The Green Report

Ohio's attack on renewable energies

On Monday, July 12, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law SB 52. This bill specifically targets wind and solar projects in Ohio. Prior to this bill, all energy projects had to apply first- and only- to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) for approval. OPSB is a governor-appointed/senate-approved board comprised of energy experts.

With the passage of SB 52, businesses that would like to build wind and solar farms in Ohio must now hold a public meeting in the county they are proposing their project at least 90 days before applying to OPSB. This gives county commissions the power to reject a specific project or ban wind and solar projects altogether in the county. However, citizens would still be able to canvass signatures and put the restricted development up for popular vote.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 10:24 AM, 07.20.2021

Too much garb in the garbage!

Many people I know think of recycling in terms of plastics, cans, glass, etc. However, we have a global problem with unwanted clothing.

According to the EPA, 84% of discarded clothing ends up in the landfill. In the last 20 years, Americans have doubled the amount of clothes they trash a year from 7 million tons to 14 million tons, which equates to about 80 pounds a year per person. Furthermore, more than 60 percent of fabric fibers made today are synthetic and made from fossil fuels, so when these clothing items end up in a landfill, they will never decay – they will sit there for however many thousands of years with all of the other plastic waste that’s thrown into the trash.

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 10:30 AM, 07.06.2021

Learning more about green burials

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the Bay Village Green Team was going to host Chad McGreevey, funeral director at Zeis-McGreevey Funeral Home in Lakewood and Berry-McGreevey Funeral Home in Westlake. Chad is one of 13 owner/operators licensed by the Green Burial Council out of 1,300 funeral homes in Ohio. To obtain this certification, rigourous standards and qualifications must be met. The Zoom meeting, held on May 10, was extremely informative, and I wanted to share some of what I learned.

The “lawn” cemetery became popular in the Victorian era, and the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers within these types of cemeteries have become very common. Among the 22,500 cemeteries in the United States, 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluid – which includes 827,060 gallons of formaldehyde – are buried EVERY YEAR. In addition to this, also buried yearly are 20 million board feet of hardwood, 1.6 tons of concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze as well as 64,000 tons of steel. Burials today have evolved into being anything BUT environmentally sustainable.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 10:19 AM, 06.02.2021

Jane Goodall, still making a difference at 87

On a recent road trip, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard," and Jane Goodall was the guest. If you are not aware of who Jane Goodall is, she studied the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees for 60 years. She is currently 87 years young and is still considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. If you get a chance to listen to her in an interview or otherwise, please do it. She is amazing and continues to make big impacts on the world in the areas of conservation and animal welfare.

In 1977, Jane Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) with the mission to protect the chimpanzees she studied in Gombe, Tanzania, from habitat destruction and illegal trafficking, as well as expand efforts on conservation and environmental education. In 1991, Jane was working with students in Tanzania and discussed how and what young people can do to better the world, and her program “Roots & Shoots” was born. Learning about “Roots & Shoots” was what inspired me to write about Jane and her mission in my column this week.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 10:12 AM, 05.18.2021

Chop down that tree!

Are you shocked by the title? That I’m asking you to cut trees down? I wrote about this environmental problem two years ago and I’m returning to the subject again as spring is a popular time to plant trees.

My goal is for you to learn about the problem of the invasive pear trees and to then take action by cutting down pear trees that you have, encouraging friends and family to do the same, and then choosing native trees to plant instead of the pear trees.

Pear trees are everywhere right now – they are so noticeable in the spring because of their white flowers and symmetrical shape … however, if you’ve ever walked near one in bloom, you’ll know their flowers smell pretty gross. Please keep reading to find out why their stinky smell is the least of the problems with these trees.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:42 AM, 04.20.2021

Bay Village Green Team to host expert in green burials

On Monday, May 10, the Bay Village Green Team will hold their quarterly meeting and will be showcasing a speaker, Chad McGreevey, to discuss what a “green” burial is and what it means when you choose one. Chad is a member of the Green Burial Council and is an owner of Zeis-McGreevey Funeral Home in Lakewood and Berry-McGreevey Funeral Home in Westlake. This will be a virtual meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. For a link please visit our Facebook page or visit our website and join our email mailing list to be emailed a link: bayvillagegreenteam.org.

