New Castle News

April 24, 2014

Lori Brothers: Healthy food comes from a healthy Earth

Lori Brothers
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — I am proud to know that Earth Day originated in the U.S. but became recognized worldwide by 1990.

I can remember ordering baby trees to plant in celebration of Earth Day. When they said “baby” trees they weren’t kidding. I remember getting about 6 single pine seedlings in the mail. They looked like individual, tiny pine tree tops. I was around 10 years old, and my young imagination was rooted in planting trees, not those meager sticks.

I was disappointed, but not discouraged. Those delicate seedlings were our future. After all, one of the goals of earth day is to plant millions of trees each year.

That was back in the 1970s, the beginning of a movement toward developing awareness for how we value and celebrate the earth’s natural treasures and resources. Conservation became political. It was the birth of the Environmental Protection Agency. To this day, I feel connected to anything that is dedicated to helping and protecting the planet including the air we breathe and the water we drink.

It has become a global initiative. In an Earth Day celebration in 2011, 28 million trees were planted in just one location, Afghanistan, by the Earth Day Network. Starting off small has bloomed into bigger contributions, unique to each culture. On Earth Day 2012, more than 100,000 people in China who use cars, rode their bikes to reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel.

Today, the Earth Day Network collaborates with more than 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries. According to EDN, more than 1 billion people are involved in Earth Day activities, making it “the largest secular civic event in the world.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Public opinion polls indicate that a permanent change in national priorities followed Earth Day 1970. When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969.”  A major shift in awareness!

It is amazing to me now to realize that up until 1969 there were no laws regulating how industry was polluting our air and waterways. Nor were there regulations for using pesticides at that time.

Now, we humans are owning the responsibility for living in harmony with our environment. We are giving back for what we take and creating balance by contributing monetarily,and through meaningful action. For example, in Panama, 100 endangered species of orchids were planted and maintained to prevent their extinction in honor of Earth Day.

Earth Day is officially April 22 each year (yesterday), but the celebration has been pushed back in New Castle to Saturday in order to bring more people into the downtown area to participate in planned festivities. The theme of the event will be teaching and showing examples of ways to protect the environment.

“It just makes sense to celebrate on Saturday. Cascade Park would be a wonderful place for it, but we want to spotlight downtown,” Rhonda DeFelice told the New Castle News in an article earlier this month. DeFelice is heading up the project along with Mary Burris.

New Castle will partner with Ellwood City, which will offer Earth Day-themed events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ewing Park before the scene shifts to downtown New Castle the same day from 2 to 6 p.m.

Thanks to Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator and Earth Day founder, we are still celebrating Earth Day, officially renamed International Mother Earth Day in 2009 by the U.N.

So let’s continue the positive movement to educate and demonstrate caring for the Earth. Healthy living applies here as meaningful action. Building enthusiasm to include more of our Earth’s abundant grains, fruits and veggies in your diet for health and well-being can be a motivator to join in to preserve her bountiful gifts, and protect her air and water.

Low Fat Italian Casserole (Meatless)



Cook and drain Whole Wheat Penne. Chop onions and pepper.

In medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, onions, green pepper, and zucchini.

Spray 13 X 9 panwith non-stick spray. Layer half of noodles in bottom of pan. Spread all of cheese mixture over noodles. Top with remaining noodles.

Pour tomato sauce and diced tomatoes over top. Sprinkle liberally with seasonings. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Bake covered 45 minutes to one hour at 350 degrees.