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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Beacon Bits -- B-"ECO"-FRIENDLY

A recent visit to the new materials recovery facility, ReCommunity Recycling, at 508 Fishkill Avenue (Route 52) during an Open House, sponsored by the Beacon Chamber of Commerce, was quite informative and a far cry from last year's publicized resistance to the project voiced by some concerned Beaconites fearing additional truck traffic in neighboring areas. The public relations presentation touted all the virtues of recycling that has come of age because companies, such as this local affiliate of the largest recycling company  in the U.S. headquartered in Charlotte, NC, can turn a profit on the abundant waste of plastics, bottles, aluminum, and paper.  The business opportunity for the resale of recycled refuse has fostered education and encouragement for consumers to use their increased awareness that garbage needs to be separated while capitalizing on the ease of "single stream" recycling, which does not require pre-sorting materials at home; this is left for the automatic conveyors and 44 newly hired employees in a 7.5 million, 52,000 square feet, renovated building that opened in the Spring 2012. ReCommunity Beacon promises to reduce the local carbon footprint by recovering material that would ordinarily add to greenhouse gases and take up landfill space.

My choice for a theme song for this venture is clearly Dan Einbinder's "It Really Isn't Garbage"....."til you mix it all really isn't garbage til you throw it away". The song, popularized by Pete Seeger and the Rivertown Kids, can now be front and center, but it doesn't eradicate the history of recycling since the 1970's when volunteer environmentalists would sort through garbage for "free". Nor do the 'de rigeur' recycling plants negate efforts of local heroes from the Beacon Sloop Club who led the way to convert the former  garbage dump north of their current building by the train station into the popular Riverfront Park.

Beacon has been and will continue to be at the forefront of environmental activism; people here seem to always be leading the way. Just take a sample of recent and upcoming events in town that focus on water pollution (Poisoned Waters, a film on new toxins from everyday life on 8/16/12 at CEIE at Dennings Point), environmental crises (Plan B, Mobilizing to Save Civilization, a film shown on 7/24/12 at The Beacon Theatre), and ecological concerns (One Earth, an upcoming group exhibit at Fovea, opening night on Second Saturday, 9/8/12)

Beacon still has further potential for leadership in this groundswell of renewed fervor to save our planet. With Pete Seeger as champion of the cause living in our midst, being home to the Clearwater organization and having the support of neighbors like Scenic Hudson, Beacon has many role models, including Victor 'Roland' Mousaa, inventor of the Solar Electric Sun Bulb, a Rocket Hub project to be premiered at the Solar Expo Jam Festival on 8/18/12 at 12 noon at Rickey & Son's Organic Farm, 442 Rt. 94 North, Vernon, NJ.* This may just be the newest chapter for Beacon to once again stand as a 'shining light' for the Hudson River Valley; from the historical signal fires of the revolutionary war to the current urgency of creating alternate energy sources, using solar, wind and geothermal technology.

*Pete Seeger will be playing at 2pm on Saturday 8/18 at the Solar Expo Jam Festival along with Princess of WOW and Her Smile Revolution Band, Roland Mousaa and many other musicians from Friday night (8/17) through Sunday (8/19).

Some food for thought: Beacon's role may be truly 'enlightening' for environmental issues. For those of us who have always been aware, we are in good company. For those of us who need encouragement to prace eco-friendly habits, we have the social support and resources at hand to do so. For those of us who need that extra push, someone will be willing to apply some peer pressure. Hopefully, there will be an appropriate showing of 'b-eco-friendly' advocates in the form of educational floats and community activities at this year's 35th annual Spirt of Beacon Day in September to light the way.

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