I know this isn’t the most pleasant topic, however it is an important one to think about and discuss with your loved ones, as we know the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.06.2021

This one is for the women only

This week’s column is for specifically the ladies out there. I have been contemplating writing about this for a while, and I finally decided to do it. This week, I want to discuss the waste involved with “that time of the month.” If you consider all the women in the world and how much is thrown away monthly, it adds up to a LOT of unnecessary waste. That’s right, it’s unnecessary.  

An average woman will use between 5,000 and 15,000 pads and/or tampons in her lifetime. And we all know the actual product is not just the problem: tampons and pads are usually packaged with plastic wrap and a plastic applicator (it is not easy to find the original, cardboard applicators these days). Pads incorporate even more plastic as they are made with a leak-proof base and other synthetic materials. The cardboard packaging boxes they are sold in create more paper waste.

As women, how can we avoid this? I have the answer: A menstrual cup. I know when I first heard about this and considered it about 10 years ago, I was like “no way.” However, after doing research on it, I opened my mind a bit and decided to try it back then, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:26 AM, 03.16.2021

The tale of the donut holder

I’m going to start off my column this week with a tale:

Your neighbor, Bob, decides he wants to start a donut shop in town. Good donuts are hard to find, so everyone thinks this is a wonderful idea. The city government even votes to give Bob a tax subsidy because they also strongly believe good donuts should be easily accessible to everyone in town.

Bob’s donuts are special, and with each donut comes a donut holder. It’s the way these particular special donuts are made and the use of the donut holder is unavoidable. You start buying a donut every day, so do your neighbors. You start noticing that you have much more trash, as donut holders are being thrown away every day. You also start to notice that your neighbors have the same issue, with their trash cans overflowing. Pretty soon, you start noticing empty donut holders on the streets, at the parks, and just about everywhere.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:48 AM, 03.02.2021

Become a recycling ambassador!

I recently earned the title “Recycling Ambassador” by completing an 8-hour program with the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District (CCSWD). Before you think this is an exclusive title, please know that you too can be a Recycling Ambassador!

What does this mean and how does one go about earning this title? A Recycling Ambassador is a resident of Cuyahoga County who has a passion for ensuring as much waste is kept out of the landfill as possible and knowing how to dispose of different kinds of waste properly. The program was taught by an employee of the CCSWD for four, two-hour sessions over four weeks on Zoom. The course is offered 3-4 times a year, with the next session starting Wednesday, March 3.

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 11:06 AM, 02.16.2021

No. 1 thing you can do to reduce your impact on climate change

In all of my columns, I write about simple actions each of us can take to help the earth, and when our actions add up collectively, we indeed make a difference. Today, my column is about the power you have, as an individual, to reduce the impact of climate change – the action you can take to reduce and redirect your food waste.  

Food waste accounts for about 40% of what is sent to landfill, and is therefore the largest component of what goes into the landfill. When food is sent to the landfill, it breaks down and it produces methane. Methane is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. What if I told you that very soon you could divert 100% of your food waste from the landfill without having to compost at home? It’s true!

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.19.2021

Greening your holidays

As we unpack and update decorations, purchase gifts, and replace electronics, it’s not easy to determine how to appropriately dispose of the things we no longer want. I am going to provide you with suggestions about how to discard of some of these things in ways that are earth-friendly.

Do you have old Christmas lights that no longer work? Please do not toss these into your trash. Rather, bring them to the Bay Village Hazardous Waste Collection on Dec. 18. On this date they will accept light strands for recycling. Please drop them off at the Service Center, 31300 Naigle Road, between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Are you purchasing new holiday lights? Please buy energy efficient LED light decorations to cut down your use of electricity during the holiday season.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:55 AM, 12.15.2020

Westlake Scout installs pollinator garden

In November, the city of Westlake gained a new pollinator garden, thanks to Grant Junkins, a Westlake High School senior who has lived in Westlake for 10 years.

The “Clague Memorial Pollinator Garden” is located at the Clague Playhouse on Clague Road, south of Detroit. The entire project was planned, developed, and led by Grant as part of his quest to earn Eagle rank as a Boy Scout. Grant is currently a Life Rank Boy Scout and has been involved with scouting since he was in second grade. He is working toward his Eagle rank in Troop 225 of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church.

