Ecological footprints in the Blue Water Area: Part 2

Port Huron’s Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce identifies steps to reduce their ecological footprint.

After Michigan State University Extension delivered a program titled People, Profit, and Planet to residents of Port Huron late last year, The Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce identified a number of strategies they could employ that would reduce their ecological footprint. In addition to carpooling, walking and turning off lights where and when necessary they also suggest taking some doable, financially affordable and rather non-labor-intensive strategies.

In order to reduce their carbon footprint, the BWACC suggested using cleaner transport, adding energy-saving features and adopting energy-saving habits. The Chamber also suggested carpooling to meetings and to and from work, taking public transportation (i.e. Blue Water Area Transit), cycling or walking when possible. This seems to be a win-win situation because not only will it reduce carbon footprints, but will lower travel expenses as well.

Amy Lutz suggested eating more local, organic, less packaged and in-season fresh food from local sources when trying to reduce Food Footprints. Food traveling shorter distances, selected with less or no packaging is certain to reduce waste and be fresher. (More information on local food and its importance can be found at sustainabletable.org)

The housing footprint is a challenging category, but choosing sustainable building materials, furnishings and cleaning products, as well as adopting water-saving habits can aid in the reduction. BWACC pointed out too that some of these changes are easily adaptable; for example, looking for leaks on a regular basis and fixing them promptly in your home and office, taking your vehicle to a car wash (apparently) uses less water, and refraining from power-washing large spaces saves water.

The goods and services footprint is something that all of us can address quite easily. Reducing our footprint here can be done by replacing items such as furniture and electronics only when absolutely needed. The BWACC also suggested recycling as much paper, aluminum, glass, plastics and electronics as possible. Even when purchasing recycled products seeking those labeled “post-consumer waste” helps significantly too.

The Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce is working towards taking additional steps to reduce their ecological footprint for a number of reasons. Lutz stated, “The ecological footprint quiz is a great eye opener to the ways we, as an organization, are currently helping or harming our environment. It also provides ideas of ways we can strengthen our social responsibility. While some of these opportunities may exceed our resources at this time, there are many relatively inexpensive and simple ways we can reduce our ecological footprint. If you are not already doing this, join the Chamber office in our first step: recycling office waste. Turning off our computers and unplugging them and our small appliances while not in use (at least while our office is closed) is another easy step we have taken.”

Lutz continued to say, “I also invite you to take this quiz with your family and consider the additional ways you can help preserve our planet’s ecosystem. Whether you take a large stride or a baby step, you are investing into a brighter future for our environment.”

All of Michigan is rich in resources, especially our abundance of fragile and finite fresh water. Preserving this and our land, air, and opportunities for future generations is a priority for several. Taking the first step with the BWACC and learning just how big (or small) your ecological footprint is one way you can contribute.

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