Eco-Smart Travel: What You Should Know

 

QUICK LINKS FOR SAVVY “GREEN” TRAVELERS!

Avoid — Reduce — Offset

  1. Apply the “Avoid-Reduce-Offset approach: fly less frequently (AVOID), choose non-stop flights that have less take-offs and landings (REDUCE), and choose to purchase carbon offsets (OFFSET).
  2. Calculate your travel carbon footprint at Carbon Offsets.
  3. Select a carbon offset provider from a green-e certified partner.
  4. Click here for list of offset providers. (Note: while not an endorsement, Terrapass makes the carbon offset process easy!)
  5. Read article below to understand how airports, airlines and travelers impact our world.
  6. Congratulations! Feel GREAT about your decision to travel GREEN!

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With business and convention travel in full bloom and summer leisure travel on the horizon, airports are in full swing handling passengers traveling to all corners of the globe. Travel and tourism are BIG business — according to Deloitte, nearly $1.6 trillion of bookings occurred in 2017 and business travel is projected to grow 6 percent in 2018. With fierce competition among carriers, favorable exchange rates for U.S. travelers, and experiential-not-consumption-based mindsets prevailing, travel of all kinds is on the rise.

It’s no secret that flying is bad news for the environment. Global efforts are underway to reduce emissions, but as emerging economies become more affluent, more people will have the means to travel and GHG emissions will continue to increase.

Airports, airlines and travelers all play an important role in reducing these emissions.

 

Airports

According to the Sustainability Management Association, airports are putting themselves on a carbon diet, with many U.S. airports working toward carbon neutral growth in the next decade by improving operations, technology and utilizing sustainable alternative fuels and market-based reductions (carbon offsets, tax measures, etc.). The International Civil Aviation Organisation reports that CO2 aviation emissions are approximately 2 percent of global GHG emissions, but that CO2 emissions are expected to grow at 3 to 4 percent per year. Some experts say 2 percent is low because it doesn’t factor in pollutants in addition to CO2 that add to global warming.

The aviation industry has identified climate protection goals: the industry is committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and a 50 percent absolute reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 (2005 baseline). The Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Program, similar to LEED for buildings, sets the global standard for carbon management at airports and offers airports the opportunity to track their carbon footprint and make improvements toward achieving carbon neutrality and offset. There are currently 34 airports participating in the program.

(Source: AirportCarbonAccreditation.org — DFW)

Some airports are leading the charge. In 2016, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was first to host United Airlines as the first airline to have Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) incorporated into normal business operations. Today, SAF (biogas from feedstock from food production waste) is blended into all jet fuel supplied at LAX. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is achieving neutrality through 100 percent renewable energy from wind power and carbon offsets from Texas landfill and wastewater treatment plant methane capture projects. San Diego International Airport (SAN), in addition to their ACA carbon neutral/offset goals, is committed to net-zero for all new construction.

 

Airlines

There are 31.5 million flights/year by over 200 airlines. Green travel information is ubiquitous online and interpretations of the plethora of data can be overwhelming. Bottom line, most U.S. carriers are moving toward green technologies, sustainable fuels and carbon offsets with their fleets and operations. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and The Climate Registry work with airlines for tracking/reporting GHG emissions. American, United, Delta, Alaska, Hawaiian, JetBlue and others have green initiatives albeit some less robust than European carriers. For specific ratings, Atmosfair, a climate justice group, published an Airline Index in 2017 that ranks the efficiency points of an airline for short, medium and long distance flights.

Travelers

So what about eco-conscious travelers concerned about their carbon footprint as they jet off into the friendly skies? Consider buying carbon offsets to “offset” your carbon metric ton usage for your flight.

 

Only 5 percent of the world’s population flies. If you do, consider the “Avoid-Reduce-Offset” approach: fly less frequently (avoid), choose non-stop flights that have less take-offs and landings (reduce), and choose to purchase carbon offsets (offset). You can calculate your carbon footprint to help determine the cost of the offset needed based on your airline itinerary.

