Why the Center is Important to You

11/22/08 by Staff Writer

The economy is very much on people’s minds today. Our thoughts turn negative when news of an erratic stock market tops the headlines day after day. But these economic hard times may actually help us. We may find ourselves rethinking and retooling the way we live – especially as it relates to our ecological footprint.

Simplifying our lives has many benefits: 1) Spiritually, it impacts the way we affect others on our planet through our patterns of consumption; 2) environmentally, it relates to how we steward the earth’s resources; 3) economically, it helps us reflect on how we satisfy our needs and how we can adjust our behavior to address the economic realities we face.

The Center can assist people in understanding those relationships and making those connections. For example, by simplifying our travel patterns, we can encourage our communities to become more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. If enough people decide to leave their cars in the driveway when it’s feasible, communities will be more inclined to consider alternative modes of transportation, which will lessen air pollution and bring us more summer days when the air is healthy.

Buying local, organic foods is another example that brings multiple benefits: 1) When we eat organically, we reduce the pesticides we ingest into our own bodies and those that are released into the environment; 2) buying from local farmers supports the local economy and helps keep our working farms in business; 3) buying locally reduces the amount of gas which is typically needed to ship vegetables from faraway places, lessening our dependence on oil and helping to mitigate air pollution caused by vehicles.

By connecting and recognizing businesses committed to environmentally sound practices, the Center can encourage them to continue those practices and others to follow suit. By offering workshops on gardening and canning, we can increase the numbers who choose to grow their own foods, save money and share with others. Raising awareness on this topic might even encourage community gardens, which favorably impact our sense of community, our pocketbooks, our health and the health of our environment.

We have been blessed with a community that supports this Center. More than 500 people were involved with the Center during this year alone – as volunteers, as participants, as donors. Our combined actions can have a profound effect on the quality of our own lives and on our understanding – and the understanding of others – about what is important in life.

We can be a catalyst that sets communities in this region onto a path that promotes physical, economic and environmental health.

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