Monthly Archives: April 2012
On Tuesday, April 24th, Pennsylvania residents will once again have the chance to have their opinions heard through the voting process. For Republicans, it is a chance to express their support for Republican presidential candidates in the general primary. Pennsylvania is still a very important state in the elections as Romney, Gingrich, and Paul battle for supporters and for the nomination. Residents of the 134th District also have an important decision to make in a special election for the General Assembly. Republican Ryan McKenzie and Democrat Patrick Slattery will compete for the seat left vacant by former state Representative Doug Reichley. (For more information about voting in PA, visit: http://www.votespa.com/portal/server.pt/community/home/13514)
Though you may not be able to participate in the election on April 24 due to your party affiliation or your geographic location, it is still important to think ahead to the next time you have the chance to participate as an active citizen in the voting process. You can’t have your opinions represented unless you vote, and you can’t vote unless you’re registered. Remember, too, that the rules have changed so that voters will need a photo ID come this November.
Even if you can’t or don’t vote on April 24, educate yourself about the issues. Learn about what the candidates stand for, read Governor Corbett’s proposed budget and how it could impact you, and–most importantly– contact your local legislators. You can’t complain about the state of affairs unless you participate.
Earth Day first started on April 22, 1970 through the efforts of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Since that day over 30 years ago, the Earth Day movement has grown to become an international effort to protect the planet and appreciate the resources it provides. In other words, we are being called to be good stewards of our resources in order to have a sustainable future. Good stewardship doesn’t just mean celebrating the Earth once every year. It requires action every day of the year to appreciate the resources we have and protect them for future generations.
So what does this mean to you, the average citizen? Consider how much waste you throw out every day at lunch. That’s what Broughal Middle School students in Bethlehem did on March 21 with the help of Community Fellow, Christina DeSalva. As the students finished their lunches, they brought their trays to Christina and other volunteers to weigh their waste. The total amount of food waste weighed approximately 120 pounds! Imagine the impact we could have if we reduced the amount of waste we produced!
Good stewardship also means preserving the open space and farmland we have. Did you know that since 1950 Pennsylvania has lost farmland equal to the combined size of Connecticut and Rhode Island? The sprawling nature of development rapidly eats away at the farmland and open space we have. It is our responsibility to preserve these areas for sustainable food production and for our future generations. According to Greater Lehigh Valley Buy Fresh, Buy Local, “Lehigh Valley consumers spend $1.6 billion on food annually. If 10% of this were spent on locally-grown food, this would generate $160 million in income for our farmers and an extra $72 million to circulate in our community and create new jobs.” If we keep sprawling outward, what green spaces will be left and what resources will be around for our children and grandchildren?
Earth Day is a chance to educate our communities about our environment and what we can do to protect it. But these efforts should go far beyond April 22. Smart growth development sustains our natural resources while allowing for growth and revitalization in the core communities that already have the infrastructure in place. We need to protect our green spaces and preserve the resources we have for a more sustainable future.For more information about Earth Day activities in the Lehigh Valley, go to the Lehigh Valley Events Calendar at http://www.discoverlehighvalley.com/events/. Want to learn more about smart growth initiatives? Visit our website or contact us directly to get involved!