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Children Welcome: Louisville Earth Walk Nature Play Area

The 2018 Louisville Earth Walk will be fun for the whole family, but there is a special place for children and their parents at the LEW- the Children’s Nature Play area. Hosted by the Nature Rich Alliance of Louisville, the space will provide an opportunity for children to reduce their NDD, or Nature Deficit Disorder. Richard Louv coined the phase Nature Deficit Disorder in his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods.” He argues that all of us, especially children, are spending more time indoors, which can make us feel alienated from nature. Spending less time outdoors can also make us vulnerable to negative mood and more distractible.

Studies show that children greatly benefit when allowed to play in natural settings. There are emotional benefits to outdoor play such as reduced stress and anxiety while simultaneously an increase in concentration and feelings of self-worth. Nature play offers intellectual benefits as well. The out of doors is a learning laboratory where children can explore, hypothesize, investigate, and gain first hand knowledge about the workings of the natural world. Climbing trees, stomping in puddles, and running up hills are just a few of the invigorating activities that children can engage in. The physical benefits to outdoor play help build strong bodies and burn calories leading to improved overall health.

Our children are the future stewards of the planet. The Nature Deficit Disorder may make it difficult to foster future environmentalist. How can our future leaders care and protect something they don’t know? It would seem that encouraging children to play in nature not only benefits them but future generations as well. Join us on Saturday morning April 21, 2018 for the Louisville Earth Walk and appreciate the value of child’s play!

Choosewell

Earth day: A Blast from the past

Earth Day has always held a special place in my heart. When I had an opportunity to represent the Greater Louisville Sierra Club on the  planning committee for Louisville’s Earth Walk event, I didn’t hesitate to join.

My most powerful memory of  Earth day was April 22, 1970, the very first one. My high school in  Vandalia, Ohio created a meaningful celebration that molded my thinking about the environment for the rest of my life. Some visionary students, along with very supportive faculty, developed a powerful and informative day long event. The purpose of the day was to show the evils of pollution and students’ concern over this problem. This included student made films, speeches, and huge display of trash on the school property.  One skit showed what life would look like in 1990 if people didn’t heed the warnings. A highlight of the day was a funeral march past the city building and through the center of town to symbolize how the environment was dying.

Many of the things we take for granted today, e.g., clean drinking water, and breathable air, would not have been possible without the environmental activism of the 70’s. Prior to Earth Day and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, rivers were literally on fire, air pollution/smog was affecting the health of people in large U.S. urban areas, and  we were unaware of hazardous waste sites that eventually became Superfund sites thanks to the EPA.

The information that was presented to us that day,  especially how our personal choices/ lifestyle directly impacts the environment, had a profound effect on me. As a consumer, I make purchases with awareness of how products and packaging will affect the environment. As a mother and teacher, I have tried to instill a passion within children about sustainability and how to appreciate and protect the earth.  As a tax payer and voter, and I make choices based on environmental issues.  I support organizations that advocate for a healthier planet, such as the Sierra Club.  My ultimate hope is that the Louisville Earth Walk will also touch some young lives the way the first Earth Day touched mine!

Listenin’ for Answers (blowing in the wind)

I spend a lot of my time dreaming up songs, and it’s common for the groove, the melody, and sometimes the lyrics to depend on my surroundings at the creation time. It could be a muddled phrase heard through a wall or the feeling of calm beneath a healthy tree canopy in Cherokee Park that spurs the feeling from which a new melody or thought comes to life. This is one way that the earth and its environment can inspire creation, for me, and a large part of my motivation to conserve and preserve it.

