Healing Communities by Healing the Planet
Hello Dear Readers!
This week’s theme is “Fracking”. Basically, this post has a nice educational video that gives an overview about fracking. The question that we have to think about is that an opportunity or a danger? Does it serve or ruin? Is there any other solution?
The point behind this post is that we need sometimes to pause our fast running life and pose questions about everything is happening around us. We have the right to choose our way of living based on our sources.
I will leave you to watch this video and always remember to question!
This week’s theme is re-using! There are lots of ways you can re-use items that you’d usually throw away. I’m a big fan of upcycling, especially when you’re using trash to make art. You can take old beverage cans and make hair pins out of them. You can also take broken computer and machine parts to make jewelry and other accessories. Another easy upcycling project is to take an old sweater or shirt and make it into a scarf. It’s really easy to take a something useless and turn it into something beautiful!
You don’t just have to make jewelry out of old items. Our tech club here at Berea has come up with a way to make camping stoves out of old soda cans. If you’re interested in one of these, you can contact the tech club to buy one or learn how to make your own. You can also use old milk jugs, cups, and bottles for storing seeds or planting starter plants before you transplant them into the earth.
The best part of re-using things is that the internet is full of ideas and tutorials on how to re-purpose just about anything. So next time you’re surfing the web, do a search or pop over to Pinterest to find some cool ideas on how to re-use some old items.
October is the international walking month where some countries- like the USA- celebrate it by encouraging students to walk to school every day. Walking can be a fun activity that anybody can do together with friends, family, or even alone when a person needs personal space.
Why is it important to walk? Well, currently the number of people who regularly exercise has dramatically diminished in comparison with previous decades, which is not only damaging our health by leading a sedentary life, but also harming the health of the environment for the increased use of vehicles to get to places we could go by walking.
Whenever you have the chance to walk, take it! You will be amazed at the magic your surroundings can transport to you. By walking you are able to see, feel, and understand your environment much better than by observing it from a car. Invite your friends to walk with you and enjoy the benefits that walking can provide you.
Walk, live, and have harmony with the environment.
Tomorrow is Food Day, a nationwide celebration of local food and part of the movement aimed at ensuring access to healthy and sustainable food options in every community.
There are many advantages in a localized food system that benefit each individual as well as the population as a whole. Local foods tend to be healthier than other alternatives, and are generally fresher than supermarket produce that must travel the length of the country before arriving in your store. Cutting out the lengthy shipping process also reduces carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion, which is important in the fight against climate change. Local foods tend to have little to no packaging, and therefore help decrease the waste associated with food consumption.
While these are all great benefits of local foods, perhaps the most compelling reason to buy local is because it causes noticeable improvements in the community as a whole. Supporting local farmers allows them to stay in business, which boosts the local economy and ensures greater food security. Buying local also helps build relationships to the farmers in your area, and thus create a wider sense of community. In addition, the more farms that are in business, the more land is secured for growing food and not for industrial purposes. This is important in cutting back pollution and resource consumption, as well as the larger fight against climate change.
In recognition of these benefits of a local food economy, HEAL will be joining Oxfam, SENS, and some local farmers outside of Food Service tomorrow for dinner. Dining Services will join us in grilling local meat outside, so be sure to stop by and learn more on your way to the line. We just got back from Powershift, where many of us learned new information on local food systems and we would love for you to be involved as we begin to work towards our local food goals.
Finally, don’t forget aobut the Food Drive happening this Saturday! The food collected today is literally the only thing that will feed hundreds of people this winter, right here in our own community. Join us at 8:00 am at Food service for a free meal, then head on over to the food bank with us to help make this happen!
See you out there!
The EcoChallenge is an annual online sustainable event, where participants challenge themselves to take sustainable actions from October 15th through October 30th. This is a fun event where people join teams and compete against each other to be more sustainable. In addition, participants and teams work under a point-based system, where for simple actions (such as joining a team, inviting people to join a team, posting the ecochallenges for the day) participants get points to enter a raffle to win prizes.
The great thing of the EcoChallenge is that people learn more about sustainability and about how their daily activities impact the environment, making them more aware of the need to reduce their energy consumption and trash as well as water water usage. Usually, participants continue with their sustainable actions after the EcoChallenge is over because they know that being more sustainable will not only benefit the environment, but will also improve their quality of life.
Isn’t it great to know that your sustainable actions influence your life by making it more quality-like? Some few examples include that you would decrease your energy and water bills because you would be spending less, you would be helping the local economy by consuming local food, the consumption of local food would provide healthier food to your table, you would enjoy nature, and so on. There are innumerable benefits of leading a sustainable life.
As part of our goal in the Berea College Team for the EcoChallenge 2013 we state: “As Berea College members, we are enforced with ethic and moral values to treat each other equally and respectfully; however, this goal is not only focus on human beings, but also on the environment. The goal of this team is to have a positive impact on climate change and to encourage our community to include sustainable practices in their daily lives.”
Do not miss the opportunity to make a change in your life by healing the environment through sustainable actions. Join the Berea College team at https://www.ecochallenge.org/list_of_participants/team/berea_college_506/ to make a positive change in your community.
By Erica Berejnoi
Hey guys! This week’s blog is all about Powershift 2013! So, what is Powershift?
Powershift is the largest youth climate conference in the country, with over 10,000 expected attendees. Held in Pittsburgh from October 18-21, it is a rally full of young activists gathered for a wide variety of workshops and speeches by distinguished keynote speakers such as Bill Mckibben and James Hansen. The purpose of the movement is to re-bolster the movement for clean, sustainable energy sources for the United States (as well as the world). The goal is to gather passionate students from all over the country and give them the knowledge and resources they need to return to their local community and begin taking the steps necessary to make real changes to our energy system.
However, Powershift is more than just an environmental movement; it is part of the global movement for equality and social justice. This year, Powershift has six main campaigns. This list will tell you more about each, and how to look into the issues further.
So, why does this information matter to you? HEAL has been working hard this year to organize Berea students to make it to Powershift, and we would love to have you along! Here are some key facts you should know:
As the sun begins to make a presence in our lives once again, I hope everyone is preparing their garden beds and have already begun planting or at least planning for it!
Speaking of planting, let’s talk a little bit about soil.
Along with seeds, and tools, we often spend quite a bit of money on commercial fertilizers and soils. Well, maybe that’s the case for you this year, but if you plan ahead, you can cut down significant costs on commercial fertilizers and soils and maximize the use of your food waste by starting a compost pile!
If you take a look at the chart above, you can see that not only is there a significant amount of organic wastes that are not being recycled, but that food waste has one of the lowest occurrences of being recycled. What does this mean? It means that most of our food waste is ending up in the landfills, along with toxic materials and not being used to their fullest potential.
Starting a compost pile is easy, and requires minimal upkeep and materials. Compost typically takes roughly 6 months to a year to fully decompose, depending on the size of the pile. However, what you will end up with is a nutrient rich soil that is of higher quality than what you typically find in the store.
Here is a link to a comprehensive guide of how to compost, although the guide is made specifically for Flagstaff, the concepts should apply universally: http://flagstaff.az.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/14147