Healing Communities by Healing the Planet
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
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.
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.
For more information about Earth Day, visit the website http://www.earthday.org/
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!
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/
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:
Have a good week and keep recycling!