To conclude this year's Earth Week series, we are focusing on the topic of: "Economy - Regional sustainability planning and economic growth in Western New York".
Of course the economy is a big issue of concern for our region. People want stable and good-paying jobs, governments want to claim thriving industries, and consumers are constantly on the look out for new and interesting places to shop in their community. Yet, when we talk about the economy and economic growth, we also have to consider the environment and issues like global warming. Without considering the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit, we will continue to consume fossil fuels at record rates and create waste and pollution that is dangerous for natural habitats and human health.
So, how do we create jobs and encourage economic growth, while protecting our regional environment?
Homeowners can help out
Clarke Gocker and Shayla Merritt are from PUSH Green, an extension of the local organization, People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo. PUSH Green is creating new living-wage jobs while helping homeowners reduce their high-energy bills. The program provides homeowners with access to free or reduced-cost comprehensive home energy assessments, whole house installation services, affordable financing, and pathways to clean energy training and work. CLICK HERE to get the details >>
Shoppers can help out
According to Andrew Delmonte of Buffalo First, money spent at a local business can have three times the economic impact in our community than money spent at a national chain. Buffalo First and local entrepreneurs have established a network of area businesses committed to the local economy. Participating businesses are committed to circulating dollars within the community, and as the business owner and more of the business's suppliers and services are also members of the community, more of the dollars stay local and support our local economy.
Buying local can also lessen our carbon footprint. Local shoppers ensure that items are not shipped in to our region on huge trucks that pollute the air and contribute to a fuel-based economy. The more money that stays local, means more local businesses, more local industry, more local jobs, which means less carbon footprint for our entire region, a healthier economy and happier and healthier people. CLICK HERE to learn more >>
Voters can help out
Oftentimes, people who prioritize the economy and economic growth are at odds with people who are concerned with habitat and pollution.
Although economic development programs are instituted to try and help struggling economies, these programs might not ensure that participating corporations consider social and environmental concerns. Furthermore, many of these programs are funded by public dollars, which means that taxpayer dollars could be funding corrupt corporations! But this doesn't have to be the case. You can help ensure that corporations which benefit from taxpayer money consider the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.
Coalition for Economic Justice is working with people and other organizations to ensure that local communities directly impacted by economic development programs have a voice in decision-making, and that those same communities benefit from public funding with good jobs that strengthen our local communities. In the final Earth Week article, Micaela Shaprio-Shellaby of Coalition for Economic Justice writes about their work encouraging legislative changes that make public dollars equal public good. CLICK HERE to get involved >>
To follow all articles in the Earth Week series, visit http://growwny.org/earth-day/learn.