My band, Bendigo Fletcher, is lucky to share the Iroquois Amphitheatre stage with a beloved Louisville folk duo such as the Troubadours of Divine Bliss. I don’t yet know Renee and Aim Me yet (I’m looking forward to meeting them on April 21st!), but from their music I get the sense that we, as writers, share a similar inspiration in nature. Their ‘roots’ oriented instrumentation complements their sincerity in lyrics that, like each revolving breath, deliver hope for soul redemption and the constant renewal of perspective. From the lyrical beginning of one of their songs  ‘Awakening to Love,” an honest reckoning with a battered spirit calls us to pay attention to our damages: “All these rooms in my Soul I’m so afraid to go behind the walls- secrets, scars and shadows.” Turning away from pain and damage sometimes presents itself to us as the easy road to recovery–every person with hope for a healthy environment knows that it can be difficult to call others to recognize the earth’s suffering, for one. The Troubadours seek restoration and rebirth when they go on to proclaim, “I will no longer feel this pain no longer be restrained Wild-eyed Innocence- let my Soul be born again.”

I am excited to meet the women behind such positive messages, and I’m excited for this year’s Earth Walk to be a strong symbolic and physical union of the Louisville community and the earth. This is our opportunity, as a unit, to show appreciation for the present environment and enthusiasm for a healthier one. I’m called to think about our city’s spaces and events that enrich and enliven our community, like WFPK’s Waterfront Wednesday, which sound the best across from a clear sunset over the Ohio, or free Shakespeare amid the towering maples and oaks in Central Park. I’m hoping to be overwhelmed by the amount of fellow music freaks and theater geeks at Iroquois Park on the Earth Day.

LEW2018 Social 0320 More

Bring Your Team to the Earth Walk!

Want to join us at the Earth Walk? Multiply your fun by being part of a team! We’ve made it easy for you to walk by yourself or to bring a whole team to the event and save on your registration fees!

2MKUSA3Walking has many benefits, and walking in a team or group is a great way to inspire and support, socialize and motivate you in your walking goals. Walking in teams also improves your safety. And of course, walking on a regular basis can offer many health benefits such as boosting your energy level, improving oxygen flow and strengthening your heart. Most importantly, it can reduce everyday stress.

There are many ways you can think about how to recruit your teams. Try recruiting people from your office, the online communities you may engage in, faith communities, or maybe just friends & family…these are all great resources for recruiting an effective team for your walking routine.

When you recruit your team, be mindful of the group’s collective activity level and stamina. People will tend to walk at the intensity level of the majority of the group. So a slow walker will try to walk faster to keep up, or a fast walker may slow down in order to stay with the pack. But either way, it’s always fun to share a great day out in the sun and take advantage of fresh air and exercise!

Signing up for the Louisville Earthwalk? It “pays” to look for a team created for your favorite organization or group. Individual registrations are $15, but group registrations are only $10! Just go to LouisvilleEarthWalk.organd register now!

Just go through these steps to register your team:

  • click Eventbright Link
  • then click on Tickets and select the Team option
  • type your organization namein the box
  • one or more options will appear in a dropbox
  • click on the namein the dropbox
  • then follow the rest of the steps to register

See you on Saturday, April 21 at 9:00am at Iroquois Park Amphitheater!!

It Has Been A Blast

LEW2018 ItsBeen BlogRepresenting Cultivating Connections at Earth Walk planning meetings has been a real pleasure. It has been a great opportunity to get to know some wonderful new folks and to hang with some old friends. The planning team is a talented group of representatives from fifteen of Louisville’s most dedicated, environmentally-focused organizations, many of which I’m already engaged with in some manner.  For example, I’ve attended numerous programs at Passionist Earth and Spirit Center; been a KFTC member for decades; consulted with Louisville Nature Center; volunteered with Project Warm; supported and partnered with Greater Louisville Sierra Club and 350 Louisville; AND I worked for three years at Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light (KIPL)

Having us all together in the same room, focused on one particular project, has been both unique and fun.  It doesn’t hurt at all that Tim Darst (KIPL) runs a highly efficient meeting and that the group tends to stay on task. And it certainly helps that everyone is taking on some part of that ridiculously long list of tasks necessary to pull off an event of this scope, thereby making each of our loads sustainable.  There is also a spirit of camaraderie, appreciation and humor that helps keep it all enjoyable.

I think it is fair to say that the shared sense of responsibility and action exemplified by the Louisville Earth Walk organizing partners mirrors the very approach we must all take (and which Earth Walk supports) if we are to create the healthy and sustainable city we all want for ourselves and future generations. 

