The Coalition for Peace and Justice and the UNPLUG Salem Campaign (nuclear power watchdogs) will be participating in the Town of Hammonton's fifth annual Green Day Festival, scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 on the grounds of St. Joseph's High School, 328 Vine St.
The Green Day festival has grown every year with more than 700 people attending in 2011. Volunteers are welcome to help staff our table or just stop by to sign up for the Coalition email or “snail mail” lists.
We will have peace and environmental buttons, bumper stickers and flags for sale as well. You can also check out our peace flags on the Coalition for Peace and Justice website or the Coalition for Peace Action website.
That this festival is being held in Hammonton, long considered to be a Republican stronghold, should not come as a surprise. The environment should not be an issue that only we left-wingers care about. Pollution doesn't know left from right.
As an example, the ACUA (Atlantic County Utilities Authority) has led the way for this county in solar and wind power, alternative fuels and recycling. The ACUA hosts the yearly Earth Day, and is on the forefront of pro-environment activities all year round. So, even though politically Atlantic County is controlled by the Republicans, they have been supportive of pro-environmental actions.
After all, the environment is very important to a county that relies on tourism for much of its economic success. Supporting the environment should be non-partisan, be that locally or at the state and national levels.
Investing in the environment creates jobs, too. Installing solar panels or building wind farms like the one at ACUA creates jobs as well.
The Hammonton festival is organized by the Hammonton Green Committee, a Hammonton Town committee formed five years ago to work with local residents on reducing the town's carbon footprint and achieving long-term environmental sustainability.
On Green Day, the aim is to highlight positive solutions to the many environmental problems facing us. In addition, the festival aims to demonstrate that seemingly global issues, like climate change, have local impact.
In addition to helping to start a local farmers' market and "shop- and eat-local" campaigns, the Green Committee has teamed up with the local theatre to offer an "Eye-Opening Film and Lecture Series," featuring thought-provoking topics. How local people are effected by the issues are discussed.
The Green Committee is currently engaged in a number of environmental campaigns to eliminate plastic bag use and increase local wildlife habitat, as well as water conservation (to protect our Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifers) and green building practices.
Last year, Hammonton was certified as a sustainable community by Sustainable Jersey, the pre-eminent certification panel sponsored by the New Jersey League of Municipalities.
Although the festival is primarily environmental in focus, organizers also aim to show the connections between respectful relations between peoples and a resulting benefit to our planet and other species. Thus Coalition for Peace and Justice's emphasis on non-violent solutions to the problems of nations forms part of that pattern of improved living on the planet.
For more information on Hammonton's fifth annual Green Day Festival, please contact Festival Chairman Dan Bachalis at (609) 516-5115 or see http://hammontongreencommittee.com/events/green-day/. Thanks to Dan for much of the information and content of this week's column.
If your town is planning to hold a fall festival or other community event, we at the Coalition for Peace and Justice would be honored to be invited to participate. Please contact me at the phone number or email address below.
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