Eagle is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve. To earn Eagle, specific criteria must be met that includes the earning of merit badges as well as completing service hours. Only 4 percent of scouts earn their Eagle rank!

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 10:05 AM, 12.01.2020

Cleaning during Covid

As with everything this year, we all need to roll with the punches – in other words, be ready for changes at any time. A recent change that is important for Westlake residents to be aware of: Simple Recycling has suspended service until the spring, unless we see a change for the better in Covid numbers. Bay Village residents: For now the city is still on the weekly route, however be prepared for this to change at any given time. Thank you to all of you out there who use Simple Recycling on a regular basis to keep as much out of the landfill as possible.

So, what to do with your stuff that you were going to put out on the curb for Simple Recycling? Easter Seals is still doing pick-ups in the area so please check their website, www.easterseals.com/noh, or call 1-800-708-2716 for details. Additionally, Savers in Rocky River is still accepting donations, but please make sure you confirm that before you drive over there. Donations to Savers also benefit Easter Seals and are tax deductible.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:22 AM, 11.17.2020

Political Signs: What do we do with them after the election?

Driving around Bay Village and Westlake, I am heartened to see so many political signs as it indicates an enthusiasm and energy for participating in this November’s General Election. Voter engagement is critical for our democracy and everyone should take part in our civic duty.

After an election I am always concerned about what happens to those signs which are used for only a matter of weeks. I know plenty end up in the landfill after every election and throwing them in the trash is the last thing people should do. So, what can you do with them?

First and foremost, if the sign is for a local candidate, you should contact them to see if they are collecting their signs back. This is actually quite common with local candidates, and many want their signs back. If giving the sign back is not an option but you know the candidate will likely be up for re-election at some point, please consider storing it for use the next time around. If neither of those are options, the next “greenest” choice is to reuse or repurpose them.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:20 AM, 10.20.2020

A new lawnmower for me

In typical 2020 fashion, when it seems that everything that can go wrong will, my 20-year-old gas lawnmower finally had its last grass cutting. Honestly, I'm not too sad about it. I don't love that we have to spend money on a new one, but it provided me an opportunity to buy an electric one!  

I have written about environmentally friendly mowers in the past, but never had any personal experience. I researched and read blogs about different options. There are two main brands that get the best reviews in the electric/battery powered lawnmower world: Ego and Greenworks. There are other brands out there that have great reviews, but I found that these two seem to be the major players. I decided on the Ego brand based on the size of my yard and how long I need the battery to last for one cutting.

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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 9:57 AM, 10.06.2020

Bringing back reusable bags

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the pandemic pollution, namely disposable masks and gloves and how the proper disposal of these items is very important to ensure that they do not make their way into the environment. This week, I’m going to revisit the plastic bag issue.

At the beginning of the pandemic, reusable bags suddenly were not allowed into stores, and for good reason as it was not well known how COVID-19 was spreading. However, we now know that the main risk (per the CDC) is to be in close contact with a person who has the disease. The CDC does state that it's not impossible to get it from a contaminated surface, however that is not the main source of transmission.

Also, when you think about grocery shopping, by the time the items get to the bagger, the customer has already touched them, the cashier has touched them, and the last person to touch them is the bagger.

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Volume 12, Issue 18, Posted 10:23 AM, 09.15.2020

Supplementing your children's e-learning

This school year is like none other and there truly are no good answers. Every parent of a school-aged child is completely stressed for a million different reasons. I have been thinking about some hands-on activities to do to supplement the virtual learning that kids will be doing on the screen.

I realize so many parents are both working and struggling to ensure their child doesn’t fall behind, so these are simple, family friendly activities that can be done anytime, and they will promote interest and learning in the environment and sciences.

First, I think a great thing to do (also happens to be the most simple), is to talk to your kids about how their actions impact the earth. For example, you can talk during a meal about avoiding single-use plastics, and how the lake and the oceans have so much plastic in them, and how they can make a difference by making smart choices.

