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March13MappingAHealthierTown

What information do you wish you had about the town you live in?

If you are tired of knowledge about the choice of Wal-marts, the latest color of SUVs, and you hunger for something more meaningful, then this may interest you. A group of residents will be meeting this Saturday to form Puyallup’s first ‘Greenmap’. The activity will be held in the City Council Chambers as part of the Celtic Faire, from 2:00-5:00 pm.

The idea is to put a big map of Puyallup up on the wall and add post-its to identify ‘green’ needs and resources. Later, a paper map will be made. Please stop by and add important sites that you know about.

What kind of places could be on a Greenmap?

First up are social justice needs that can always use more community involvement: food banks, homeless shelters, feeding programs. The stories from those places (i.e. how the system is failing people) can and should advise us about future sustainability work.

Also important to map are dangerous places: areas of crime, speeding cars, or even lack of sidewalks. The neighbors in those areas could rally around, respectively, a Neighborhood Watch, creative traffic calming, or a Safe Routes to School program. If there are big environmental health hazards, like a chemical plant (Sumner) or septage pollution (Carbon Canyon), then the bigger community can organize to keep our towns safe.

The beauty of a Greenmap is not just to end injustices, but to create a better future. It shows how to live more sustainably.

Where can we buy quality products that benefit the community? We’ll map the farmer’s market or any locally-owned store. Though downtown is the heart, a good map should include local stores and farm-stands elsewhere in the county. With enough information, people can get necessities: soap, eggs, medicine, etc., all without stepping foot into a corporately-owned behemoth.

Transportation resources show how to get there. This includes park and rides, bus routes, bike trails, or ad hoc walking paths. Other similar resources are the location of the local bike shop, the ‘Bicycle Recycle’ program (thanks to Foothills Rails to Trails), and the vegetable-oil guru who can convert your car to run on McDonald’s garbage.

This brings us to community empowerment, like community gardens, ‘guerrilla gardens’, cobb oven pizza parties, or just plain knowing what your neighbors do for work. Why drive somewhere to get a massage or get your taxes done, if you could just walk across the street?

CALENDAR: Mar. 15 Celtic Faire in downtown Puyallup, or the Foothills Dash. Mar. 20 Environmental Health meeting, Graham. Mar.22 Volunteer Brunch, Tacoma.

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Page last modified on March 08, 2008, at 07:44 PM