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Eco-Justice Team - September 2023

This summer has made the toll of climate change ever more obvious. Its appalling human toll is matched by the damage to all of nature, in fact everything that is part of God’s world. While no one can reverse or ameliorate this situation alone, each of us can contribute some change, however small, to start. We all have choices, and those of us with comfortable incomes have more choices than most, and thus more responsibility.

One easy change is to reduce food waste. Volunteers from Bower Hill were collecting excess produce from Giant Eagle long before waste became a prominent problem. Wonderful organizations such as 412 Food Rescue provide food to ever more people, preventing it from becoming waste while feeding the hungry. According to the Pennsylvania Resource Council, 11% of Pennsylvanians are food insecure, while 40% of food in America is wasted. The easiest way to address this issue is to buy less and use what you have. Here are some ideas:

• Plan ahead. If you make a meal plan for the week, you can shop more efficiently and save money at the same time.

• Store it appropriately. There are many websites and books to help you with this, and knowledgeable employees can be a great resource (this goes for store employees as well as the wonderful folks at farmers’ markets!).

• Learn to love leftovers. Sometimes a meal is good enough to repeat, and other times the leftovers are prized ingredients for other meals. Think about how that works at Thanksgiving, and bring it into daily life.

• Use up scraps. Very little can’t be put into a stock or broth. Freeze bones, scraps, and other bits until you have enough to use.

The PRC, mentioned above, has a great website to get you started- Another fun website is Food Waste Feast- It’s from two sisters, Margaret (known as Mei) and Irene Li. Their restaurant experience led them to become crusaders for reducing waste. They also wrote a charming book, ”Perfectly Good Food,” Book on Amazon. I’m not promoting Amazon, just couldn’t find any other link.

Finally, here’s some information from a recent webinar on spotted lanternflies. According to most entomologists, spotted lanternflies are here to stay until an effective control is discovered. In the meantime, there are some things you can (and should not) do. By now, they are in the adult stage. They are very mobile and tend to hop rather than fly long distances. They are not dangerous to humans and do not bite. They tend not to kill healthy plants, except grapes, cucumbers, and squashes. If you can, try to squish them. Although traps have been recommended by some, they are not exactly harmless to beneficials, small birds and mammals. When traveling, be sure to check your vehicle for hitchhikers. They are able to stay on your vehicle at speeds over 60 mph. Horticultural soaps have not proven to be effective. Above all, do not use household chemicals or pesticides. You are more likely to kill beneficials and harm the environment. While these pests are not going away anytime soon, scientists ask for vigilance and patience as they explore means of control that will not do more harm than good.


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