Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting Riled Up Over Toxic Chemicals

How beautiful the Atlantic Ocean! If only there were no toxic chemicals in it. But plastic bags get into the water and disintegrate. Then fish eat the pieces. We eat the fish ...

I did not get to the ocean today, occupied with preparation of the cottage for guests and the writing of another op-ed on toxic chemicals in the environment. Yesterday evening I attended the second half of Town Meeting. I spoke in favor of the bio-degradable packaging article, proposed by the Recycling Commission. First, I showed off my baskets and Chico-bag.

Here's my little speech:

"Toxic chemicals in the environment are making us sick.

I just read a book called The Polluters. It’s about the strategies, used by the chemical industry over the years, to avoid regulation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has just taken a stand against toxic chemicals in the environment. Whoa, you say. What does all this have to do with biodegradable packaging? My response is EVERYTHING. We need to change the way we conduct our lives, person by person, day by day, plastic item by plastic item. We add 800 pounds of packaging per person, per year to the waste stream.

Running a green bed & breakfast has shown me that tourists do understand environmental issues. Our guests come back from dinner happier when they eat at local restaurants that have already embraced bio-degradable packaging.

Restaurant owners, think of this as an opportunity. Put your brand on reusable totes and sell them.

If Wellfleet could earn a green reputation, it would be great for all of our businesses. Let’s be the first town to take action.

I salute the Recycling Commission, for all it has accomplished, and urge you to support this article."

Sadly, the warrant article was indefinitely postponed, at the recommendation of the Board of Selectmen, unwilling to burden the town's businessmen and women in time of recession.

I spoke with Recycling Commission chair Lydia Vivante this afternoon and two members, Elspeth Hay and Andrea Pluhar, will join a task force to study a "pay as you throw" option.