Earth Day presentations raise awareness

By Megan Kennedy

April 29, 2014

Residents of Preble County gathered to celebrate Earth Day at Reflections Restaurant in West Alexandria, Tuesday, April 22.

BJ Price, a technician and educator with the Preble County Soil and Water Conservation District spoke regarding conservation and the ethics surrounding stewardship.

Price expressed the importance for the younger generation’s knowledge of the soil, and how to utilize it’s resources. Price said the Conservation District teaches students about “the vast resources that were present in this country when it was first settled and the resources we still have today; the timber, and the land, and the water that were available for the early settlers to make this nation so prosperous,” said Price. These resources, according to Price, include trees. Price said children and young adults need to be taught trees not only release oxygen, they also provide timber to those who wish to build.

“The reality is, we have a great resource of timber here in Ohio, and across the nation, really, to make use of. So, we can’t have conservation be a one-sided thing, conservation is the wise use and protection of the natural resources, so we’ve got to be able to use them, t00,” said Price.

Dean Houchen, a wildlife biologist with Pheasants Forever, said there are between four to six different types of grass species in Preble County. These different types of grasses are beneficial to animals who are seeking shelter, safety, and shade from the elements. Without these, animals can starve to death, or worse. Prairie grasses are also imperative in absorbing large amounts of rainfall. According to Houchen, one acre of established prairie can absorb nine inches of rainfall before runoff occurs.

Robert (Bob) Crooks, the funeral director of Robert L. Crooks Funeral Center discussed the environmental impacts funerals can have. The manufacturers of caskets and vaults, their transportation, delivery, and the embalming of the body, deteriorate over time, seeping unnatural chemicals into the soil. This phenomenon is not solely found in the funeral business, according to Crooks.

“Everything we buy, in some way, has an impact on the environment,” said Crooks. To combat this, many funeral businesses across the country, and in the world, are practicing “green” burials, where the deceased is buried, including clothing, in one-hundred percent biodegradable materials. “Upon their dying, we want to minimally impact the environment,” said Crooks.

Whether fertilizer comes from the back-end of an animal, or if it’s synthetic, grass and other plants cannot tell the difference, according to Rodney Creech. His lawncare business, Lawn-Plus offers an organic program. For others, Creech said customers, “pay twice as much for half the results.”

Anything that ends in “-cyde” means death, according to Phil Price, who has been participating in Biological Farming for over 20 years. GMOs are genetic pollution, according to Phil, as well as the cause to many diseases such as obesity and cancer.

“In 1900, the United States was number one in health and wellness, in the year 2002, we were 96th, and it’s only getting worse,” said Phil. “The good news is, biological farming cures a lot of these illnesses.” Phil Price also said soils are being “mismanaged” and a teaspoon of soil should contain 2,500 to 3,000 species of beneficial organisms, which is not the case in recent local testing. Phil said our soils have lost 50 percent of it’s carbon in the past 60 years.

“Our foods have been cheapened, watered down,” said Dale Philbrun, owner of Morning Sun Organic Farm in West Alexandria. Philbrun and his wife practice organic farming, utilizing crop rotation, and other natural means to farm. Philbrun participates in local Farmers’ Markets to spread the word about organic farming. Philbrun said our foods are “nutrient-void” due to poor soil health.

Pastor Jonathan Grubbs, of the Eaton First Church of God, gave an alternative viewpoint regarding Earth Day, a Biblical perspective. Grubbs said the earth is a gift from God, and God chose to create people out of “his loving generosity.” Grubbs said, “In fact, in Genesis 131, ‘and God saw all that he had made and said that it was good’. Unlike a secular view, that sees the universe as a chance result of impersonal or mechanical forces, the Bible tells us that the universe is a result of a creator’s love, his gift … the beauty, the grandeur, reflects the Creator’s love,” said Pastor Grubbs.