You may know that Indiana continually ranks near the bottom in national surveys of air quality. One way you can make a difference is by rejecting energy created by burning coal and embracing homegrown, clean energy by building your own “power plant” – a wind power system to provide energy for your home, church, office, or community center.
This solution is not as out of reach as it once seemed. You can get more details from the U.S. Department of Energy in The Indiana Consumer’s Guide to Small Electric Wind Systems. You can also find great information at the American Wind Energy Association website, which has a brief summary of cost and regulation issues for each state. Also listed is contact information for organizations and individuals in the know about wind power issues.
Locally grown food is good for everybody: local farmers, the local environment, and people who get food that’s fresher, healthier, and tastes better. It may be from a farmer 100 miles away or even less, who is usually a small, independent producer. Many people support local food in an effort to encourage the sustainability of their region. Often you can talk to the person who grows or produces your food to find out what kind of environmental impact your food is creating.
Local does not necessarily mean organic, but it does decrease the environmental impacts of transporting goods. The amount of environmental impact from a local product depends solely on the specific producer. Some may use organic means while others may use more conventional ones. By inquiring with the producer, you can find out for certain the farm’s specific sustainability.
Where can you find locally grown food? One great place to start is with Local Harvest, which has listings of Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and farmer’s markets.
In the early twentieth century, as industry flourished and farming became more mechanized, science worked hard to develop ways to increase crop production and simplify work. Manmade materials flourished. Since World War II, literally tens of thousands of new chemical compounds have been synthesized and released into the environment, the majority without any health testing. Over the same period a number of diseases have risen dramatically in incidence including lymphoma, autism, attention deficit disorders, breast cancer, testicular cancer, and low sperm counts in men. This raises the question of whether there could be a link between rising disease rates and rising chemical exposures.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, most Americans have pesticides, chemicals from plastic, and other synthetic chemicals in their bodies. Given the many chemicals we are exposed to, it is difficult for scientists to prove links between specific chemicals and diseases, though some data are emerging. Even without absolute proof of which chemicals cause which ailments, we can act to limit our exposure as a precautionary measure.
Want more information about making your home safer? Improving Kids’ Environment can help you reduce threats to your kids’ health and safety. PEHSU is a network of specialists in environmental health issues for kids. The Pesticide Action Network of North America has all sorts of information about the pesticides used in agriculture. You might also want to read the Healthy Home Reference Manual published by the Centers for Disease Control.