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 9:18 AM, 08.18.2020

Pandemic Pollution

During the lockdown in the spring, the world was able to take a deep breath of fresh air as life came to a screeching halt. Cars and trucks were not being driven, factories paused production, and life slowed down. All of this added up to a huge decrease in carbon dioxide emissions and each of us could breathe easier for a while.

Now, as we have begun to live a little bit more “normally,” the world is facing another pollution problem: disposable face masks. Face masks are absolutely crucial to preventing the spread of Covid-19. Please use a face mask, disposable or otherwise, anytime you are in public and always follow local rules and regulations.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 10:08 AM, 07.21.2020

Enjoy your own (healthy) lawn this summer

Many of us have had our summer plans upended by the coronavirus pandemic and are going to be enjoying our own yards more than ever. Having a healthy lawn is not only important for the health of you and your family, but for the health of wildlife and Lake Erie.

Weed-free, lush, green lawns. Many people strive for this; I tell my kids not to play on them and while walking I actively avoid lawns that have the little “chemical lawn application” sign posted. Why?

I have many reasons for avoiding “perfect” lawns. Lawn perfection typically comes at a high cost. A cost to Lake Erie, a cost to wild animals, and a cost to our health. It is estimated that more than a billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides are used by homeowners in the United States a year.

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Volume 12, Issue 12, Posted 9:44 AM, 06.16.2020

The importance of planting natives

Native plants are defined as those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. After reading this column, I hope you'll have a better understanding of why it’s important to plant native trees and plants in your yard.

Over the past century, urbanization has occurred in the United States: 54% of the land in the lower 48 states is made up of cities and suburbs, and 41% is made up of agriculture. We, as humans, have taken over 95% of nature. Lawns and exotic ornamental plants have taken over ecologically productive land. Lawns cover over 40 million acres in the United States, and over 3,400 species of alien plants have invaded 100 million acres, and that is expected to continue to increase.

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 10:37 AM, 06.02.2020

Bay residents clear debris from Cahoon Creek

The 2020 Bay Village Spring Waterways Cleanup took place along Cahoon Creek on Saturday, May 16. This event is sponsored annually by the Bay Village Green Team, Bay High School’s Project Earth Club, The Village Foundation, and the City of Bay Village. This year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the cleanup looked a little different but still provided the same results.

A total of 22 volunteers of all ages met near the top of the sledding hill along Cahoon Creek between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Groups of less than 10 were sent out to pick up trash along the creek to Lake Erie. Volunteers provided their own gloves and were strongly encouraged to use face masks and bring their own bags. Large garbage bags were provided to anyone who didn’t bring one. A limited number of trash grabbers were available to use too.

Due to storms the day before, Cahoon Creek was much deeper and rougher than normal. Unfortunately this means a lot of trash that had been on the sides of the creek was swept out to Lake Erie before the cleanup, however volunteers were still able to collect over 70 pounds! A large percentage of the waste found is plastic, which does not weigh much, so 70 pounds is impressive.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 11:28 AM, 05.19.2020

Staying eco-friendly while staying at home

I hope this issue of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer finds you all healthy and safe. We will all get through this together! That being said, things are changing very quickly and I want to review some changes that affect you right now.

In both Westlake and Bay Village, Simple Recycling curbside pick-up is suspended until further notice. If you have those bags filling up like I do, please find a good spot to store them until service resumes. I would hate for those items to be placed in the trash because there is a temporary service disruption!

There will be no hazardous waste or computer drop-off in Westlake for May. Please see the city website for a make-up day (not yet rescheduled). In Bay Village curbside yard waste and bulk pickup will resume on April 21.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 9:00 AM, 04.21.2020

Take time to smell the flowers

Yes, we’ve all heard that saying and we all know what it means. With the outbreak of COVID-19 and everything being shut down and canceled, there has never been a better time for each of us to do just that: “take time to smell the flowers.”

Our everyday lives have shifted and slowed down dramatically – whether we wanted them to or not. The COVID-19 pandemic is scary and stressful and there’s nothing that any of us can do but to listen to the experts and stay away from gatherings of people and wash our hands the best we’ve ever done. But none of that means that we need to stay inside!

