My Turn: Greenfield: ban plastic bags


Friday, June 29, 2018

Oddly enough, I read this proposed My Turn to my husband for his critique and on the next morning, I read my arguments in the Recorder’s editorial. I was delighted to see that the Recorder and I agree on this. We can’t have too many voices speaking up on this important issue.

Recently, Danvers, became the 79th community in Massachusetts to establish a ban on single-use plastic bags. According to the Website mass-green.org, this brings to 36 percent the percentage of Massachusetts residents who have voted to do away with this unnecessary item.

When we could all be carrying re-usable bags or, in a pinch, paying a few cents for a biodegradable paper bag, it seems impossible that the people of Greenfield would persist in demanding that stores provide them with plastic bags that are rarely recycled and never biodegrade back to nature. What’s more, the same bags that “decorate” our trees, clog our waterways, choke and kill whales and other sea life are made from petroleum and thus compete with our cars and our furnaces for this resource.

Is it OK to us that the petroleum that it took the planet thousands of years to form is being used to make plastic bags that are used for a few minutes and discarded? Is it acceptable to us that we so callously waste this fuel which, in the end, is lending itself to the destruction of our atmosphere?

I believe that the residents of Greenfield are at least as concerned for our planet as 36 percent of our Massachusetts neighbors. I simply refuse to believe that we are so married to our little conveniences that we can’t even give up plastic bags. Neither do I think that we are so unimaginative that we can’t figure out how to live without them.

The people of Greenfield have consistently shown that they care about the condition of the world. These are the people who rejected the wood pellet factory because of our concern for water and air quality here in town. These same people have fought the building of a pipeline through Otis State Forest and our neighboring towns and passed a Sustainability Plan that lead the town to greatly reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn in all kinds of ways. This is the city, after all, that was the first in Massachusetts to be named a Green Community.

Many of us have insulated our homes, added on solar panels, purchased energy-efficient cars, ride bicycles, buy organic foods from local farmers, and more, all in the name of protecting the earth and maintaining an atmosphere in which we all can go on living comfortably. Countless of us have worked to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from the damages of Hurricane Maria because we care about each other. Is it possible that we wouldn’t also agree to give up the mindless convenience of using destructive single-use plastic bags?

City Councilors Sheila Gilmour and Tim Dolan will be presenting to the City Council Appointments and Ordinances Committee a proposal to ban single-use plastic bags. This proposed ordinance is based on the one that is in effect in Cambridge and would give the citizens of Greenfield another chance to take this important step.

Please contact your own and all the at-large city councilors to urge them to vote in favor of passing this ordinance and place one more feather in Greenfield’s green cap. Let us hold our heads high knowing that we are taking this one more important step in defense of the planet we all love so much.

You can find all the councilors’ contact information at greenfield-ma.gov, under Departments, then Town Council.

Show your support for this next important step in Greenfield’s efforts to do all we can to save our planet.

Louise Amyot is a Greenfield resident.