Mission Statement :
To improve the well-being of our community and the planet by raising awareness of the health and sustainability issues surrounding the consumer choices that most directly affect our bodies from the inside and out.
Educational events in the community.
Work as a team to address the topics of food, personal care, household cleaners, yard chemicals, and other areas of potential toxic exposure and environmental harm, as made possible by the collective knowledge and network of a growing task force.
Develop a core group of humble, ethical, decision-making leaders for the Green Health Task Force.
Develop a working set of mutually agreed upon standards for what we, as a task force, will consider to be healthy and sustainable choices in the categories above, based on current knowledge and research.
Based on the task force standards, work to develop a network of knowledgable and like-minded presenters in the areas of healthy and sustainable choices in the categories above.
Develop a growing network of community members interested in learning more about the health and sustainability issues related to choices in the categories above.
Plan, market, and host community events on the health and sustainability issues related to choices in the categories above.
Provide qualified presenters to various community groups who would like to plan, market, and host their own events on the health and sustainability issues related to choices in the categories above.
Utilize online networking and social media to get our message out on the health and sustainability issues related to choices in the categories above.
Based on the task force standards, develop a list of consumer resources to assist the community in finding healthier and more sustainable choices in the categories above.
Possible venues for outreach:
Organize seminars/events through SCH directly.
Organize seminars/events through high school environmental clubs.
Organize seminars/events though community groups such as churches and synagogues.
Organize seminars/events through doctors’ and holistic practitioners’ offices.
A wounded veteran using acupuncture instead of narcotics; Employees at Safeway being encouraged to attend the gym regularly and lose weight by being rewarded with lower health insurance premiums; A program developed by Dr. Dean Ornish which successfully uses lifestyle change instead of surgery to treat patients with early-stage prostate cancer.Â These are three of the many hopeful stories revealed in the documentary film âEscape Fire,â focusing on the multitude of troubles in Americaâs health care system.
Before settling down to watch this documentary at the home of Caren and Steve Kaufman on November 14th, 15 friends talked around the table set with healthy snacks.Â Our Green Health Task Force sponsored the screening to learn about how health care in this country can be made more sustainable.Â The producers interviewed many experts including Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Dean Ornish, some frustrated primary care physicians and many patients about what goes right and wrong in health care today.
Immediately following the movie, our invited expert in the field, Dr. Steven Kaufman, staff endocrinologist in the Cooper Health System and the Camden Citywide Diabetes Collaborative gave us examples of changes that are being made in health care right in our backyard.Â Dr. Kaufman is working alongside Dr. Jeff Brenner, one of the vanguards in providing higher-quality, lower-cost medical care in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country: Camden, NJ.Â Through their work in the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers as well as Cooperâs new Urban Health Institute, Drs. Kaufman and Brenner are implementing innovative care models such as group visits for patients with chronic medical conditions, âopen accessâ scheduling and increased involvement from mental health, nursing and nutritional professionals Â â in order to improve health and reduce costs. And guess what? These changes are working!
If you are interested viewing âEscape Fire,â the film is available for rent on âVideo on Demandâ through most cable providers as well as on iTunes.
Every picture tells a story, so they say and clearly the many photographs we have of the 2013 Earth Festival show an event blessed with outstanding weather and so many participants .Our theme – Celebrate-Learn-Grow was portrayed in so many ways throughout the festival.
SCHOOLS: The crowd was estimated at 5000 and was augmented by the many Cherry Hill school students, family members, teachers, PTA members, staff and Cherry Hill superintendent Dr. Maureen Reusche who attended the festival. District character education director Mona Noyes and Zone PTA member Kate Verkamp coordinated thought-provoking and creative displays representing 19 schools. The character and sustainability theme blended kindness and sustainability so perfectly. The student displays are also part of the May 14th Cherry Hill board of education meeting taking place at the Malberg administration building. We look forward to an Earth Festival collaborationÂ with the district next April. Our appreciation also goes to Caley Vickerman, the Haiku Mistress who led many students in the “Guerrilla Haiku Movement” chalk-art celebrating our relationship with the Earth.
ENTERTAINMENT: Two stages of performances had toes tapping, hands applauding and the Phillie Phanatic in awe of all the talent in our community. Kudos go to: Thought-provoking performances by elementary students from the Mann and Paine schools, melodious sounds from the Rosettes and Close Harmony (Rosa International Middle); string and saxophone quartets from Cherry Hill East, dancers from Happy Feet, karate experts from Kobukan; upbeat harmony from the Cherry Hill Pine Barons Barbershop Chorus; smooth sounds from Out of the Beardspace and The DG Band and the daylong New Orleans-style sounds from Little Stevie & His Electric Mojo.
