The Engaged Sierran
State of the Union Party January 28
Come watch the State of the Union speech at Volunteer Night on Tuesday, January 28 at True Brew Barista in Concord. The speech starts at 9 p.m. and we will have games and refreshments. Sign Up!
Talking about Climate Change
How do we talk with others about climate change? All of us have observed others participating in activities that contribute to climate change; most of us will admit we participate in such activities, too. (Full disclosure: this editor, Alice Pearman, commutes 35 minutes each way to work and doesn't carpool). Should we feel a responsibility to inform others when we observe them engaging in activities we know are harmful to the environment? And if we do, what is the best way to start that conversation?
NH Sierra Club member Audrey McCollum recently found herself in a such a situation, and wondered how other people might have handled it. Link to our website to read what some other Sierra Club members had to say on the subject, and take the opportunity to provide your point of view.
Teaching by example
Looking at new solutions to teach and motivate people to act on today's problems. Karl Kemnitzer with his Solar Electric Cargo Bike, of his own design.
Photo by Mary Holland
Representative Scott Burns
Introduces Paint Stewardship Bill
HB 1570 will create a paint stewardship program to make it much easier to remove left-over paint products from the waste stream. Such programs have already been initiated in seven states, including our neighbors Maine and Vermont. Stewardship programs are a terrific way to encourage product efficiency and proper end user disposal. The Sierra Club supports Zero Waste Hierarchy and Extended Producer Responsibility principles*.
The bill calls for a non-profit organization, such as the paint manufacturer’s called Paintcare, to propose a plan to the state for approval. The plan would include training and equipment at the collection locations, as well as public education materials. State wide collection locations can be a variety of places like your local transfer station or paint supply store. Paintcare would also pick up and transport paint collected to be recycled.
This is how the bill works. You would take used paint products to designated participating paint vendors, such as Ace Hardware, your transfer station or Sherwin Williams, when you have extra paint. Simple.
Instead of the one annual (or not so annual) Household Hazardous Waste day at the transfer station, drop off would be ongoing. This can prevent unwanted oil-based and latex paint, including primers, sealers, stains, varnishes and more, from piling up for years in the attic or basement. This manufacturer driven program encourages individual participation at your convenience. An additional incentive is that there is no cost to the consumer for dropping off specified products.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this program is that certain similar paints can be consolidated, de-colorized, and conditioned into new paint. This paint will then be sold or given to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity – repair, reuse, recycle! Plus, the can or container gets recycled too!
The costs for administering the Paint Stewardship Program will come from small up-front increases in the original price of paint products when purchased. There will be no cost to the State of New Hampshire, and communities will save millions by not handling the volumes of paint products delivered to them currently.
More information can be found on the website at www.paintcare.org. Representative Scott Burns is the lead sponsor of this bill. The hearing has taken place since the writing of the newsletter but if you are interested in helping NHSC in the state house on this or other bills, please contact Catherine Corkery at the NHSC office, 224-8222 or email her at Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms to Know!
* Zero Waste Hierarchy:
Environmental management of materials and energy should adhere to this order of priority: first, reduce the use of materials and energy and the use of toxic substances to a minimum (through design for the environment); second, repair and reuse, extending the service life of materials and products; and third, recycle, conserving as much as possible of embodied value.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), or Product Stewardship:
Whoever designs, produces, sells, or uses a product takes responsibility for minimizing the product’s environmental impact throughout all stages of the product’s life cycle—and the greatest responsibility lies with producers (brand owners) because they make critical design and marketing decisions.
Meet our Newest Intern, Thomas Hobbs
Thomas Hobbs is a senior History and Politics, and Society dual major at UNH Manchester focusing his studies on legal and political theory, and has recently started following state environmental politics. He comes to the Chapter after becoming fascinated by the works of the NHSC Energy Team and discussions with Chapter Director Cathy Corkery.
His work will consist of researching and writing about the various environmental issues that affect New Hampshire and the role of certain committees in addressing these issues. He will also interview many of the government officials on these committees to hear their perspective on what issues need to be addressed and what methods need to be taken in these efforts. In addition, he is tasked with organizing Volunteer Nights at the NHSC office, conducting student activities at UNH Manchester, and has primary responsibility for an upcoming Lobby Day at the State House (stay tuned for details).
After he graduates this spring, Thomas plans on working full-time and also independently study law and conservation issues. His future goal is to attend law school and to work in some field of conservation law.
Thomas brings to the Chapter years of experience in the area of historical and political research, plus strong writing and analytical skills. He has plenty of work cut out for him in the Chapter, in addition to his official studies! Please welcome Thomas, and look for his work as it improves our interaction with the Legislature and involvement with the student community.
Martin Luther King Day
Join events in your area to celebrate equality for all and to support civil rights for all. Here are two events in New Hampshire. This is admittedly not an exhaustive list, so check the local news media to find out what is happening in your community.
Manchester: Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration
Portsmouth: Hedrick Smith to Speak at Portsmouth Pearl