Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Excuse Me While I Have A Fit

There has been a lot of commotion about the Southbridge Landfill over the past few months, and well there should be. Landfills are ancient history. Many towns no longer allow them, and the old dumps, and landfills have been filled, capped and pipes placed in them to allow the tremendous amount of methane gas to warm our atmosphere further.

So what do we do?

We recycle as much as possible. In 2008 we cannot become a nation that has a policy of "zero waste". No, not yet. That will come, in time, but today, it is impossible. Manufacturers have to change packaging of their products to being 100% recyclable, and the town must mandate recycling for its residents if that is ever to occur.

Currently, there is no mandatory recycling bylaw in town. Other towns have it. We don't. If we want to have curbside recycling we must pay our rubbish removal company more money.

Strange. We pay them more to take away recyclable things that they get paid more by the ton by the recycler.

Talk about double dipping.

Burying our trash for future generations to suffer the consequences from it is so 1960's.

Hello. It's 2008. Trash processing has come light years since then. Whole plants take a load of trash and through multiple conveyor belts, magnets and other machinery sort out the metal, wood, refuse, and garbage. What can be recycled is recycled, what is organic, and can be used used as the basis of organic fertilizer. Wood is sent off to co-generation power plants, or chipped into something useful.

But, burying our trash?

In 2008?

That act alone is enough to mandate a psychological exam on all those involved in giving the go ahead for such a ludicrous project.

Meanwhile, the company that will be trucking the tons of trash to Southbridge is on Cloud Nine. They actually found a place in the Commonwealth that still allows stuff to be buried for future archaeologist to dig up and study, and to verify that we were pretty damn stupid. Just as the Romans ate off of lead plates and with leaden utensils, we poisoned ourselves, too.

I'm all for incineration, too. A few thousand degrees of fire, some hi tech scrubbers in the smoke stacks, and we will be far better off than dumping it in the ground and covering it with some plastic and clay.

Talk about "thinking out loud". I think I am actually ranting.

You see, I have little tolerance for stupidity. The kind of stupidity that comes from ones genes I can understand, I have my moments, but the stupidity coming from refusal to learn fully about a subject, take the easy, and more dangerous way out, and just being a "good friend" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) of a business, I can't tolerate.

And, neither should you.

Heck, I'm miles away from this disaster. We'll be away from the smells. Our water should be fine while I am here on this planet, but anyone south and east of downtown Fiskdale should worry.

Worry a lot.

If Southbridge wants to be put on the map as one of last places to allow wholesale dumping and burying of trash within its borders, go down in history being known for solely that, and being voiced in the same sentence as Woburn, and Ashland then it is NOT OK. There is too much at stake here.

Public safety. The health and welfare of the public. More than words. They account for a great many of the laws in the Commonwealth. Why would burying present and future poisons be any different?

The folks that are fighting this landfill are going about it ass backwards. Don't fight the landfill. The trash company has it made, and that is a whole other subject. Fight what is trash, and where the trash can go. Make mandatory recycling a law. Nothing gets picked up, or dropped off unless it is separated, and sent to a recycler. Nothing comes into to town to be disposed of unless it meets that requirement, and if it does, then Southbridge gets a piece of the pie. Heck, it's their land.

Don't get all balled up worrying about access roads through wetlands to the dump, or any other "back way" offense. It won't work. Not at this time. Too much money has been passed around, and much more will be spent to fight it.

Take a stand, and make not only a statement for the health and welfare of ourselves, but for those little brown eyes that stare across the table at you at dinner. Do it for their kids.

I am the furthest thing from a tree hugging , anti-trash, recycling extremist. I toss my soda cans in the trash. I won't spend the extra money to the trash collector so he can take my recyclables away and make more money. I won't even take the time to go to the recycling center and separate my plastics and glass. It's not that I don't care about the earth. I do. But, I am just like the majority of you. If it is OK to mix my glass and cans in the trash with my newspapers, and no one is going to get their shorts all in a bunch, then I'll do it, too.

But, if you make disposing of our trash more of a challenge to me, like Worcester does for its residents, then I am one of the herd like everyone else. I'll do it, too.

Change the laws. Make what they plan on doing impossible to do here, and they either adapt and make some serious coin from recycling, or they move on and another, brighter and more ambitious company takes their place.

There. I'm done. I've got to take a breath.

And, take out my trash.

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