Berks Nature launched the first State of the Environment report in 2008 with the philosophy of “what gets measured, gets done.”
With advice and input from local experts, Berks Nature identified 25 environmental indicators across five categories: Water, Energy, Air, Waste, and Land. The first State of the Environment report shared data on these indicators, assigning a thumbs up when the data was positive or moving in the right direction, and a thumbs down to indicate areas where we as a community needed to work harder.
Now, 15 years later, Berks Nature has published updates to these data in the State of the Environment 15-Year Report for Berks County. The publication in tandem with the 15th Annual State of the Environment Breakfast offer a valuable opportunity for reflection in which we celebrate the inspiring work and collaboration already underway, address the environmental threats to our county that still require a real investment of effort and attention, and consider how we as a community can move forward towards a more sustainable future.
Over 300 members of the Berks County community – including students, local industry and corporate representatives, and municipal leaders and county commissioners – participated in these reflections at the 15th Annual State of the Environment Breakfast on November 2, 2023. Throughout the presentation, which summarized updates to all 25 of the State of Environment indicators, Berks Nature’s President, Kim Murphy polled this diverse audience for their real-time impressions, reactions, and comments.
The audience prioritized stormwater, electricity generation and use, “bad” air days, waste disposed of in Berks County, and encroachment of development into outdoor recreation areas, as topics for Berks County (and Berks Nature) to invest additional resources and time into addressing moving forward. But of these, Berks County’s water and air resources were considered the most important for future work.
As the State of the Environment Breakfast program closed, attendees were asked to share whatever insights or personal behaviors they hoped to change as a result of what they had learned over the course of the morning. Waste was a popular focus in these reflections with many vowing to reduce their waste and recycle more.
The voices of Berks Community are clear:
”“I hope to strike change in my community to reduce waste and switch to recyclable materials.”
”“We need to emphasize stormwater management; be the voice for public transport; and encourage and empower homeowners.”
”“I can make an impact by becoming more involved!”