A Test Case…

To see how easy it is to locate and buy (or plan to buy) carbon offsets when booking a flight, three airline sites were visited: United, American, Alaska. The hypothetical excursion was a round trip from Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to San Francisco (SFO). United Airlines did not make purchasing carbon offsets easy; in fact, it was not evident where to find this information on their site. Ditto for American Airlines. While holding out hope for Alaska, a top-rated eco-airline… still, no luck. Locating where to buy offsets during the ticketing process proved futile. So research ensued.

First, using the Carbon Offsets site, calculating the carbon footprint for this flight was necessary and easy. Only this information was required: departure and arrival destinations, round trip or one-way, decision to select the high altitude option because higher altitude further increases effect on global warming. The carbon footprint for this flight is 1.12 metric tons or 3,251 lbs CO2e. Far more difficult was figuring out where to purchase offsets.

 

Important step!

Make certain the offsets are purchased from a green-e certified partner. Green-e certified carbon offsets and renewable energy “meet the most stringent environmental and consumer protection standards in North America.” A list of certified carbon offset providers is here. Still, not all providers make it easy, especially if you don’t know how much your offset should cost. Terrapass makes it easy! Terrapass offers personal carbon offsets at $5.95 per 1,000 lbs CO2e by helping support clean energy projects.  To offset the roundtrip flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco, a total of $16.22 of carbon offsets would need to be purchased. These carbon offset purchases help fund environmental projects domestically and/or internationally, and for the most part, the choice is yours.

Sustainable travel is grabbing traction in recent years, but it will take a global shift in accountability to bring green travel to the forefront of the average traveler. Airports and airlines are embracing change to varying degrees in support of the triple bottom line theory of “People, Planet, Profits.” Educating the typical traveler will take time as the idea of carbon offsets are mainstreamed into the airline ticketing process. But, it is possible at a relatively LOW cost, to offset your CO2e, today. If you fly, consider flying green!

Mary Connor, LEED Green Associate, is a principal at 21GO Communications, a multimedia marketing-communications firm and previously, founder of a Philadelphia-area association management company.

Thousands Attend Our Earth Festival

When we plan the annual Earth Festival, we thoughtfully work to create an event that includes something for everyone. Our 9th festival April 28th at historic Croft Farm focused on “Reduce Plastic – Fantastic!” We also included our popular plant swap, recycle depot dropoff, a rain barrel demonstration, plastic bottle-cap creature craft for children and so many other possibilities to welcome another sustainable feature to your home, school and business.

By all accounts, given the outstanding weather, this was the best-attended Earth Festival in our nine years of planning and hosting the event. Two stages of entertainment, the Phanatic, East Cougar and West Lion, our Plastic Bag ‘monster,’ and so much more created a happy, vibrant event all day.

We have been surveying our vendors, schools and groups as well as our generous sponsors to consider how we can make our 10th festival in 2019 even more engaging for South Jersey. You are always welcome to email us with your thoughts – EarthFest@sustainablecherryhill.org.

Enjoy this five-minute video recapping the Earth Festival.

Now, our list of ‘thank yous’ is so very important.

Presenting sponsors:

  • Lourdes Health System – LourdesCare of Cherry Hill – also our Gold Sustaining sponsors year-round
  • Ravitz Family Markets – our Silver Sustaining sponsors year-round
  • Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling

And we cannot present our Earth Festival without the tremendous support of:

Cherry Hill Township: Recreation Director Megan Brown, her team that includes Ericha Farrington and Matt Baer

Cherry Hill School District, Barb Wilson, communications manager and Superintendent Dr. Joe Meloche – all the student volunteers and display participants, moms, dads, teachers, Zone PTA, and performers from Rosa and Carusi Middle Schools.

Cherry Hill Police Department

Cherry Hill Fire Department

Public Works

Sustainable Cherry Hill supports education, scholarship and outreach to South Jersey communities and individuals year round.Thank you!

‘Reduce Plastic – Fantastic!’ at April 28th Earth Festival

Can you imagine how much single-use plastic is used in your home? The 9th Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival April 28th – in part – is designed to impress upon the 5000 visitors from across South Jersey to consider reducing plastic consumption.