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.17.2020

Spring cleaning in 2020

Each year as spring approaches I notice a lot more junk being set out on the curb on bulk pick-up days. I understand this, as purging your house of unwanted items feels so good! It takes a lot of work and motivation to go through all of your things to determine what you still want and need and what you no longer use, and when you’re done you just want it OUT!

However, I ask that you please consider other options before placing your things in the trash. First, if it is still usable in any way, please consider boxing it up and taking it over to Savers in Rocky River, which is close to both Bay Village and Westlake. Their drop-off donations benefit Easter Seals so your donation is tax-deductible. You can drop off clothing, household items, decorations, plates, silverware, games, etc.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:59 AM, 03.03.2020

Tree hugger? We all should be.

Trees are social. Yep, you read that right! Scientific evidence has shown that trees of the same species living in forests are communal and form alliances with each other. They connect to each other underground, through their root system, that some have dubbed the “wood-wide web.” Through these networks the trees are able to share water and nutrients as well as send warnings about disease or insect attacks. It has been observed that trees respond to these signals in the “web.”

Researchers and scientists from different locations in the world have studied forests of trees and have observed this nurturing behavior between trees and how they help each other. Why do the trees do this? Isn’t there competition for survival of the fittest, you might ask? Well, for trees, a healthy, stable forest is where they will survive the longest, so it makes sense that each individual tree is attempting to help the forest as a whole remain a healthy place.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 9:51 AM, 02.04.2020

The Green New Deal: Any way to pay for it?

In my last column, I wrote about the Green New Deal after I attended a speaker hosted by Westshore FaCT. I attended the next speaker in the series on Jan. 7 about how to pay for it. The speaker was Raul Carrillo, a research fellow at the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

As I had not yet researched funding for the Green New Deal, I went into the session with a completely open mind other than knowing the Green New Deal is a radical plan that requires billions of dollars. What I learned during the speech was completely new information to me.

Before you read on, I want to remind you that I am not an economist, and I never pretend to be one! I also want you to know that my hope is that this column will inspire you to research this issue on your own. I do not want to influence anyone’s opinion about this issue; I would like to simply introduce you to this idea as it is worth your time to understand it better.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:49 AM, 01.21.2020

What is the Green New Deal?

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, I attended the West Shore FaCT (Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future) presentation with speaker, Patrick Murray, at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church. Mr. Murray is the convener of the NEO Coalition for a Green New Deal and along with being a medical doctor for 26 years, he has worked throughout his life on social, economic and racial justice.

Mr. Murray presented and spoke about the Green New Deal proposed legislation, U.S. House Resolution 109. The Green New Deal is comprised of two sets of goals, the first being the production of clean energy to reduce carbon emissions to slow climate change and the second being to focus on solutions to poverty, unaffordable healthcare and infrastructure needs. The Green New Deal legislation sets goals and projects to be accomplished over a 10-year national mobilization effort.

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Volume 11, Issue 24, Posted 10:11 AM, 12.17.2019

All of us need to keep our garb out of the garbage

Many people I know think of recycling in terms of plastics, cans, glass, etc. However, the world has a global problem when it comes to unwanted clothing. According to the EPA, 84 percent of discarded clothing ends up in the landfill. In that last 20 years, Americans have doubled the amount of clothes they trash per year from 7 million tons to over 15 million tons, which equates to about 80 pounds per person annually. Of this amount, only 2.6 million tons were recycled; 3.1 million tons were combusted for energy recovery; and 10.5 million tons were sent to the landfill. 

The problem of what to do with unwanted clothing is so large that there is currently no good way to deal with it all. Instead of putting it in your trash, you may think that recycling it is a good idea. There are different ways to do this: you can put it in your Simple Recycle bags and place on the curb in Bay Village and Westlake, or you can bring it to a store with clothing recycling, such as H&M, to discard it.

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 9:31 AM, 11.19.2019

Community series about Green New Deal

Have you wondered about what the Green New Deal is? What does it propose and how in the world might it be funded? You are not alone. It seems that many people do not know about the Green New Deal or maybe they have heard about it but do not know much about the details.The West Shore FaCT group hopes to change that by hosting a monthly speaker series on the topic.

