importance that we the people speak up. If there is to be change made, we need to rise against the big corporations and fight for the passing of the newest national campaign, the “Clean Air Promise”. For more information, check out http://www.nrdc.org

Earth Day 2014

April 22 is the international Earth day

Let’s all celebrate together!

When did it started?: 1970, in the USA, after a gradual and slow awareness of the increasing environmental damages due to modernization.

Founder: Gaylord Nelson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin at the time. The idea of having a day dedicated to increasing awareness to protecting the earth came to him after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

Below you can watch a short clip describing the series of events that took place for this day to be official.

Brief History of Earth Day

Earth day became global in 1990 and currently is celebrated in more than 192 countries.

What is the purpose of this day? To increase awareness of the need to protect the environment and its resources, to be active advocators of the rights of our planet, to seek solutions to current environmental problems, and to advocate for the use of green energy.

Our constant pursuit for technological progress and economic improvement are creating a negative impact on the health of the environment. However, there are possible ways to help reduce our carbon footprint, and still improve a country’s economic situation. Watch the following TED Talk about Greentech, a project that seeks the inclusion of big corporations into the green industry.

Salvation (and profit) in Greentech

 

For more information about Earth Day, visit the website http://www.earthday.org/

 

Recyclemania Results!

Hey guys! On March 28th we finished up our Recyclemania competition and the winner was Neighborhood 1! Neighborhood 1, which is made up of Seabury, Kettering, James, and Deep Green, finished the competition with 5.46 lbs of recycling per person! So what’s the prize for winning this fantastic competition? The satisfaction of helping the planet! That’s really the best prize there is. There’s also a free ice cream bar and laser tag session for all of the residents of Neighborhood 1, but that’s less exciting. However, if that sounds like fun, the even is on Friday, April 11th from 8-11pm. The ice cream bar is from 8pm to 9:30pm and serving the ice cream will be some of our great HEAL team members. In case you were wondering, here are the complete results from the competition:

Neighborhood 1 (Seabury, Kettering, James, Deep Green): 5.46lbs/person
Neighborhood 2 (Fairchild, Home Management House, Elizabeth Rogers): 4.97lbs.person
Neighborhood 5 (Blueridge, Kentucky, Talcott, Edwards): 4.05lbs/person
Neighborhood 4 (Pearsons, Dana): 2.60lbs/person
Neighborhood 3 (Danforth, Bingham): 1.41lbs/person
Eco-Village (not ranked in competition): 24.13lbs/person

With these results, Berea finished the competition with a campus wide total of 7.10lbs or recycled material per person, which is above and beyond our goal of 4lbs per person! As a result, we’ll be having a carnival on campus this month to celebrate! The time and place of this event have yet to be determined, but there will be a campus-wide email sent out when the details are set. So to wrap up, congrats everyone on doing such a great job during this competition and make sure you keep up the recycling!

Water Conservation

Why is conserving water so important?
Many believe that water conservation is a silly idea considering that over 70% of our Earth is covered in water.  Although this is true, only 1% of Earth’s water is actually fit for human use.  While our population is growing exponentially, our amount of available water is not.  In America, because many of us have access to running water at almost all times, which makes it is easy to take for granted.  Unfortunately, this is not a shared condition around the globe; just as all other resources, water is not distributed evenly.
What effect can you make?
With usable water growing in demand, the cost of water is increased.  The cost of water is increased not only because the increase in demand but also due to the additional energy manufacturers use to gather and package the additional water.  Decreasing the amount of water you consume can cause a cascade of events.  Most directly, you will save money on your water bill and you will reduce your carbon footprint. Indirectly, you will contribute to the restoration of rivers, which contributes to the restoration of plants and animals making up that ecosystem.  By increasing the size of populations of plants and animals, humans have access to more food.  As many of our rivers, such as the Colorado River, are too depleted to connect to the ocean, the contribution of many people saving just a little bit of water could reconstruct those connections which would lead to more water for people in countries where access to clean water is very low.  These last few effects may seem extravagant, but the point is, a little bit done by a lot of people can go a very long way.
How can you cut your water consumption?
There are many simple ways to decrease your water consumption.  Here are a few.
-Turn water off when brushing teeth/washing face.
-Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator so you don’t have to wait for the water to get cold.
-Only start your dishwasher/clothes washer when you have a full load.
-By keeping your grass a bit taller, the roots will be better shaded which will cause them to hold water
longer.
-Collect rainwater for your garden and lawn.
-Plant native species in your yard, they are better conditioned for particular weather stressors.
-Reuse your towels rather than using a new one every time.
-Cut on your shower time.
-Soak your dishes rather than scraping them under running water. ​

