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World Environment Day: 5 Sustainable Living Guidelines

World Environment Day: 5 Sustainable Living Guidelines


Last week, the world celebrated June 5 as World Environment Day. It is sobering to step back and reflect on individual and collective roles in preserving the planet for future generations. Across Presbyterian Senior Living’s 29 communities and among its more than 5,500 residents, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a way of life.

In 2015, Presbyterian Senior Living unveiled the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Masterplan Initiative to provide “a holistic approach to development, management, and operation of our communities in harmony with nature to enhance our mission to serve seniors.”

Nine years later, the organization continues to pursue that mission through its Five Pillars of Success: campus leadership practices; constituent engagement; conservation behaviors and practices; capital and facilities improvements; and construction, renovation, and green building design.

Ruth MacCarthy, Community Life Manager of Horticulture at Cathedral Village, shares eco-friendly daily living tips and at-home sustainable practices that resonate deeply with the residents she works alongside. She offered these guidelines for sustainable living for Presbyterian Senior Living residents, team members and friends.

Following are some guidelines to celebrate 2024 World Environment Day:

1. Recycle and compost

Woman recycling cardboard 2-1Sorting and recycling your garbage is a simple yet impactful way to reduce your environmental footprint. At Cathedral Village, residents have gone beyond recycling plastics and aluminum cans. They have connected with the Environmental Services team at Presbyterian Senior Living and the organization Back to Earth Compost Crew to compost food scraps.

In another sustainable-living effort, residents collect plastic bags to drop off at recycling stations because they can’t be thrown into a standard recycling bin. By conscientiously saving plastic bags, setting aside food scraps for compost pickup, and separating recyclables from general trash, residents contribute to the community’s broader sustainability efforts.

2. Reduce single-use plastics

One of the key initiatives spearheaded by the resident-run Environmental Stewardship Committee at Cathedral Village is reducing single-use plastics.

“Residents have worked with the dining staff to no longer use Styrofoam. They have a reusable-container program for the residents,” MacCarthy says.

Residents bring their reusable container to the dining hall to carry home takeout meals. MacCarthy also encourages residents to opt for reusable grocery bags rather than plastic ones. Choosing reusable containers for dining takeout and bags for shopping not only minimizes waste but promotes a culture of sustainability.

3. Plant native species

Native flowerPromoting biodiversity by planting native species beautifies the surroundings, supports ecosystems, and helps sustain populations of local birds, bees, and butterflies. MacCarthy suggests that residents focus on planting native, deer-resistant species such as coneflowers, bee balm, phlox, and milkweed. These plants attract pollinators, enhance wildlife habitat, and contribute to a healthier environment.

4. Start and support a green fund

Cathedral Village largely contributes to environmental sustainability. Cathedral Village residents have a Green Fund dedicated to enhancing the campus’s green spaces, MacCarthy says. Funds raised go toward the purchase of additional native trees, shrubs, and flowers for the community. Supporting the Green Fund enables residents to beautify their surroundings and invest in sustainable landscaping practices.

5. Engage in community initiatives

Participation in community-wide initiatives multiplies the impact of individual efforts. Whether joining an annual Earth Day cleanup, participating in an awareness campaign, or attending informational sessions on recycling, residents play a vital role in establishing and fostering a culture of environmental stewardship throughout Presbyterian Senior Living’s ecosystem.

World Environment Day serves as a powerful reminder of our shared responsibility to preserve and protect the planet for future generations. As we celebrate World Environment Day and embrace sustainable-living practices. It offers an opportunity to reflect on our environmental impact and take meaningful steps towards a more sustainable future.

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About Presbyterian Senior Living

PSL is a mission-driven organization that lives our values of integrity, mutual respect, creative curiosity, and connectedness. Building on a legacy of 96 years, we provide residential and care services to more than 6,000 seniors in 27 locations across the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.