Society has become focused on convenience. It can be a heavy lift to suggest that people not buy cases of plastic water and drink bottles. Many people are convinced tap water is ‘not good’ for you. There are filter systems and options to consider without buying cases of water bottles. And we can consider that for the most part, those drink bottles are not recyclable – forever; eventually, they end up in the waste stream. Have you heard about the plastic island of waste continuing to grow in the ocean? The festival is registered as part of the world-wide Earth Day Network; the network focus is on reducing plastic waste.

Details surrounding the Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival involve education and outreach.

Scan for Festival events- save paper!

It’s hoped that sponsors, vendors, non-profit groups, government and school displays consider the problems of single-use plastic. Ultimately, it’s hoped everyone participating at the festival will think more about how they can be part of the solution.

Bringing a reusable bottle for NJ American water refills and a coffee mug for Treehouse Cafe $2 local coffee helps reduce waste at the festival.

Beyond the focus on reducing plastic waste, South Jersey’s largest eco-event marking Earth Day takes place at historic Croft Farm in Cherry Hill. It’s an all-weather event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Health and wellness is part of sustainability. The Earth Festival includes LourdesCare’s free yoga session on the Croft Farm lawn at 8:30 a.m. (bring your mat) and 10:30 a.m. chair yoga on stage (bring your chair). Lourdes, Ravitz Family Markets and other displays also include nutrition and other wellness information.

The Family Fun Bike Ride has folks checking in starting at 8 a.m., getting bike safety checks from Erlton Bike Shop, and donning helmets for the two or nine-mile ride from Croft Farm and back in time for the 9:45 opening Earth Festival ceremony. Registration for the bike ride and waiver is here.

Here are just a few of the #SCHEarthFest events April 28th: Click HERE for event-day map/schedule)

  • Croft Farm parking can get tight: Bike valet parking is free!
  • Free bare-root tree seedlings are available while supply lasts.
  • Recycling Depot Dropoff:
    • gently worn shoes,
    • wire hangers
    • rechargeable batteries
    • plastic bags and bottle caps – which are not recyclable
    • gently-used books
  • Kiddie craft with your plastic bottle caps
  • Moon-bounce and more for kids
  • Thought-provoking school displays
  • Two-stages of entertainment
  • NEW – Sustainable Sips: two Flying Fish brews for purchase by visitors with ID
  • Lunch-time visit from the Phillie Phanatic + East Cougar and West Lion
  • Healthy food choices for purchase
  • Perennial plant-swap and gardening advice
  • Arts and crafts; bottle-cap creature craft for kiddies
  • Rain barrel and other demonstrations to reduce your carbon footprint

Generous sponsors include:

Presenting sponsors- Lourdes Health System, Ravitz Family Markets, Hutchinson Plumbing, Heating, Cooling (Hutchinson provides volunteer t-shirts)

Leadership sponsors: M Rosenblatt Roofing, Holman Enterprises

Evergreen sponsor: Sustainable Camden County

Leaf Sponsors: Wegman’s, NJ American Water, Renewal by Andersen, Kitchen Magic

In-Kind sponsors: My Gym, The Farmhouse

The 9th Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival is produced in partnership with the non-profit Sustainable Cherry Hill, Cherry Hill Township, and Cherry Hill School District.

Recap on Electric Vehicle Webinar, by Ed Cohen

Sustainable Jersey ran an EV (Electric Vehicle) webinar  “Opportunities for Adopting EVs in Municipal Fleets: A Primer” that gave a good overview of using non-combustion (primarily electric) fleet vehicles. Much of the information applies to both personal and fleet vehicles.
EV Smart Fleets has a free fleet procurement tool (a fancy EXCEL sheet) that can help anyone compare operating costs and emissions from different vehicles.  The tool has information from many cars preloaded, so you can easily compare various cars (combustion and electric).  The tool gives easy to understand comparisons of operating costs and pollution.
For similar sized vehicles, electric vehicles are currently slightly more expensive per mile (EVs have higher up-front costs but lower operating costs).  However, EVs qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit and no NJ sales tax.  Tax exempt municipalities can use accounting techniques (such as leasing) to gain these benefits.
For similar sized vehicles, electric vehicles create 50% less pollution to run today. That calculation is based on current electric power plants (i.e., much power is generated by fossil fuels). As our grids get more energy from renewable sources, the EVs will become even cleaner.
Battery prices (which make up half of vehicle costs) continue to drop and are expected to keep dropping through 2030.  In a few years, EVs will cost less than combustion engines since they have fewer moving parts.
Municipalities can help promote EV use by updating building ordinances to make charging stations easier to install.  If your town is pursuing Sustainable Jersey certification, actions and points available.
A couple of side notes:
ChargEVC is having a free seminar New Jersey’s Energy Future: Electric Vehicles on Thur Dec 14th 8am-10am.  Details available here.
I just bought an EV (Chevy Bolt) and love never having to wait at a gas station again!
Ed

