Do you Love Planet Earth? Recap of our event

Did you give the Earth a Valentine’s Day present? Relationships take work and need constant renewal. So, too, with our relationship with Earth. Most of us do lots of things to manifest our appreciation for Planet Earth. When was the last time you added something new, and what will be your next step?

On February 13 Valentine’s Day Eve, Miami Group Sierra Club members and others gathered at the Walnut Hills Community Center for the Love Planet Earth event. Attendees shared a sustainable food potluck dinner and discussed how to live more sustainably with a panel of local experts. The discussion covered food, waste, transportation, energy and water.

The food discussion was led by local grower and local food advocate Gary Dangel. He described how the Walnut Hills neighborhood is helping residents grow and access fresh healthy food despite many not having easy access to a supermarket. The discussion was a reminder that our food choices are among the most impactful decisions that we make every day, and was exemplified by the potluck, featuring delicious locally-sourced foods and dishes prepared with no fossil fuel use and no waste generation.

The waste discussion was led by Katrina from the Recycling and Reuse Hub. Reducing waste starts by being careful about what we buy, focusing on durable, long-lasting products with minimal packaging. Once we own “stuff,” how do we manage its end-of-life responsibly? The Recycling and Reuse Hub gives Cincinnatians the opportunity to recycle a wide range of materials not accepted in your curbside recycling carts. For the full list of materials, and when and where you can recycle them, visit the Hub’s website here.

The transportation discussion was led by Sierra Club staff member Nathan Alley. The greenest trip is the one not taken, and we can all travel less by teleconferencing and using video calls in place of live meetings. If you must go, walk or bike when possible, use transit as the next best option, and if you need a car, make it electric. With the passage of the transit referendum a few years ago, Cincinnati’s Metro service has made and continues to make significant improvements. If you haven’t tried the bus lately, give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

The energy discussion was led by Miami Group’s newest Executive Committee member, Larry Falkin. Items like furnaces, air conditioning systems, hot water heaters and major appliances last a long time, but eventually, they wear out. The replacement you select is important, because it will likely be in use for more than 10 years. Highly efficient equipment like heat pumps can save money and energy, and there are big government incentives available to make them more affordable. Likewise, switching appliances from natural gas to electric will save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and earn you incentives. Regardless of the equipment, we can all make lifestyle decisions that save energy, like setting back the thermostat, taking shorter showers (hot water uses a lot of energy), and washing clothes in cooler water.

The water discussion was led by Northern Kentucky University Professor Chris Curran. Each of us can reduce our water usage through actions like only flushing when necessary and installing native landscaping instead of things that need watering. We can help keep rivers and streams healthy by using less fertilizers and pesticides, and by not flushing old medicine down the toilet.

Sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Each person is starting in a different place and is subject to different constraints. The important thing is to identify your own next step and take it.

Love Planet Earth sustainability event
Attendees at Miami Group’s Love Planet Earth event shared a sustainable food potluck dinner.

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