Wondering what you can do to help promote clean water? Read this article for a few suggestions
Members of the Lehigh Valley Sierra Club have been working diligently to protect and defend the environment in our area. But of the 1600 local members, only about 20 are actively volunteering. Often it is only little things we need help with.
The weather was perfect, the Lehigh river was calm, and we meandered down the river enjoying the beauty of the day. The canoes floated briskly along; the water was deep blue and slate gray with white tops on all the little wavelets. The sky was the clear cobalt blue of autumn, crossed with the trails of jets.
Many people ask me, “what is the most beautiful place you have ever explored?” That’s an impossible question to answer...Each state is full of land so precious and sacred that I could not say one is more incredible or pleasing to the eye than another.
I enjoy leading Sierra Club outings because they allow me the opportunity to take others to places that have inspired me. The only thing better than going to beautiful places is bringing friends to them.
Several years ago, the City of Bethlehem's Water Authority decided to extensively timber their watershed lands in an effort to provide money to the city's budget needs. We in the Lehigh Valley Group continueD our efforts for sensible environmental protections for these watershed lands.
Thanks to the tireless work of Dave McGuire, Lehigh Valley Group Issues Chair, we have a victory to celebrate. It appears that the city has decided not to log the watershed after all.
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Investing in Open Space is a Benefit, not a Cost
Forests, grasslands, borders along streams and lakes, and all other undeveloped lands help ensure a high quality of life for our homes, businesses, schools, and even our industrial areas. Yet, we are quickly losing the undeveloped lands that are left in Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. According to the 21st Century Environment Commission, development has gobbled up land 80 percent more rapidly than the population has expanded.
Protecting the environment is only about creating picture postcards. Some of the most critical areas are not necessarily tourist or even recreational destinations. They are ecologically sensitive and critical areas that provide habitat for wildlife, keep our drinking water clean, and serve critical roles in larger ecosystems that will suffer without them.
Pennsylvania occupies an unfortunate but indisputable position in the Environmental Hall of Shame. The state ranks number one in the nation in combined sewer overflows, where raw sewage is dumped into streams, rivers, and wells when rain hits; has the fifth-highest rate of sprawl; is home to the two largest mercury polluters; produces more greenhouse gases than 83 countries; and experiences rainfall 100 times more acidic than clean rain.
We in the environmental community have high hopes that governor-elect Ed Rendell (D) will work to change this. He received the endorsement of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, and he consulted with many in the community during his campaign. His efforts to bring us to the table were a breath of fresh air for many. On January 27, the Rendell administration filed a court challenge to the United States EPA new less-stringent air pollution rules. An administration more amenable to environmental protection would be a great improvement to the well-being of Pennsylvanians.