Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 122 - Letters to the Editor

Calling Bullshit When I See It

Have you noticed how commercial environmentalism has become? Everyone from movie stars to football franchises, governments and even giant BoxMart stores all want to be seen as environmentally friendly. And that's great, as long as they're backing up all the talk with action.


Don't try to tell me it's green when it's black -- I'm not color blind. And now, inspired by my daily dose of Blue Girl, Red State, I WILL call you on it.

Example: One week ago, our county decided to ban new residents from participating in the bi-weekly curbside recycling (to save money, of course). The story got a mention on the late night news, but that was about it. The next week, there was a HUGE - I'm talking front page - write up about how the county was on the cutting edge of green-ness and was a leader in the arena of environmental protection and waste management.

Smell bullshit? I did. And so, for the first time ever, I actually sat down and wrote a "Letter to the Editor". I might not be the most eloquent writer, but if I don't call it out, who will? I can't sit back and hope others will put their neck on the line, just because I don't want people to think I'm "one of those" angry, letter-writing people. Here's what I wrote:

There was an interesting article in this week's Richmond Times Dispatch's Sunday Pullout about Chesterfield's waste division being accepted into the EPA's Performance Track program. While I do applaud their efforts to recycle vehicle oil to heat buildings, I really think it would be a stretch to say that Chesterfield County's Waste Program is a "leader in the country".

Just last week, the Water and Resource Recovery Department instituted a ban that would prohibit new residents from participating in the curbside recycling program. If Chesterfield County really wanted to be a leader in environmental protection, they could begin by not only allowing, but REQUIRING all residents and business to recycle their paper, glass and aluminum. And would, of course, follow through by providing the necessary curbside resources to support such a mandate.

I'm pleased to see that Chesterfield County's application to the EPA PT program was accepted (as virtually all applicants are), however, perhaps instead of applying for government funded programs that lower their priority for routine inspections, they could put their resources to better use by maintaining the county's sorely needed curbside recycling program.

Not exactly poetry, but I think I got my point across. Hopefully this will draw some attention to the fact that while being able to slap a cool EPA logo on your letterhead is nice, what is more important is to ensure that all of our residents are able to do one of the most basic of environmental tasks: RECYCLE.


None. :-(

Difficulty Level: 4 out of 5

Why so difficult? Well, despite all my tough talk about calling people out, it is something I HATE TO DO. I'm always afraid of offending people (makes you wonder why I don't shut my mouth more often then, doesn't it?). My fear is that this decision was made by someone with great intentions and here I am crapping all over their idea. Part of me secretly hopes the newspaper doesn't publish it!


Kerry said...

But if they don't publish it, chances are that other people who have the same thoughts won't get the chance to feel like maybe they're not alone in their thinking. You never know what's gonna mobilize people. Congrats on a great letter!

Green Bean said...

I'm with you. It is really hard for me to write letters to the editor or senators or whomever. I feel that I won't do a good job writing it or sometimes it is just too hard to sit down and write it. I'm inspired to make more of an effort to speak out. It is so hard but probably one of the most effective things we can do. :)

gregra&gar said...

you go girl

leslie said...

First, let me say how proud I am of you.
Second, GREAT letter.
If you don't speak up, how would anyone know what you might be thinking?
I have recently become a "neck-sticker-outer" person. It is scary to do. What I find, though, is that when I speak out on something that is important to me, other people then gather the courage to say "Me, too!"
People forget that public 'officials' work for us, the taxpayer. They are in office at our behest. They are our employees.

Shannon said...

I'm with Greg & Gar - you go girl! You make me proud to be a Brown :) (non-related readers will not understand this...)

lavonne said...

Yay! You are an inspiration, thank you! Another thing we can all try to do is take advantage of the comment section after most newspapers' articles. That way, you're guaranteed of getting it published, at least online, and a lot of people read those comments.

Anonymous said...

REQUIRED recycling? Sure why not. While we're at at, let's mandate that all citizens must limit their showers to 3 minutes (Venezuela), must only have 1 child per family (China), must only wear government approved uniforms and live in government provided housing. There is not limit to the freedoms that can and will be destroyed by allowing the government to have unlimited powers.

I believe that people are generally good, that recycling is a great thing, and that given the opportunity and the ability, most people will make the right decision - to recycle BY CHOICE!

Government should not mandate- can you imagine throwing a little old lady in jail for tossing a napkin into the wrong bin? That is not realistic, and should now be a power that free citizens are offering up to their government.