4th Annual Brushy Fork Community Clean Up

Hi Everyone! The annual Brushy Fork Community Clean up is coming up pretty soon. It will be held on Saturday, March 22nd at the Brushy Fork Park. This is our 4th Annual Cleanup and we would like to invite you to participate in our efforts to keep our city clean and our ecosystems healthy.
Overthe past three years, we have worked directly with the local community on this event and have gathered over 6,000 pounds of waste form all around Berea.
 Again, the Cleanup will be held on Saturday, March 22 at the Brushy Fork park. Registration will be held at 9:30 am. We will start cleaning at ten and will provide transportation to cleaning spots around town in addition to Brushy Fork. We will stop cleaning at 12 to enjoy a free lunch, activity booths, and live local music.
We will provide the gloves and safety vests, so just wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
We hope to see you out there!
HEAL Logo

Food Security in Appalachia

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Food security refers to an individual’s ability to consistently obtain enough food that is both affordable and healthy. The issue of food security is one of the most pressing and relevant problems that Appalachia faces today. Despite being home to one of the world’s most diverse and fertile ecosystems, Appalachia has a notable lack of local foods and other sustainable dining options. Compounding this problem is the fact that the region also suffers from inflated rates of unemployment and poverty, which means that most families are not able to afford the few healthy food options that are available.

The best way to combat this disadvantageous system is to create or strengthen a localized food economy. By encouraging the production of locally-grown food, jobs are created at the same time as healthier eating options are made available. A local food system also keeps money circulating in the region, rather than sending wealth away to other parts of the country. The result is not only a happier and healthier populace, but a thriving local ecosystem and an enhanced sense of community.

Fortunately, there is an ever-growing network of organizations which strive to implement this system nation-wide. One notable example from our own region is Grow Appalachia, a group created through a partnership between Berea College and John Paul Dejoria.

What sort of impact do they have? You may have trouble believing it:

“Last year, Grow Appalachia worked with over 25 partner sites in 39 counties with more than 1500 families and 50 community gardens. We were fortunate to feed 19,500 people growing over 1,151,000 pounds of food. We facilitated 100 jobs in central Appalachia through gardening projects with Grow Appalachia and our participants sold more than $54,000 in produce.”

That’s almost 20,000 people fed and well over a million pounds of food produced locally, all while creating hundreds of jobs and stimulating the local economy — all in one year!

Check out there website to learn more about this amazing organization: http://www.berea.edu/grow-appalachia/history-goals/

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Carbon Footprint

What is a Carbon Footprint? Who has a Carbon Footprint? How big is it? These are some basic questions for anyone who’s never heard the term before. A Carbon Footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses emitted due to the consumption of a particular group or individual. This includes the fuel emissions from your drive to work or class, but it also factors in emissions from production of goods and services you consume. For example, there is a carbon footprint associated with the production, harvest, and transportation of the food we eat. There’s also a carbon footprint associated with the production of the things we use, like our clothes, phones, computers, etc. Every individual has a carbon footprint, as do businesses, schools, and other groups/organizations.

There are many things that can affect the size of your carbon footprint. Eating local foods reduces your footprint as there are less gasses emitted during the transportation of your food. Conserving energy by turning off lights and appliances when not in use is another good way to reduce your carbon footprint. Any practice that conserves energy or other resources is good for reducing your Carbon Footprint.

There are many different online calculators for determining your personal Carbon Footprint. This website has a list of good calculators you can use:

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/stories/the-15-best-carbon-calculators

Have a good week and keep recycling!