April 25, 2012

Down in the Dumps - Some Throw-away Reflections

Discarded whiskey flask (Lyndeborough Glass Co. bottle, c. late 1800's),
found in Fairhaven Bay basin in 2012
On the eve of this year's 42nd annual Earth Day, I mused about its inaugural year when friends and I took bags in hand and went to comb the roadsides for trash.  Walking down one of the lovelier and wilder thoroughfares in our community, where woods and wildflowers met the pavement, I remember the moment when my teenage consciousness took a dramatic shift.  Here amongst the green and the blossoms, lay endless quantities of beer and liquor bottles, cans, old buckets, pieces of leather, cigarette packages, fast food trash (a relatively new phenomenon), bed springs, an old frig, tires, and so on.  Growing up during a time when hardly anyone gave a second thought to tossing trash out of car windows, pouring industrial waste into our air and waterways, and buying increasing quantities of disposable wares for their "ease and efficiency," few of us were mindful of the connections and consequences these actions had on our local landscape, our personal lives, or the Earth's well-being as a whole.

Old trash dump in Concord woods
The simple, intentional act of walking along a beautiful wooded roadway to collect a bit of trash on Earth Day, only to discover it was a significant dumping ground for local residents and passersby (some who were likely my friends), triggered a revelation about the consequences of our consumer driven culture that has motivated a long road of preservation advocacy ever since.


I now live in a foresighted community whose programs for recycling, freecycling, land conservation, eating locally, and municipal energy sustainability have become national inspirations.  Tonight, our Town Meeting will, for a third time, be taking up a vote to ban bottled water sales in the town.  This is an initiative that may feel as inconvenient and inconceivable to some as did many of the ideas of environmental responsibility and cleanup that emerged in the pioneering days of the 1970's.  But on closer inspection, our intentional shift away from dependence on bottled water could have huge implications for reining in a global plastics trash issue that's out of control, protecting water sovereignty for our community aquifers (from multinational corporate interests), and stimulating creative solutions for portable, potable drinking water solutions that are environmentally sustainable.

Plastic bottles TAP sculpture,  by Turville, Lawson, et al - supporting TM Article 32

1 comment:

  1. A teachable moment continues as Concord citizens hopefully will come together to help local businesses, tourist services, and households find creative solutions to our portable potable water needs. If we can demonstrate the success of our vote on the back end, other communities may feel inspired to follow.

    For more details on the Article and its passage, see: http://www.wickedlocal.com/concord/mobiletopstories/x1780494920/Concord-Town-Meeting-passes-bylaw-banning-bottled-water-sales?img=2#axzz1t485OiXH

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