Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recycle Me

As of this week I am the official chair of the Broken Bow Green Coalition's newly formed recycling sub-committee. I am very excited to have such a role! While others may look around Broken Bow and see a hopeless community of uninterested resource squanderers, I see immense potential!

This is a community where men think of F350 pickups as a symbol of their masculinity: drivers of girly Ford Rangers and the like are ridiculed as driving something other than "a real truck". This is an industrial farming community dependent on gas powered tractors and chemical fertilizers and pesticides to raise immense fields of corn. The life's blood of Broken Bow is a large cattle feed operation that produces tons of cattle waste and ozone depleting methane on a daily basis. (Unlike other industries, there are no governmental regulations requiring "farm" waste to be disposed of in environmentally sound ways).

This is community in which lives a young man who, upon seeing my husband peddling to work one day, commented on the anomaly: "that guy must need to save money". This in turn sparked a conversation between this teenager and his mother about how people without kids have time to do things like ride their bikes to work, and yes saving money is an important thing to start thinking about with college around the corner... No mention of how much impact gas spewing motorized vehicles have on our environment or our current problems related to dependence on foreign oil. The green thing just isn't in peoples' consciousness here. I think part of the problem is simply lack of education, and the other problem is the unfortunate political connotation in so many people's minds when the words "environmentalism" or "green" are spoken.

But do I find these facts about Broken Bow daunting? I think not! I am truly excited about the potential of our town (including my household) to improve our carbon footprint. Although many rural people are behind the curve on environmental issues, there are also a bunch of smart, informed and interested people here (hence the coalition). In addition, for every F350 driving litterbug out there, there is a little grey haired lady who has been saving yogurt containers to use as tupperwares and reusing the waxed paper liners from her cereal boxes since the great depression. There is hope for this small town!

Check out Keith's awesome website he made for our cause at


Terry G. said...

Congrats; I think you'll do a great job. Just be careful about how you describe small town folks and what they value. If you can make 'em think it's their idea you'll have all the movers and shakers on your side. The wackos on the left HAVE given enviro and greeen a ban connotation; that's why education and participation will always be better than regulation. So if you can get us hard core conservatives to be conservers, you'll be doing a great job for the community and the country.

Tiny said...

During the gas shortage of the seventies most of the country had long lines at the pumps. Perhaps you have seen pictures of the lines. That is all I have ever seen were the pictures. At that time we lived in Troy Idaho which was referred to as God's country. But the rural lifestyle has never known the gas shortage. They, at least in Troy, only knew of the shortage. Perhaps this colors the perspective. Did Broken Bow know or know of the shortage.
You have taken a worthy task that I am sure you are more than able to handle.