When the Green Community Act was embraced here in Newburyport; it meant that we, as a city would begin to become “Green”. This is not some light-hearted affair sticking a solar panel there, and an electric charging station here; it is a serious commitment. Being green is actually turning around and changing our lifestyle to become a better community. Green communities are tightly defined and the practices are being observed all over our country – and just in time as environmental impacts of pollution and waste are beginning to overwhelm our health system, and our environment. As Pope Francis recently noted, “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Recently, a fellow blogger has decided to become the unofficial apologist for the consumer wasters in our city; elevating their intense desire for “comfort” over health issues, environmental impacts and the negative affects to our community.
As has been demonstrated recently, a great number of people have adjusted to the plastic bag ordinance; businesses have compensated and lifestyles have been altered to the new reality of brown and cloth bags. It’s actually been a weird ritual trying to wade through cardboard boxes piling up in the basement until you can’t move and then filling up the car to return them all.
This all happened because the city took leadership and implemented a change. But when it comes to the principles of a ‘Green Community’; the city has decided to surrender it all for money – more money can be generated filling up our landfills with construction debris, receiving in large quantities of construction product transported from far away with much energy; and pushing for petroleum and artificial products that have a built-in shelf life of no more than 20 years. Worse, the receiving in of these short-lived items that are supposed to be so new and shiny and energy efficient can never be recouped because the savings from greater efficiency will not be compensated for in monies from 10 to 80 years.* Just as they pay off, they in turn must be cast into the landfill!
The city needs to take leadership and begin to take concrete action to stop the wholesale ripping and gutting of long-lived materials. In my next post, I will show you the real components of a Green Community.
We need to cast off this hypocrisy, face the fact that what we claim to be doing does not match our reality. The Building Department as well as the Planning & Development Department as well as the Health Department need to take leadership action to convince, educate and promote in order for us to have a truly sustainable community.
Once you see what a true Green Community is, then you will know what will need to be done in our city; and to stop the destruction so thoroughly being perpetuated from the Corner office to our local developers.
- 2012 Report, Cascadia Green Building Council in Partnership with Skanska and the National Trust for Historic Places.