The West Shore FaCT (Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future) is hosting an eight-speaker series once a month starting Nov. 5. The kick-off speaker will be Dr. Eric Schreiber, and will start at 7 p.m. The West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church (20401 Hilliard Blvd. in Rocky River) will host each guest speaker on the first Tuesday of the month, November through June.

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Volume 11, Issue 21, Posted 9:25 AM, 11.05.2019

Fighting (locally) for our future

For those of you who are championing for the planet at home, at work and at school, please know that I understand it is not easy, but small, local victories are what matter the most. We may not all be Greta Thunbergs with a global voice, but without those of us out here fighting the good fight everyday, her work would be futile.

It is hard and it can be very stressful when trying to help people understand why their choices matter. For example, you may get a laugh from somebody if you tell them that water from the tap is better for them than drinking water from plastic. This idea may take some processing time because there are many people who have gotten into the bad habit of bottled water. However, if you continue to gently remind friends and family that tap water is clean and safe and a much better choice than bottled water (and cheaper) you are indeed making a difference for the earth.

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Volume 11, Issue 20, Posted 9:21 AM, 10.15.2019

A better way to celebrate?

I realize this column will may make me highly unpopular, especially with kids, but I feel I must address it.

I attended the Bay Village Homecoming Parade on Friday, Sept. 20. The Homecoming parade is a celebration of community, and all ages come out to see it. While I enjoy the parade, especially the marching band, I have one major issue with it.

The reason for my column today is how the parade also pollutes our community and Lake Erie because of the candy being thrown at spectators. I personally watched candy go directly down the sewers on the road, which drains right to the lake. And what is candy wrapped in? Plastic.

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 9:14 AM, 10.01.2019

The scourge of plastics discussed in local forum

On Thursday, Aug. 29, I attended a forum at the Rocky River Public Library titled "Plastic Pollution: Is it the Next Burning River?" The forum was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Greater Cleveland, Rocky River Public Library, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, the Rocky River Green Team and the Bay Village Green Team.

Jocelyn Travis of the LWV and Sierra Club moderated the forum and there were five panelists: Cheryl Johncox, Sierra Club Ohio; Sunny Simon, District 11 Cuyahoga County Council; Sarah Damron, Surfrider Foundation; Sarah Mathews, Rumpke Waste; and Cristie Snyder, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.

Questions from the public had been taken online before the event, and the forum started out with those. Many questions pertained to our current state of recycling. Cristie Snyder reiterated that plastics are a commodity and the market for those have all but collapsed, which has been a problem worldwide.

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Volume 11, Issue 17, Posted 9:50 AM, 09.04.2019

Save the Trees!

Have you ever wondered what you can do to save more trees? Yes, you have power to help the trees on earth! To do this is simple: Vote with your dollars.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has a certification system that designates the paper or product made from trees was created from trees in forests that are responsibly managed.

“Responsibly managed forests” means that the trees that are harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally. Furthermore, you can be certain that rare plants and animals are protected entirely, and the rights of indigenous people are protected.

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Volume 11, Issue 16, Posted 9:19 AM, 08.20.2019

Every city should strive to be twins with Minneapolis

I had the pleasure of visiting a close friend of mine up in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) in early June. Minneapolis is doing an outstanding job being a green city.  

While we were visiting, we went to see a Twins game at Target Field. To say I was impressed with Target Field is an understatement – the entire ballpark is waste-free! In fact, I could not locate a trash can!

What are they doing? Composting and recycling only. All of the bottles and cans go into the recycling can, and all food, cups, napkins, forks, etc. go into the compost can! These compost/recycling stations are everywhere inside of the park.

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Volume 11, Issue 13, Posted 9:58 AM, 07.02.2019

Join in Bay Village waterways clean-ups this summer

If you are looking to make a serious impact on the pollution in our waterways and Lake Erie, look no further than one or more of the Bay Village Green Team’s waterways clean-ups this summer. These are fun events that meet at different creeks in Bay Village to clean up litter in and around the local waterways.

When I say they are fun, I mean it! You get to meet other like-minded citizens who care deeply about keeping our water clean, and you also get to feel good about going out and making a difference! Grab your kids, friends and neighbors and plan to attend one! Here are the events:

  • Wednesday, June 19, 7 p.m. Meet at Reese Park on Clague Road for a Sperry Creek clean-up.
  • Tuesday, July 16, 7 p.m. Meet at Columbia Park on Lake Road for a Columbia Beach and Tuttle Creek clean-up.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Meet at the Cahoon Park gazebo for a Cahoon Creek Clean-up.