As this year’s planning begins to come to a close, I’m thankful for this opportunity as well as for each of these power organizations and their representatives: it has been a blast.

The Earth Walk organizing partners are: 350 Louisville, Cultivating Connections, The Food Literacy Project, Greater Louisville Sierra Club, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Kentucky Conservation Committee, Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Louisville Climate Action Network, Louisville Grows, Louisville Nature Center, Louisville Sustainability Council, Passionist Earth & Spirit Center, Project Warm, and West Jefferson County Community Task Force.

 

Join us for the EarthWalk on April 21, 2018

There are a lot of issues related to public health and the environment that have become politicized, but the reality is that many citizens and corporations understand the connections between our health, the environment and clean air and water. It’s simply common sense.

Renewable energy, clean air, clean water, and caring for our planet and the health of our Commonwealth should be a universal matter of public interest.

There are the everyday activities we all do at home. Most citizens understand the need to recycle and the benefits of purchasing energy efficient appliances to make the best use of our resources and save our cash. These are the steps that are within reach for most citizens.

And for those who wonder about climate change, they can see, regardless of ideology, that our city needs to prepare and plan ahead for changes in the weather and how that affects our quality of life. A study of water resources in 13 states in the Ohio River basin forecasts potentially devastating economic and environmental impacts from flooding. Something that Louisville has already been experiencing.

Louisville has also been experiencing a transformation in many ways to a cleaner, more sustainable future. Many homeowners and businesses have learned the benefits of installing clean solar energy, such as the recent installation at Oxmoor Center Mall. And citizens also recognize where progress must be made, such as improving air quality in Rubbertown.

These are some of the many reasons we made the decision to give citizens the opportunity to show their support and raise awareness to these issues through the Louisville EarthWalk. There are dozens of civic groups who are working hard to protect the health and environment of Louisville citizens in many different ways, and we hope you can take the time during this year’s event to get to know their work.

In the meantime, we hope you will take the opportunity to build your walking teams, and join us on April 21, 2018, to show your support for making Louisville a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable place to live.

 

 

 

Every Day is Earth Day

earth_day_-_earth_from_space.jpg
NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. Image by Reto Stöckli

 

In the late 1960’s, the environment was in dire straits after decades of abuse and assault. Our waterways were so polluted that the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire as a matter of routine. Leaded gasoline was the primary fuel used in automobiles, contaminating our atmosphere with lead tainted exhaust. Lack of regulation and enforcement on solid waste led to the creation of super toxic landfills that leached poisons into ground water and aquifers.
The ‘60s had been a decade of activism. Citizens marched in protest of the Vietnam War, in support of women’s equality, and to demand civil rights for all. This engagement lent its enthusiasm to a budding environmental awareness. People were waking up to the degradation of clean air and clean water in the name of economic growth. The spoiling of nature’s beauty seemed too high a price to pay for progress.
Awareness and concern coalesced into the environmental movement and on April 22, 1970 Earth Day was born. The idea of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day was created to highlight lack of governmental responses to a massive oil spill and subsequent environmental plunder of sensitive coastal areas of California. The support of Earth Day 1.0 was nation-wide with more than 20 million people participating in marches, rallies, and protests.  Elected officials took note of the growing concern for the environment and worked to pass major legislation including the Clean Air Act (1970), Clean Water Act (1972), and creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency (1970.)
As Earth Day 2017 approaches, the protections that the first Earth Day help bring about are in serious danger of being defunded, significantly weakened, and completely dismantled. The budget for the EPA has been drastically cut by the current administration. Coal companies are now allowed to dump over fill in streams, contaminating peoples’ drinking water with arsenic and other toxins.
You can show your support for our Mother Earth and Earth Day by participating in the 2018 Louisville Earth Walk on April 21, 2018 at the Iroquois Amphitheater.   While there, learn about the steps you can take to connect your concern and action with local advocacy groups. Join with other pro-environmental citizens to send a clear signal to our elected officials of our continued desire to protect our planet. Let your action be known and register here. Or get even more attention by forming an Earth Walk team with people from work or school, church, or your neighborhood. Earth Day is every day, but especially on April 21st.