DID YOU KNOW?
Our dedicated organizing team which includes Cherry Hill’s Recreation Department with support from the Department of Public Works, Police and Fire Departments, Mayor’s Office and Mayor Chuck Cahn, is already planning for the 5th Cherry Hill Earth Festival. We have a list of updates and tweaks and we’ll work to make the 2014 festival a showcase for South Jersey.
Think global. Â Drink local.
Join us on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Â in the back room at PJ Whelihans from 6-8pm!
SCH has its own chapter of this popular social and business networking happy hour that brings together a wide array of environmentally minded people each month over beverages to discuss green and sustainable solutions, ideas, concepts and much more.
This laid back, unstructured gathering is part of an international movement and a collaborative effort with Green Drinks Philadelphia.
And remember, the efforts of SCH are regional and inclusiveâŚ you do not need to be a Cherry Hill resident to participate with us.
Stop by the first Wednesday of EVERY month at PJ Whelihanâs on Rt. 70 and Greentree Rds in Cherry Hill from 6-8 pm to hang with us and other like minded folks in the community. Everyone is friendly and eager to meet new people!
Note:Â SCH provides the âGREENâ opportunity to network, but not the âDRINKSâ!
Everyone either runs a tab or pays by the drink.
Contact Lori Braunstein for more information
Sustainable Cherry HillÂ organizes a yearly Earth Day Festival gathering community organizations, schools and residents together to celebrate their community and talk about issues of sustainability. Â Guerilla Haiku was invited by organizers this Saturday Â to train a group of high school volunteers to get fest-goers writing haiku about Earth Day. Â Many exciting things happened;
A) The high school Agents of Haiku fully embraced their mission (to get EVERYONE to write at least one haiku) and approached as many people as they could find thereby initiating conversations with and between 100s of strangers, impressing me and all people lucky enough to interact with them with their enthusiasm, commitment and positive energy.
B) Haiku were written in Turkish, Bangladeshi, Italian, Spanish, French, and Japanese making the polyglotism of the Cherry Hill community impressive indeed.
C) People embraced the Festivalâs purpose and wrote many haiku of an environmental ilk!
D) An enormously good time was had by all!
Over 300 total haiku were written through the course of the festival, and a sampling of them are available here for your viewing enjoyment! Â Thanks to Sustainable Cherry Hill and our amazing Agents of Haiku for a lovely day of celebration!
As we celebrate Earth Day, you get a great opportunity to spend some quality time outdoors at a Cherry Hill historic gem – Croft Farm. Here are the top five reasons to pay a visit to the 4th Cherry Hill Art Blooms Earth Festival – rain or shine Saturday, April 27 – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.:
1. Celebrate: we expect several thousand people to celebrate the Earth as the Croft Farm foliage blooms in all its glory. The celebration starts with the Family-Fun bike ride across from Croft Farm with easy two and 9-mile rides along safe Cherry Hill Streets. Registration begins at 8 a.m. You must wear a helmet. Recommended for ages 8+. Then enjoy the festival and our opening event at 10 a.m. Here is the event-day schedule.
2. Learn: See how students, teachers, staff and parents from 19 Cherry Hill district schools have learned how to foster our resources through character education – citizenship, responsibility, respect, being fair and working for the common good. Student videos, displays, skits, songs and stage performances. AND we have green crafters, non-profit groups, businesses and more engaging us with different ways to understand sustainability in our everyday lives.
3. Grow:Â Children can plant tree seedlings while grownups exchange or purchase garden plants at the Plant exchange; visit the beautiful gardens around the Arts Center where the April 27-May 11 Art Blooms weeks get underway. Grow you mind and spirit as the Haiku Mistress and Cherry Hill High School West volunteer students engage children of all ages in chalk-art haiku on the black top in front of the Farm House and throughout the festival grounds
4. RECYCLE – then Dance, Sing, Romp: When you arrive at Croft Farm for the festival, drop off your end-of-life small electronics, appliances, computers and printers at Magnum Computer Recycling for Earth-friendly disposal and recycling. Also drop off all those wire hangers, plastic bags and batteries that have piled up.
TWO stages of solar-powered (sun-permitting) entertainment features: The Rosettes & Close Harmony from Rosa International Middle School; plays by students from Paine & Mann Elementary Schools; Kobukan Karate; String quartets from Cherry Hill East; Happy Feet dancing; Cherry Hill East Sax quartet, Cherry Hill Pine Barons; Out of the Beardspace band: The DG Band & next to the Arts Center Little Stevie & His Electric Mojo.