For more information please visit the Bay Village Green Team Facebook page for a complete listing of these events and more.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 9:49 AM, 06.18.2019

And the winner is ... Lake Erie!

Yes, Lake Erie is the winner! On May 28, Cuyahoga County Council passed a plastic bag ban! This is really great news for Cuyahoga County and for Lake Erie. The ban passed by an 8-3 margin, which went along party lines, with Democratic council members voting for it and Republican council members against it. (Our Cuyahoga County Council representative, Nan Baker, voted against it.)

Cuyahoga County is the first county in Ohio to pass such legislation. The city of Bexley, Ohio, passed similar legislation just hours after Cuyahoga County did, and Orange Village passed a similar ban last year for its municipality. The Cuyahoga County ban stops stores from offering plastic bags to consumers and instead customers need to bring reusable bags or the store must offer paper bags made of recyclable material.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:26 AM, 06.04.2019

White flowering pear trees: so pretty and so invasive

I’m sorry, but you’ll never look at those white flowering trees the same after you read my column this week. Those beautiful trees (but smell terrible, right?) have turned out to be an environmental disaster.

Ohio put the pear trees on the invasive species list in January 2018. You are probably asking yourself what damage can these trees possibly do? The answer is plenty.

The Callery Pear was introduced in 1964 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. American horticulturists started selective breeding these trees for stronger branches (pear trees have very weak branches) and shape. This is how we got the Bradford Pear, Cleveland Select and Aristocrat. The trees are fast growing, low maintenance, have a nice shape, and produce beautiful spring flowers, which is why they quickly became a popular choice.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:30 PM, 05.06.2019

Plastic Purge

On March 21, I attended an event titled “Plastic Purge: How did we get here and what do we do about all of this plastic?” at the Rocky River Public Library, co-hosted by the Rocky River High School Environmental Club and The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, Rocky River Chapter. The guest speaker was Dr. Michael SanClements, author of “Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles!”

I loved this event – I thought Dr. SanClements did a great job talking about the history of plastic, and how we have arrived at the monstrous plastic problem we face today. He talked about how over the course of history humans have had different ages: The Stone Age, The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, and now we are in The Plastic Age. He likens the plastic problem to an invasive species: It is not all bad, and arguably plastic saves lives daily, but it has become “invasive” and we have too much of it in the wrong places.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 9:46 AM, 04.02.2019

Simple, small steps to protect Lake Erie

As we head into spring (yes, I think we are heading into spring even though it doesn’t feel that way!) some of you may be thinking about the condition of your lawn, and also starting to perform more outdoor activities such as washing your car at home. This column is about simple changes you can make to protect Lake Erie. 

Almost all of the storm drains in Bay Village and Westlake drain to Lake Erie – that’s right, what goes in there goes straight out to the lake. This means it is imperative that each and everyone of us take responsibility for what does and doesn’t go down those drains. Springtime brings, sadly, chemical lawn applications. I have written about chemical fertilizers before, asking that you stop using them, and I bet you have! But your neighbor may still use them … What can you do?

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:08 AM, 03.19.2019

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the fire on the river!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the last fire in the Cuyahoga River, which occurred in 1969. The 50th anniversary is a cause for celebration. Why? Because that infamous fire helped spur the modern environmental movement. That fire initiated a response that includes the establishment of the EPA and the Clean Water Act. Furthermore, the first Earth Day occurred in 1970, and that’s no coincidence either.

The infamous June 1969 Cuyahoga fire was indeed the last fire in the river. The river had been used for industrial dumping for decades and decades, and had caught fire at least a dozen times between 1936 and 1969. In fact, the 1969 fire barely made the news in Cleveland, let alone nationally. However, Time magazine decided to run a story on the fire, further igniting the national concern for the environment. The picture of the river fire that Time magazine ran in 1969 was not from the June 1969 fire, it was from a larger fire in 1952. 

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:53 AM, 03.05.2019