7 Tips to Save Energy, by Uma Campbell

Many homeowners are making commitments to reduce their carbon footprints by choosing sustainable, green living alternatives when it comes to home ownership. With the fall season fast approaching, there is no better time of year than now to get started on achieving your goals for improved energy efficiency. Here are the top 7 ways in which you can improve the planet and also lower your energy costs this upcoming fall.

house

#1 Keep an Eye on Your Thermostat

Take control of how you warm your home by monitoring your thermostat’s usage. Lowering your thermostat while you are asleep or away from home can significantly save on your heating bill. Also consider purchasing a modern programmable or smart thermostat which can save users up to $150 per year in costs. These digital thermostats are more accurate when compared to regular thermostats and they can help to reduce energy consumption during peak hours.

#2 Replace Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are known to increase power usage, not to mention they burn out more often. Multiply the savings by changing all the bulbs in your home to energy-efficient options instead. Halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are all great choices for maximized efficiency when lighting the home. These bulbs require less energy consumption and they last much longer when compared to their incandescent counterparts.

#3 Add Weather Stripping

Drafty windows, interiors, basements, or attics can account for a substantial loss of airflow throughout the home. It is estimated that up to 40% of heating and cooling air loss can be blamed on unchecked drafts within the home. This is energy that you are still paying for. Weather stripping is a low-cost solution that can quickly pay for itself. Homeowners can even purchase these inexpensive materials from their local home improvement store for a quick and easy solution.

#4 Don’t Forget About Insulation

Make sure your walls and attic are well insulated. The right insulation levels can help to increase home energy-efficiency year-round. This is because insulation can slow the rate that heat flows out of the home when it’s cold outside and can ensure cool air remains indoors when it is warm outside.

insul

#5 Limit the Use of Space Heaters

When there is cooler weather a space heater can seem like a great way to stay warm. Conversely, space heaters are not very energy-efficient. The amount of energy consumed can be costly and they can actually increase your energy bill.

#6 Install Low-Flow Water Fixtures

Reduce water consumption by installing low-flow fixtures. The shower head, bathroom and kitchen sink faucets can all be replaced with low-flow products. These fixtures can actually reduce the amount of water used by up to 50%. Low-flow or low-flush toilets can also significantly reduce water consumption as well resulting in total savings of as much as $145 per year.

#7 Avoid Vampire Consumption

Many homeowners are unaware of the hidden costs caused by vampire consumption, or the use of electricity when devices are not in use. Such devices may include televisions, gaming systems, phone chargers, and other electronics that waste energy. Remember to power these devices down or unplug them altogether when they are not in use.

Being energy-efficient does not have to be difficult. Using these tips in conjunction with each other can improve home efficiency not only for this fall but also for the long-term. Simple changes around the house can have major, positive effects on the Earth and on your wallet.

Article contributed by Uma Campbell

 

Reusing, Recycling, Repurposing in Cherry Hill

Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose — Some Helpful Resources

by Mary Connor
Mary Connor blog

 

SCH pics

Make a Commitment to Take Your Efforts One Step Further

Aside from the weekly recycling-blue-can-to-the-curb, how much do we know about where to recycle consumer items? With the busy lives we lead, thinking beyond the weekly pick-up isn’t generally a priority, but perhaps it’s time to take things further and rethink what we can do to help our environment.

Why Is That Thing at the Curb?

