The Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry is offering a new series of programs in 2008 called Living Lightly on the Land. This oft coined phrase means drastically different things to different people.


The Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry is offering a new series of programs in 2008 called Living Lightly on the Land. This oft coined phrase means drastically different things to different people.

What does it mean to you? To some people it might mean reverting back to the dark days of hardships and living without basic amenities. Our American culture is one of the most affluent in the world and living on less seems to be a step backwards. To Earth-conscious people, it means choosing to use alternatives where they exist in order to reduce our impact on the land we live on. It means taking steps towards an awakening of the effects our behaviors have on the Earth. Chief Seattle spoke the truth when he said “Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

To give you a few examples of what his words mean in terms of today's world, let's take a look at this simple concept in a different way. Go to a grocery store and look down the cleaning products isle. Now imagine taking the lids off of every bottle on the shelf and pour all of it into the local water ways. Eventually, that's where all the products end up. Some of those man-made chemicals do not break down in the environment and are extremely harmful. Do the same for the products in the personal hygiene isle. Just pour the shampoo right down the drain and skip the middle-person . . . us. Do you drink water? How would you change the way you lived your life if you believed what Chief Seattle said? Would you start to think about the ingredients in the products you are purchasing and how they might affect the environment and then ultimately, you and your family?

Just as stylish clothing changes in the fashion industry, the buzz words in the Earth-conscious field change too.  A new term that you may be seeing flashing across the computer screens these days is “body burden.” Body Burden is the amount of a harmful substance that is permanently present in a person's body.  Unfortunately, children usually have the highest body burdens.  Another new idea and marketing focus is women's roles in consumerism. Women are the main shoppers for new clothing, items for the household including personal care products and cleaning agents, and food. Women wield immense power in their choices of what to buy and what not to buy. We can make an educated choice about what to buy, which not only includes what's good for our families, but what is good for the Earth too.

Making more educated choices means living more lightly on the land and a lower body burden for you and your family. In the words of Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, “The ultimate test of man's (and women's) conscience may be his (and her) willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” It has always been about the choices we as individuals make and in today's world, we need to make more educated and informed choices.

Join the PEEC staff for the LLOL Summer Outdoors program on Saturday, June 14,  from 1-4 pm. A part of the new Living Lightly on the Land series, the program will help participants learn how to prepare for and enjoy a day or overnight summer trip in a way that has less of an impact on the Earth. Topics will include hydration and Leave No Trace (LNT) travel and camp practices. This program is $8 for PEEC Members and $10 for non-members. Call PEEC to register at (570) 828-2319 or e-mail peec@peec.org for more information. PEEC is located off of Route 209 inside the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Dingmans Ferry, PA (Lehman Township). Visit www.peec.org for directions.

• LLOL: Summer Outdoors - June 14 - 1-4 pm. Cost: PEEC Members $8/Non-members $10. Learn how to prepare for and enjoy a day or overnight trip during the summer months. Topics will include hydration and Leave No Trace (LNT) travel and camp practices.

• LLOL: Catskills Backpacking Trip - August 22-24.8 Cost: PEEC Members $100/Non-members $125. This backpack trip will provide an introduction to overnight camping. Focus will be on Leave No Trace practices for backpacking, as well as map reading and how to pack for an overnight outing in the backcountry. PEEC will help participants rent equipment from a local outfitter (rental fees not included). Workshop includes all meals and program. (Transportation provided - Limited to the first 12 people)

• LLOL: Canoe Trip - September 12-14. Cost: PEEC Members $125/Non-members $150. This canoe trip will provide an introduction to overnight canoe camping. Learn Leave No Trace (LNT) practices for canoe travel, as well as basic paddling skills and how to pack for an overnight outing. PEEC will help participants rent equipment from a local outfitter (rental fees not included). Workshop includes all meals, program and transportation. (Transportation provided - Limited to the first 12 people)

Call PEEC at (570) 828-2319 for more information on these new programs.