Tag Archives: environmental protection

Recycling to become a way of life . . . again

I am happy to announce that my wife and I are going to reside in a community that recycles.

Big deal? Yeah. It is. Princeton, Texas, is like many North Texas communities that place a premium on lessening the amount of trash we toss into landfills. Very soon, we’re going to move into our house. We’ll be returning very soon to the already-huge fraternity of Americans who receive opportunities to preserve our beloved Planet Earth.

We’ll be putting our recyclable items into bins; trucks will pick them up, empty them into bins in front of our home and take the contents to places where they’ll be repurposed, recycled and reused.

We lived for 23 years in Amarillo, a wonderful city that is generally well-run, well-administered and provides the services we all expect to get when we pay our property taxes. It doesn’t allow for “curbside” recycling. The city used to place Dumpsters at locations around town where residents could take items to be recycled. The city gave up on that effort a few years ago because too many residents were throwing non-recyclable material into the bins marked clearly for “recyclable” items.

Amarillo, therefore, is a throwaway community.

Princeton, I am happy to say, allows residents to set aside materials destined for recycling centers. We’ll recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminum. Cool, yes! You bet it is!

This is an important thing for all of us. My wife and I are fairly dedicated recyclers. We understand the value of reusing material instead of just tossing it into a landfill where it gets buried forever.

I realize this isn’t a huge groundbreaking effort. It’s not a new concept. Recycling has been part of many Americans’ life for longer than any of us can remember. However, for too long I have felt left out of that lifestyle.

I grew up in Oregon, a state that has blazed the environmental awareness trail. It introduced the “bottle bill,” a law that pays deposits for returned glass bottles. Recycling has been a way of life there for decades. There once was a huge debate in the city where I used to work over whether to build a “resource recovery” center, which would recycle household trash into steam energy.

I’m just glad to get back into the recycling game in Princeton, Texas.

EPA boss joins the ethical fray

Oh, my. The Donald J. Trump administration simply is the gift that keeps on giving.

The treasury secretary and his wife get dinged because of their spendy lifestyle; the president himself is under scrutiny over allegations that he might be violating the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. Constitution, the one that says he cannot profit personally while in office; the health secretary quits because of spendthrift habits.

Now the director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is being examined because he rents an apartment from the energy lobbyist.

Sheesh, man!

It’s bad enough that Pruitt has turned environmental protection into a sort of code for environmental destruction because of his penchant for rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations. Now there are accusations that he’s a sort of grifter, living off the good graces of people and interests with a direct tie to the policies the EPA is supposed to implement.

I’ve long thought that Pruitt was a bad fit an agency charged with protecting the environment. As Oklahoma attorney general, he made it his mission to sue the federal government constantly over rules and regulations intended to preserve and protect the only planet on which we live.

Then this guy disputes openly whether climate change is even occurring, let alone arguing that it isn’t likely caused by human beings, which of course runs counter to scientific analysis handed down over many years of study and research.

On top of all that … there are concerns about the EPA boss’s spending habits. He employs a huge security detail. CNN.com is reporting that “sources” suggest the rash of negative publicity is undermining him terribly and that his “goose is cooked.”

Hmm. We’ll  see about that.

I do not expect, in the event Pruitt joins the long list of Trump officials to hit the road, that Donald Trump is going to find a competent replacement. It’s just the new normal the president has established.


Happy Earth Day


I’m ashamed of myself.

Today is Earth Day and I damn near forgot about it.

The shame comes because every day ought to be Earth Day. Think of it. Earth is the only planet we have that suitable for human life … that we know of at this moment.

And yet we do such a terrible job of caring for it.

We wipe out forests to make room for human inhabitants.

We spew toxic gases into the air.

We dump garbage into the ocean without thinking of what it does to the wildlife that inhabits it.

We pour chemicals into the ground, poisoning animals that share this planet with us.

We encroach on wildlife habitat and react badly when one or more of those animals strikes back without understanding the consequences of that action.

I could keep going. I’ll stop there.

It gives me hope to drive along our countryside to see wind turbines turning. They are producing energy that helps us conserve the fossil fuels that we’ve already depleted. I also draw hope from the sight of hybrid automobiles that burn much less fuel than their predecessors.

I’m not going to issue condemnations with this brief post.

Instead, I choose to lament that Earth Day doesn’t reap the kind of international attention that we bestow on so many other such events.

Every day ought to be Earth Day.

Maybe one day when all of us here today have left this world, there’ll be an escape for those who come along after us if they don’t do a better job of caring for this world than others have done so far.

For now and for the foreseeable future, though, Planet Earth is all we have.

Let’s take care of it.