How’s this work?

feet-937698_960_720“Stepping Up for the Planet” is the theme for the inaugural Louisville Earth Walk coming to Iroquois Park on Saturday April 22nd and the timing couldn’t be better.

The Louisville Earth Walk is the opportunity our community needs – one where all of us can come together to show our mutual concern and care for planet Earth.  It is the opportunity we need to demonstrate our mutual concerns around protecting our water, our air and our soil today and for future generations.

History shows that protests and boycotts can be powerful ways to support our environment.  At the same time many are identifying a need to come together around what we are “for,” in contrast to what we are “against.”  This was key to the success of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’s “I Love Mountains Day.” While hundreds gathered with the goal of stopping the destructive process that is mountain top mining – their clear focus was always on protecting Kentucky’s beautiful mountains. The Louisville Earth Walk provides this same kind of opportunity.

It also provides support for protecting our natural resources by both raising awareness around environmental issues and suggesting things we can do to live out that awareness.  At the same time it will help connect the community to many of the non-profits that work year round for environmental justice and a healthy planet.

These times call for mutuality, for solidarity, visibility and action.  They call for everyone’s engagement. These times call for ”Stepping Up for the Planet.”  I hope you will put on your walking shoes and join us on April 22nd, Earth Day 2017.  Details and registration are available at LouisvilleEarthWalk.org.

Walk for a Cleaner Louisville

pollution-louisvilleCaring for our planet and advocating for clean air and clean water is becoming more important as populations grow and environmental regulations come under attack.  The Louisville Earth Walk offers an easy and fun way to help many of the local groups that are working hard to improve the air and water quality in Louisville.  While cars and power plants are getting cleaner, people are consuming at greater rates than in the past.  The Earth Walk agencies promote a more sustainable life style through education and advocacy.  As federal and state governments are moving to eliminate environmental protections, these groups are stepping up their efforts to protect the earth.  At the Earth Walk you will learn ways that you can reduce your impact and live more sustainably as well as advocate for better laws at the local, state and federal levels.  Assemble at team from your congregation, work place, or friends and family to get bragging rights for the top teams.  You can also walk as an individual and earn incentives (details TBA) for the pledges you get from family and friends.  Register today and start on your way to help make Louisville a healthier more sustainable place to live.

EarthWalk blog

Join us for the EarthWalk on April 21, 2018

There are a lot of issues related to public health and the environment that have become politicized, but the reality is that many citizens and corporations understand the connections between our health, the environment and clean air and water. It’s simply common sense.

Renewable energy, clean air, clean water, and caring for our planet and the health of our Commonwealth should be a universal matter of public interest.

There are the everyday activities we all do at home. Most citizens understand the need to recycle and the benefits of purchasing energy efficient appliances to make the best use of our resources and save our cash. These are the steps that are within reach for most citizens.

And for those who wonder about climate change, they can see, regardless of ideology, that our city needs to prepare and plan ahead for changes in the weather and how that affects our quality of life. A study of water resources in 13 states in the Ohio River basin forecasts potentially devastating economic and environmental impacts from flooding. Something that Louisville has already been experiencing.

Louisville has also been experiencing a transformation in many ways to a cleaner, more sustainable future. Many homeowners and businesses have learned the benefits of installing clean solar energy, such as the recent installation at Oxmoor Center Mall. And citizens also recognize where progress must be made, such as improving air quality in Rubbertown.

These are some of the many reasons we made the decision to give citizens the opportunity to show their support and raise awareness to these issues through the Louisville EarthWalk. There are dozens of civic groups who are working hard to protect the health and environment of Louisville citizens in many different ways, and we hope you can take the time during this year’s event to get to know their work.

In the meantime, we hope you will take the opportunity to build your walking teams, and join us on April 21, 2018, to show your support for making Louisville a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable place to live.