A trip through my neighborhood on trash collection day is often times very discouraging. I see curbside discards that include everything from mattresses to coffee tables to sofas to lamps, and I think, “Where are the guys in those pickup trucks that scour the streets for items they can sell at used furniture stores or flea markets or wherever they wind up going?”

… Ahh, those lucky, rescued items have escaped the dreaded landfill (hopefully).

Friends of mine recently told me that they were remodeling their home and had purchased new furniture, but added that they were disappointed that they could not find a place that would take their old furniture. Having experienced a similar situation when preparing my mother’s house for sale, I was lucky enough to find an estate dealer who came in and bought all contents for a less-than-appealing lump sum — but, nonetheless it was all taken and none dumped, at least to my knowledge.

Hat’s Off to Cherry Hill for Leading the Charge!

Cherry Hill has a very robust recycling program. Guidelines are listed on the website for various materials handled by the township. The Department of Works collects appliances, metal items, automotive items, CFL bulbs and fluorescent lamps, rechargeable batteries and cell phones. In accordance with the State of New Jersey Electronics Waste Management Act (effective January 2011), electronics, TVs, computers, etc. cannot be placed curbside. “E-waste” can be taken to Cherry Hill’s recycling center at the DPW complex, 1 Perina Blvd. The Dept. of Public Works can answer specific questions — call 856-424-4422.

But, We All NEED to Do More!

However, not all items are recycled by Cherry Hill Township. So, who is out there to take these things and where can you find them? I did a little research and here are some resources to consider BEFORE you drag it to the curb. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s a tax deduction for you (see donation guides at Salvation Army and Goodwill links below.)

Free neighborhood programs — Facebook has two groups — Buy Nothing Cherry Hill (East), NJ and Buy Nothing Cherry Hill (West), NJ — you need to join this online group in order to post what you want to unload or what you’re looking to acquire. Items are FREE — no selling on this group site.

Habitat for Humanity – Burlco Restore — (free pick-up) sofas, recliners, living room tables, dining room sets, bookcases, bed frames, and more — items must be in relatively good shape.

Vietnam Vets – Schedule a Pickup – (free pick-up) — no large items such as furniture, but they take clothes, small furnishings, appliances, books, etc.

Goodwill Store — (take items to a donation site) clothing, housewares, electronics, furniture, including large items, and more — see Goodwill donation valuation guide.

The Salvation Army – (free pick-up) clothing, furniture (large items, in good condition), household goods, appliances, autos — see SA donation valuation guide.

Mom’s Organic Market – Recycling Center — these guys take the guess work out of what you can recycle (small scale). The store is located on Kings Highway in Cherry Hill. At the exit, you’ll see a well-marked recycling center, including bar wrappers, batteries, Brita filters, cell phones, compost, drink pouches, food squeeze pouches, glasses (eye), health and beauty packaging, natural cork, plastic, shoes, and snack bags. During their annual drive, Mom’s also collects holiday lights and denim. I’m going to make a bag for each one of these at home so I can take them to Mom’s!

moms recycling

Mom’s Recycling Center (image: C. Kaufman)

Recycling NJ — great resource for other types of items that can be recycled plus links to organizations that do the recycling. Some pay CASH!

 

Renovation Angel — for higher-end cabinetry and furniture, this non-profit group will come in and remove all existing cabinets, appliances and furniture (instead of a complete demo prior to remodel). You save on cost of demo and take a tax deduction. These second-hand items, which are in great condition, are then sold to consumers wanting quality at a discount at sister organization, Green Demolitions.

Terracycle — this is a comprehensive recycling program, which deserves its own blog post; more to come later. (From website) TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable.” Whether it’s coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste. We partner with individual collectors such as yourself, as well as major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities, and small businesses across 20 different countries. With your help, we are able to divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators each month.

Let’s challenge ourselves to recycle/reuse/repurpose more. Be proactive about rethinking the way we dispose of things. Afterall, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Byline:

Mary Connor, LEED Green Associate, is a principal at 21GO Communications, a multimedia marketing-communications firm.

