Why Residents Must Continue to Recycle

With the abrupt change made this week to the recycling schedule (that is now bi-weekly) we grew deeply concerned. Not because we think weekly pick-ups are ‘the way to go’. But because the change was made without any effort to inform or educate the public. As it is, through the hard work of Julie and Steve Noble and Jeanne Edwards, Kingston was sort of on the up and up on improving it’s recycling numbers. That might be history unless something is done and soon.

Sure, not every municipality offers recycling to their residents. That may even be where we are heading. The fact of the matter is, Kingston has offered it as a service and we have come to expect it. If more people now feel inconvenienced and decide to trash their plastics and all, we are not only heading in the wrong direction but we are also encouraging a whopper of an expense in the long run.

Why? At this time, Kingston pays UCRRA (Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency) $71 a ton to then ship our garbage up the river some 250 miles. That’s what makes it so expensive. Weigh that against the national average, which is around $42.08 per ton.

Landfills are close to capacity. Perhaps not this year or next, but in the very near future our garbage may be shipped even further away. Now does that make any sense?

So please, hold onto your recycling until your new scheduled pick-up day. Give your bottles and cans an extra wash out to prepare them to sit for a week longer. That only takes a few seconds of your time. If you simply can’t wait, delivering your recyclables, yard waste and brush to the transfer station is free.

Encourage your Alderman to help solve this problem through good discussion and solid examples by looking outside of Kingston to see what might be useful to us.

– Rebecca Martin

Here are a couple of helpful links.

City of Kingston: New Recycling/Yard Waste Pick-Up Schedule

KingstonCitizens.org: Why Pay As You Throw?

KingstonCitizens.org: Plastics By Numbers

Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Mulching and Composting Brochure

Environmental Focus on Kingston: Thor’s Hammer

I know what Thor got for Christmas.

On December 26th at 10:05 P.M. there was a flashing burst of white atomic lightning.  Nearly 20 seconds later it was followed by a deafening clap of nuclear holocaust, world ending thunder.  And that’s exactly what I thought had happened.

After I dislodged the pieces of my heart from my throat and stomach, I looked outside expecting to see the world had been obliterated, my home the only survivor.  When I saw the planet was still spinning gently on its axis, I imagined my beloved, primordial maple tree had grown legs and ripped itself from the earth rather like one of Tolkien’s Ents.  However, it was still intact.  Perhaps the train trestle had collapsed?  But that too was still standing.

Winter lightning and thunder is said to be a rare event.  Lightning is born of out intensive atmospheric energy.  Cold air is less energetic and holds less moisture, making winter thunder unusual.  But it seems to me that I can recall several instances of it over the past decade or so and it seems to be increasing with frequency.  I wonder if it’s related to an el Nino weather event or the much debated global warming?

I paid enough attention in school to know that a thunderstorm occurs on the leading edge of either a cold or warm front as the two air masses collide.  Thunder is the manifestation of the super heated air (15,000-60,000 degrees Fahrenheit) created by lightning.  It causes the air around the lightning to rapidly expand and creates shock waves that rumble through the atmosphere.

I couldn’t even tell you what the weather was like that day or night.  The boisterous clap seems to have erased all memory of it away.  My research didn’t turn up any super cool nuggets of information on the subject either.  Perhaps someone out there has an interpretation of the cause of that pulverizing blow from Thor’s Hammer that they can share with us.

I did come across these brief interesting tidbits which I’ll share with you on the way out of this post.

Old Wives Tales:

  • If during the winter you have a thunderstorm, within 10 days you’ll have snow.
  • If there’s thunder during Christmas week, the winter will be anything but meek.

Cool New Word:

  • Astraphobia: The irrational fear of thunder and lightning.  (As in, Wilbur Girl’s cats suffer from extreme astraphobia.)

– Wilbur Girl

Water Water Everywhere (But Not The Kind To Drink). Does Kingston Have A Plan?

I’m traveling abroad currently and have happened into the recent floods that Ireland is experiencing now. Due to unprecedented bouts of rain in short periods of time, a good deal of their infrastructure (such as roadways) and residential properties built in the last 20 years are now underwater. Most were built on flood plains. Not a particularly wise move on the Planner’s part, but not particularly unique either.

Although some are slow to blame global warming for the weather’s strange behavior, what is happening in Ireland is right on track with past predictions of warming consequences there.

Flying out of Galway this morning and seeing so much of it consumed by flood water, I wondered whether or not planner’s in Kingston have given the topic the attention it really deserves.

It isn’t unreasonable to make this a top priority, and it would be wise to hold ongoing public meetings and host special guest speakers to help flesh it out. Kingston is already in the midst of some pretty serious flooding and sewage overflow issues.

While we’re at it, how about developing an overall master plan? I don’t think the cost concerns is a good enough reason not to pursue it. Kingston can’t afford not to do it in some shape or form.

FURTHER READING:

KingstonCitzens.org’s “ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS ON KINGSTON” took a closer look at storm water collection as part of a solution. Read more  HERE

On Ireland’s current flood:    FLOOD WATERS.

– Rebecca Martin