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Vote Cleveland for a free orchard; national highway group wants to water down bike/ped access; challenge yourself this EarthDay

Marc Lefkowitz  |  04/19/11 @ 1:04pm

Edy's Fruit Bars is running a contest to plant a fruit orchard on a city lot somewhere in America. Greater Cleveland has six potential sites selected by the company to compete against hundreds nationally. They include Vel's Purple Oasis (a 1.5 acre market garden on a vacant property in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood); The Cleveland Botanical Garden's Buckeye Green Corps. garden; a vacant lot on Cleveland's west side/Cudell neighborhood; the site of Trinity Lakewood Community Outreach; Case Western Reserve University's Farm Food Program site in Hunting Valley; and City of Bedford Heights community garden. Register here and then vote for one or all of the Cleveland area contestants (you can vote once per day; currently, the Cleveland sites are way behind the leaders).

From the League of American Bicyclists: "On April 1, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a letter and supplemental document, which asked the US Department of Transportation to weaken their guidance on accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians. The supplemental document, submitted as part of a formal review of regulations, asks that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) withdraw their guidance on the meaning of "due consideration" of bicyclists and pedestrians to make it easier for states to ignore the needs of non-motorized travelers. AASHTO prefers the weaker "consider where appropriate" to allow states to avoid having to justify failure to accommodate bicycling and walking.

This request is misguided. At a time when Portland, OR is building its entire bicycling network for roughly the cost of one mile of urban four-lane highway, bike projects are putting people to work, and benefiting, among others, business; this is not the time to move backwards. When more and more states ? 23 and counting ? are embracing Complete Streets policies, AASHTO should be a leading voice in shaping holistic and comprehensive transportation systems, not resisting them. In fact, AASHTO's own 12 year-old Bicycle Guide-due to be updated this year-says that bicyclists and pedestrians can be expected on any roadway they are legally allowed to operate and therefore should be accommodated.

Send an e-letter to Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray asking him to reject the watered down AASHTO guideline."

From the Inter-religious Task Force: "Leaving one's comfort zone is not always very easy. Even if you consider yourself part of the Fair Trade movement. Even if you are conscious about the numerous problems of poverty and damage to the environment that are a result of our lifestyle in industrialized countries. Even if you're willing to do something about it. Actually challenging lifelong 'sinful' habits can still be very hard.

That's why it's always good to have a special motivation to get started, like a little challenge with yourself or with others. And guess what? The upcoming Earth Day on April 22 is a perfect occasion for that. Two different organizations, Greenplate and WKU Aid, are offering personal challenges for a better, healthier and more sustainable world. How about an entire week without any plastics? Or maybe living seven days with only natural light, unplugging all your electronics that are sucking juice on standby, and calculating your own carbon footprint?

The Fair Trade Federation also offers some useful hints on how Fair Trade offers great ways to celebrate Earth Day: by reducing, reusing, reclaiming, and recycling materials wherever possible."

From Freshwatercleveland.com"This year, pop-up stores will appear in Old Brooklyn, Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway and downtown. While pop-up shops are anything but new-retailers like Nike and Gap have employed the practice since the 1980s to great effect-they're now being used creatively in Cleveland to address retail vacancies, drive traffic and create buzz."

From Cleveland.com"Citing potentially unsafe drinking water, Pennsylvania is calling on companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation to stop taking wastewater to 15 treatment plants by May 19." Read more.

 

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