 

The Last (?) Dance of the Butterflies, by David L. Steinberg

The (Last?) Dance of the Butterflies

By David L. Steinberg

This poem was created in reaction to an ABC News report I saw in 1985 and I was deeply moved by it.  For years, nothing happened other than the further destruction of the Monarch Butterfly habitat.  There was finally enough public outcry that the Government of Mexico responded to protect this area and the butterfly population was slowly coming back. Then, I read on the front page of the USA Today News 2/16/2017, this article:  OMG!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/sciencefair/2017/02/15/monarch-butterfly-mexico-storms/97945470/

This is one reason why sustainability touches all of us, not only for the beauty of the butterfly, but the pollination they provide for the propagation of seeds for the next generation of plants, many of which feeds us, others allow us to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Butterflies, bees, hundreds (thousands??) of species near extinction?  Why we don’t honor all forms of life, is beyond me. In the words of the cartoonist, Walt Kelly, who created the comic strip, POGO, ”We have met the enemy and it is us!”

butterfly-199115_1920

Flitter, flitter,

Flutter, flutter,

Leaf to leaf,

Flower to flower.  Evermore.

 

Day by day,

Week by week,

Month by month,

Season by season.

 

Since before Columbus,

Predating the Christ,

Or Moses or Abraham,

And, Yes, even Adam!

 

Since time began

They danced in the sky,

Uncounted millions,

An awesome spectacle!

 

Annual ritual,

Migration upon migration,

Northern climes when warm,

Then to Old Mexico in cold.

 

They went as silently

As they came,

Bothering no one,

Leaving no trace.

 

Unknown by any

But themselves,

Except their reunion

In that sacred grove.

 

Discovered accidentally,

Their ancient winter home,

After years of search,

By dedicated men.

 

The gentle ones came

To watch their habits,

And record their images,

Upon their film.

 

They did not disturb

Those dancing beauties,

Just to observe

And to record.

 

But others came,

And saw, too,

But what they sawed

Were the trees

 

That are the winter homes

Of these dancing butterflies.

They have gone north

For this year.

 

Those in charge said,

“Nothing can be done,

For we need timber

More than dancing butterflies.”

 

What will be there

When all the trees are gone?

The film of what once was

Since time began, but is no more?

 

Where do they return

If they have no home?

Dancing aimlessly.

Is this their last dance?

 

Flitter, flitter,

Flutter, flutter,

Leaf to leaf,

Flower to flower. Nevermore?

This poem was first published in “The Pink Cloud of Love,” a poetry book by David L. Steinberg. Copyright, May, 1985, Second Printing, August, 1989, Third Printing, May 2017.  All rights reserved under the laws of the United States.  Permission is granted to Sustainable Cherry Hill to reprint.

Your comments are welcome: steinberg.david07@comcast.net

Just Enough, by Mary Troost

Just Enough

Spring has sprung and birds are chirping. They call us as we open our windows and they remind us of the nests they take care of. They’ve been very busy gathering their twigs. The birds don’t have too much of anything. They seek what they need and gather just enough to make their home perfect.

I’m reminded of how my nest needs help! I have too much stuff in my nest!

sparrow on cherry tree branch
photo by Kathleen Bandaruk

So I’ve come to the conclusion that I have more than just enough. Yes, it’s time to pare down.  I long to be like the bird with just enough in her nest. I hope the birds will be proud of me because it’s time for a spring clean out and oh, how I long to sing in my clean nest!

What needs to be done to make my nest “just enough” ? Everything! Attic clean outs, closet clean outs, basement clean outs and garage clean outs! Well, this is too overwhelming…I need to fly from my nest!  

But then, the little bird sits at my window sill and reminds me that I don’t have to accomplish this all in one day. “Fear not” says the little bird. “Just take it day by day”.  And with my new friend’s advice I do just that.

Then, the stress begins to rise again as I realize I have no boxes or bags or bins to make this happen! I look to the window and my friend has taken off.  Despair sets in once again.  I have had “enough” and yet I haven’t even begun!

