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3 simple steps toward a greener and more sustainable Lehigh Valley

Green roof on Mountain Equipment Coop's building in Toronto, Canada is a sustainable design.
Green roof on Mountain Equipment Coop's building in Toronto, Canada is a sustainable design.
photo: Sookie (www.flickr.com)
 
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There are 3 simple steps any citizen can take towards creating a financially stronger and more ecologically-friendly community.   These are just the first steps you can take in a larger journey: 

1.  Buy from your local independent businesses (farmers' markets included), especially if they sell and promote Eco-friendly wares or services.

*Not only are you fueling your community with monetary vitality, but you are supporting sustainable trades.  Having local production of non-toxic goods creates job opportunities, lowers carbon emissions by shortening truck routes, and lowers the costs of goods by reducing transportation costs, among other things.  A great resource for finding your local sustainable businesses like Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery , which is located in Orefield, is the SBNLV Sustainable Business Network of the Greater Lehigh Valley.

2.  Recycle, reuse, and reduce waste in your household and business.

*This saves money and reduces what goes to the dump.  Donating reusable items is another great waste reducer.  If you're familiar with NIMBY, the "not-in-my-back-yard" protest to the creation of dumps in a targeted community, then you know the importance of reducing waste and avoiding a country filled with landfills.  This step helps every community, not just yours, in keeping those existing landfills small and maybe preventing the creation of many more.  

3.  Go organic when buying or gardening.

*Buying organic produce, especially produce from local farmers, not only improves your family's health, but it helps support farmers who have adopted a more sustainable way of growing their crops which preserves the ecosystems near those farms.  Likewise, residential gardening without the nasty, health-threatening, chemicals that are stocked in the "garden" section of the average department store will make your yard a safer place for humans, pets, and beneficial insects. 

**Though you may have to do some research, there are a variety of safe products available to help you preserve your crops without polluting your community and killing the wildlife indiscriminately.  For more tips on controlling garden pests organically, check out GardensAlive, a great retailer magazine, and  gardens.com on the web.  They both have a host of helpful hints and products for gardening with a conscience. There is concern over the use of Copper in agricultural applications as it persists in the environment and can harm humans and wildlife.  For small-scale and infrequent applications, copper fungicides may not be as harmful, but gardeners should still be cautious when handling and spraying it.  Check the ingredients of sprays and powders before purchasing and ask the retailer about the risks of using their products.


Start taking some steps today, the sooner the better for this economy and the environment, and before you know it you'll be ready to do more and transform more than just your community.  Thanks for your time and stay posted for more tips and information on sustainability, ethics, and your environment.

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