Letter: Caring for the Earth takes everyone

letters_flatTo the editor,

On April 22, Earth Day will be celebrated in communities around the country. This date marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day which dates back to 1970 brought to light the emerging consciousness of environmental concerns.

Earth Day should not be a once a year event. Care for our environment cannot just be the concern and responsibility of our elected officials, conservation organizations or a few conscientious citizens. It takes every person to do their part to protect our environment and requires surprisingly little effort.

The Beacon Falls Conservation Commission is working with the town’s leadership and other town commissions not only to preserve the valuable asset of our rural community, but to educate and advocate for the proper care and use of the town’s valuable natural resources.

One important initiative of the commission this year is to update its website (www.beaconfallsconservation.com) to provide useful links to a variety of environmental resources. For instance, if one was looking to dispose of a printer ink cartridge, a visit to our website shows that the Beacon Falls Library collects these cartridges as one of its revenue sources. Another example for using this site might be to discover the name of a new invasive plant growing in the back yard.

Knowledge is the first step in protecting our natural resources. Understanding the impact of washing one’s car near a storm water drain, not recycling waste or tossing ornamental bittersweet (an invasive species) outside in the yard adversely impacts our environment.

As First Selectman Gerald Smith communicated in his September 2012 letter to residents, Beacon Falls is part of “single stream recycling” program. This means that  every household should  purchase a large trash receptacle, label it “Recycling” and place all numbered plastic containers, paper and cardboard (broken down into manageable pieces), into this separate container. Our town pays for all items placed in your trash containers by the ton, but is only reimbursed for the recyclables. If every household separates trash and recyclables, as well as attempts to reduce the amount of trash and increase the amount of recyclables, this will result in both economic as well as ecological benefits for Beacon Falls.

Let’s celebrate Earth Day every day. Together we can make a difference.

Diane Betkoski

Chair, Conservation Commission

Beacon Falls

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