“Ok” –  I say to myself. “one day at a time and one step at a time”.  In a distance some birds were chirping and I wrote down some goals which really helped me. I took old medicine to the Municipal Building for the Medicine Drop. I took old batteries to the Cherry Hill Public Library. I took old tvs and computer monitors to the Woodcrest Shopping Center Goodwill (it’s a drop off location for that stuff). I took plastic bags back to the grocery store for recycling. I took and I took and I took, but yet there was still more stuff! The overwhelming feeling came over me again, but then I saw another very small bird while driving today. He was carrying the heaviest twig! It was twice his weight..maybe three times!  Poor little guy! How was he ever going to do it?  I slowed down and saw him take off with his twig. I figured if he could do it, so could I!

It makes me feel good to know that I’m at least not just throwing stuff away, but I’m finding a place for all of it. How lucky I am to live in this era where there is a place for almost all of this stuff. There are places to recycle and places to upcycle… places for toxic things and places for almost anything. There is so much to learn and so much to give! But if my friend can do it, so can I. I’ll be careful what I bring in to my home and I’ll be careful with what I buy…I will bring in,  just enough.

Resources:

Goodwill Drop Off: Woodcrest location takes TVs and computer Monitors (working and non)

Cherry Hill Library: takes batteries

Cherry Hill Municipal Building: takes unwanted medicine

Wegmans: takes plastic bags for recycling

 

 

maryprofileshot
Mary Troost is a guest blogger and was a vendor participant at this year’s Earth Festival. She invites you to visit her site: www.cherryhillyardsale.com where you can list items for sale, browse and shop locally, and find local Yard Sales, and Events.

Cherry Hill Yard Sale: Sell your stuff! www.cherryhillyardsale.com  Buy and Sell Marketplace for Cherry Hill, NJ and Local Surrounding Areas.

Agent for Change: Jeff Quattrone

Salem County resident Jeff Quattrone is this month’s Agent For Change feature. Jeff is the founder of the Library Seed Bank. He uses innovative ways to promote community sustainability and to preserve plant lines with unaltered genes.

 

SCH: What is a typical day as an “Agent for Change” like for you?

Jeff: A typical day involves checking my Twitter feed, planning and implementing something with the next step for my Library Seed Bank project, and watching the dynamics of the seed business. Some days there are giant leaps forward, some days an evaluation of what’s working and what’s not, and other days, a simple email to keep the process flowing. Being an agent for change is like being an artist. With anything creative, you should do something creative everyday to keep the process going, same thing with being an agent for change.

SCH: How did you get involved with Library Seed Bank?

Jeff: I started a blog where I wrote one story a day about someone or some organization that was doing something to change the world in a positive direction. I found myself coming back to environmental stories, and came across Slow Food USA’s Arc of Taste, a living catalog of threatened local food. About that time, the opportunity to start gardening again presented itself, so I started another blog about vanishing varieties of vegetables. I got a press pass to Slow Food International’s 2012 Salone de Gusto Terra Madre food conference in Turin, Italy, and that cemented my commitment to do more. Shortly after that, I saw seed libraries were coming into the mix, and I jumped on the opportunity to bring them to this area of southern New Jersey.

SCH: What are some of the biggest challenges or barriers that you’ve faced? How have you dealt with them?

Jeff: Anytime something new comes into fruition, you face a degree of resistance. Change is a big challenge for a lot of people. When you start to talk to them about sustainability, and in my case, a stranger talking about seeds and food, reaching people on the level they are comfortable with, is a challenge. Everyone has their own way of communicating, so I find being an intensive listener is the key.

Also, building something from the ground up with no local structure in place as a model is a very big challenge. Overall, I live my life like a story I write everyday. Challenges are plot twists, and I look at them as content in this story I’m writing. Sometimes they are dead ends, which is fine because they stop wasting time. Other times, they bring more depth to what I do. I like those times a whole lot better.

SCH: Dream Big! If you had no constraints, what would you like to see happen in five years?

Jeff: A regional heirloom seed bank with locally grown seeds that have genes which are adaptive to the local growing conditions. It would be stocked with locally bred varieties of vegetables, and there would be an Edible Seed Bank Garden.

SCH: It’s important an Agent for Change stay inspired too. Tell us about an experience you’ve had recently that really energized or moved you.

