A Call for Climate and Health Action
This guest column by Bedford 2030 Executive Director Midge Iorio appeared in the Record-Review on April 23, 2021.
Before reading any further, do yourself a favor.
Open a window or door in your home and take a deep breath. Then go into the kitchen, fill a glass with water and take a good long drink.
Doing these things during Earth Month 2021 provides an opportunity to reflect on our investment in clear air, clean water and healthy natural resources.
And while so much of environmental concern and action is global in scale, it might be time to think about the individual needs of someone important. You.
Clear air and clean water matter to everyone, but they’re also essential to each of our personal health. So while we want to continue to think globally and act locally, there’s room to sharpen the focus even further. A healthy environment is fundamental to a healthy you, a healthy family and a healthy community.
Fact is, clean air and water are not guaranteed. On a global scale the threats to those resources are growing. A growing body of research confirms increases in asthma, allergies, compromised water and threats to natural resources—all linked to greenhouse gas emissions, other pollutants and climate change.
“Our airways constantly react with the environment. Adverse emissions promote airway inflammation, a central characteristic of asthma,” says Dr. Amy Brown, pediatric pulmonologist with Boston Children’s Health Physicians.
Now, more than ever, individual action can preserve our resources. That translates to preserving our health.
And the good news is that many of the steps each of us can take are within reach. Here are some of the ways Bedford 2030 is partnering with our community to take climate—and health—action now.
Make sure your electricity comes from non-polluting, renewable sources. We can help improve the health and quality of our air by transitioning to a clean electric power supply. Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge residents all have access to 100% renewable energy for electricity through Westchester Power. Subscribing to a solar farm or considering solar panels at home also generate clean local electricity and reduce the health-compromising impact of fossil fuel consumption.
Reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home and make sure the energy you are using is clean. We can make our homes healthier through energy efficiency upgrades, efficient appliances and devices, and clean heating and cooling. A great start is a home energy assessment to determine what solutions will make your home healthier and more comfortable, while saving energy costs.
Know everything you need to know about making your next car an electric or fuel-efficient vehicle, and meanwhile: Drive less. Whenever possible, carpool or take public transportation. Run errands by walking or cycling, and derive health benefits. Consider getting an electric car, which can save fuel costs and protect the environment. Reducing fossil fuel pollutants from vehicles will improve the quality and health of our air.
Support local students and schools in transitioning to zero-emissions buses. Studies suggest a correlation between student health and breathing fumes from diesel-powered school buses. Let’s come together as a community to facilitate a path forward to clean, healthy transportation for our students.
Follow healthy yard and land practices. Trees, plants and soil help clean our air by capturing carbon and other pollutants and storing them. How cool is that? Planting more trees, making our soil nutrient-rich and chemical-free, converting lawn to native and pollinator plants all have a healthy impact on our air. Additionally, by avoiding pesticides and chemicals on our yards and land, we keep them out of our drinking water supply.
Make sustainable food choices. Food that is locally and sustainably grown is healthier for us, for our community and our planet.
Reduce food waste. When we buy what we need, use what we buy and compost food scraps, we are supporting a healthier community.
Use less plastic. Research shows that traces of plastic are everywhere — from the water we drink, whether it comes from a tap or plastic bottle, to the farthest depths of our oceans and sea life.
Repurpose and upcycle materials instead of throwing them out. Household items can be dropped off or reclaimed at Bedford 2030’s Take It or Leave it Shed. The Bedford 2030 recyclopedia provides local information on hard to recycle items. The Bedford recycling center takes electronic waste, books, kitchen scraps and more.
Here’s to a healthy Earth Day. Every day.
For more information and resources to activate these climate and health solutions, go bedford2030.org or contact us at (914) 620-2411 or firstname.lastname@example.org