The little ones can ROMP at the Moon Bounce! The Phillie Phanatic brings his antics to the festival in the 11 a.m. hour!
5. YUM!Come to enjoy tasty and healthy lunch and snacks from Chimp Ade (benefits the Jane Goodall Foundation) & J-Dogs; Alex’s Lemonade.
The Cherry Hill Earth Festival is planned by Cherry Hill Township and Sustainable Cherry Hill. This year’s event is presented by Hutchinson. Our Leadership Sponsors are Camden County, Magnum Computer Recycling and Rosenblatt Roofing. Â Our Green Sponsors are Body Solutions, Metro PCS and Penn Medicine.
We thank all of our sponsors and in-kind supporters. Most of all we thank YOU for being an agent of the EARTH. See you at the Earth Festival – Sat., April 27 – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.!
For more information, see our complete Art Blooms Earth Festival page!
7 Keys to an Authentic Life
Â An authentic life consciously promotes peace and happiness to unlock our full potential as people. Authenticity is also highly sustainable since it does not let fear produce self-defeating choices which undermine our own best interests. (See âSustainability Lies Withinâ, May 2012). Authentic living incorporates a synergistic combination of self-fulfillment and spiritual awareness which serve a greater good to others and the world around us. Here are some keys to achieving an authentic life:
Key #1: Surround yourself with positivity
Negativity is not only toxic â itâs contagious. Itâs difficult to maintain a positive outlook when you are constantly bombarded by the negative views and opinions of others. Anger and bitterness lead us toward combative interaction with the world, which will inevitably permeate our social relationships and jeopardize our stability and happiness. The more we surround ourselves with positive people and influences, the more likely we are to view the world in a healthy way Â and enable our peace and well-being.
Key #2: Put relationships first
We have a lot to juggle in our daily lives. Itâs easy to lose sight of whatâs important when we are bogged down with work, chores and responsibilities. But when we create the time to be meaningfully connected with those close to us, we create an emotional safety net which helps to ensure sustainable happiness. Honestly, how likely are we to be happy with our relationships if we donât take the time to cultivate them to their greatest potential?
Key #3: Find gratitude
There are tremendous riches all around us, yet we often focus on what we donât have, which can set us on a course to habitually seek elusive external gratification. Only when we find gratitude for what we do have will we then be able embrace the present and reduce the stress and frustration of continually pursuing âmoreâ. Make a list of things for which you are thankful, and look at it every day.
Key #4: Seek fulfillment
Many people find themselves exhausting their productive energy in jobs which neither inspire nor fulfill them. But we can also seek fulfillment in other ways such as volunteering, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing creative outlets. When we are fulfilled, we honor our best attributes and also bring the best to the world, enabling us to be of service to others in a positive way. By having compassion and helping others, we can actually reduce stress and enhance our longevity. (See âStess and Human Healthâ, July 2012).
Key #5: Donât resist reality
How often have we gotten upset about something that did not go the way we planned, only to realize later that it was ultimately for the best? Itâs easy to get uptight when things donât go the way we think they should. When we learn to view lifeâs events as part of a continuum essential for our personal growth, we liberate enormous amounts of positive, productive energy within ourselves. Be thankful when things go âwrongâ, and then youâll be able to learn from those situations to empower yourself to move forward.
Key #6: Donât believe everything you think
Our individual reality is based on our perception, and our thoughts drive our perception. When we understand that we have the ability to undo negative or unhealthy thought patterns, we can change our reality. But first we have to acknowledge the deep-rooted emotions which have driven our perception for most of our lives. Although this is no easy task, it helps us become empowered by starting with ourselves, rather than futilely trying to change the people and circumstances around us.
Key #7: Be OK with yourself
One of the most elusive tasks is to learn to accept ourselves for who we are. This can be an extremely painful process, since over our lifetime we tend to cling to the belief that we are never good enough just as we are. This thinking fosters fear-based decisions which steer us away from our authentic selves. Only when we overcome these internal blocks can we embrace a life where peace predominates over fear and anger.
No one can create an authentic life for us â we can only do it for ourselves. But over time, applying conscious living and self-control to our thoughts and actions can reward us with the peace and fulfillment that only an authentic life can give. If we are to truly embrace sustainability, then we absolutely must include our own lives in the equation. Youâve only got one chance at life. Why not do it in a way which makes you happy and uplifts others around you?
Paul HanleyÂ is a long-time Cherry Hill resident, freelance writer and Environmental Science professor at the Community College of Philadelphia. Look here on Sustainable Cherry Hill for more upcoming blogs from Paul in the coming weeks. He can be contacted atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.