Jeff: I just started to tweet earnestly in April of this year. I was approached by an interesting and innovative British charity that focuses on environmental and sustainable fashion issues. They asked me if I’d bring a food waste festival to New Jersey known as the #pumpkinchallenge. Well, you challenge Jersey, and we rise up and take it. It’s our spirit and pride.

The #pumpkinchallenge is about looking at pumpkins as more than a Halloween decoration. In England, Halloween has grown exponentially over the last decade, and so has the tonnage of pumpkins that get wasted. Hubbub, the charity, staged a #pumpkinchallenge in 2014 in Oxford, England. It was quite successful, and they expanded it in 2015 to 15 locations in the UK, including London and Belfast. Our version, the Don’t Waste the Harvest Festival & Barn Dance will take place at Triple Oaks Nursery in Franklinville, NJ on October 17, 2015. The Jersey Corn Pickers, a blue grass/Americana band will close out the festival with a barn dance in the evening. We are one of two locations in America putting on a #pumpkinchallenge.

If at any point of my life before April you would’ve had said, “Jeff, you’re going to be asked to address the food waste issue with a cool and innovative British organization, and have a barn dance to cap it all off,” I’d tell you, you were crazy. It’s an honor, it’s humbling and it’s amazing to me that this came my way.

SCH: How have you connected with SCH in your Agent for Change role? What ideas do you have about how we might work together in the future?

Jeff: It’s a new and exciting connection for me. I live in Salem County, and I see potential to bridge the counties, including Gloucester County in some way. There are a lot of great people involved with SCH and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with them.

To learn more about visit: www.libraryseedbank.info

Jeff quattrone for website

Earth Festival – THE Place To Be!

Did you know that the first Earth Day was celebrated, April 22nd, 1970?  Today, some 46 years later, almost 1 billion people participate in Earth Day events and activities around the globe.

Coordinated by event planner extraordinaire, Brenda Jorett, Sustainable Cherry Hill, in partnership with the Township of Cherry Hill, will be hosting the 8th Annual Earth Festival next weekend.  With several dedicated individuals and help from the local schools, we will be hosting over 100 displays from vendors, school groups, sponsors and many other associations. This year’s theme is “Love Your Earth.”  Entertainment, food and even a visit from the famous team mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, will bring in thousands of people to the Croft Farm area.  The 8th Annual Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival also features a bike valet to encourage people to ride their bicycles to the event.  The festival has grown over the last several years from 20 tables in a school yard, to over 100 tables and displays this spring at the beautiful 3 acre facility of Croft Farm.  And with Brenda Jorett at the helm, I’m sure it will continue to grow and be a wonderful learning experience for all ages.

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She says it’s hard sometimes to keep up with what needs to be done to keep it a sustainable event, so we will depend on the environmentally conscious citizens of Cherry Hill to bring their own water bottles, carpool or bike to the event, and to keep trash to a minimum.  Speaking of trash, if you come, be sure to bring your hard-to-recycle materials for the recycling drop off.  Unfortunately, no tvs or computer monitors are accepted at this time, but feel free to bring rechargeable batteries, plastic bags, non-power hand tools, gently used shoes and used books to keep them out of the landfills.  There will be a plant swap, free compost, delicious food for sale, entertainment and much more throughout the day.  The Family Fun Bike Ride is another way to participate – if you’d like to register, please visit the website and enjoy a leisurely ride through the beautiful surrounding neighborhoods.

Free bike parking
Free bike parking

My personal hope is that the festival will be educational and inspiring; drawing adults and kids alike towards a common goal to help preserve our beautiful planet for future generations.  If you’re not in the area, I encourage you to attend your own local Earth Day festival and support the vendors and volunteers that work hard hosting celebrations like this.  Many towns and municipalities have events going on all month long, so consult your local newspaper’s schedule of events or check out the Earth Day events locator here on Earthday.org to find one close to you.  And if you’re nearby, please come visit me, Brenda and many other volunteers at south Jersey’s largest Eco Event, the 8th Annual Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival this April 29th.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017
Croft Farm, Cherry Hill
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – rain or shine