The Green Report

Thank you!

This column is a thank you to you, my readers, as this may be the last issue of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer. I have been writing this column since 2015 and I have truly enjoyed it. I have loved when people approach me and inform me that they enjoy reading my columns. That has meant so much to me to hear.

When I started doing this, I had no idea if people would read it, or that I would be doing this close to nine years later! I have learned so much as I researched different topics.

I hope that you have been able to incorporate some of the ideas into your daily lives. I also hope that you will continue to talk with family, friends, and neighbors about the habits you have changed, and how each one of us plays a role in protecting the environment. Each one of our actions makes a difference, as when they are added up collectively, that is how we change the world.

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 9:21 AM, 03.05.2024

The Bay Village Green Team wants YOU!

The Bay Village Green Team wants you! The advisory board of the Green Team is looking for members who are passionate about the environment and how to help Bay Village continue to take steps toward being more sustainable.

We host public meetings quarterly to talk about environmental issues and opportunities in Bay Village and how the Green Team may be able to help set and achieve goals. Residents are invited to come to learn about what we are doing and to offer suggestions and concerns.

Some of our accomplishments in recent years are: we helped bring residential public composting to Bay Village, we promote sustainability at Bay Days, we inform residents about how and what to recycle, we talk with city council members about sustainability issues in the city.

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Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 10:01 AM, 02.06.2024

Bay Village: Important information regarding your electricity

The focus of my column is always to highlight simple actions we can each take to lessen our impact on the environment. I have great news: The City of Bay Village has just made it even easier for us.

Bay Village recently entered into a new electricity aggregate, which is a way to increase purchasing power by pooling residents together. Our new aggregate is for 3 years with Dynegy, and our plan includes a 100% renewable option! It is easy to opt into by making a phone call (more on this below).

Why should you opt in to the 100% renewable plan? Because 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from electricity generated by fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions are what cause climate change, and each of us should play a role in reducing our usage to the extent that we are able, and this is a no-brainer.

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Volume 15, Issue 23, Posted 9:42 AM, 12.19.2023

You can green your holidays, here's how

This is a topic that I write about around this time every year because I think the message is so important. 

It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases 25%. I want to share some easy ways to reduce waste, and help make your holidays earth-friendly!

Parties: If you are hosting a holiday meal or party at your home, please use real dishes, napkins, silverware and glasses. Your choice to use “real stuff” will not only drastically reduce the waste your party will generate, but guests will appreciate eating and drinking out of real items. In my opinion, eating Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner off of a plastic or paper plate with a plastic fork and knife is just not the same.

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Volume 15, Issue 22, Posted 9:42 AM, 12.05.2023

More plastic in the ocean than fish

Yes, you read that headline correctly. By the year 2050, it is estimated that there will be more waste plastic (by weight) in the ocean than fish.

Worldwide, every minute of every day, one refuse truck’s worth of waste plastic is dumped into the sea. I was recently in Florida on the Atlantic side and walking the beach, there is SO much plastic washing ashore. It’s terrible. This problem is arguably the number one environmental catastrophe facing our world today for many reasons. 

The oceans are made up of five gyres. A gyre is network of currents that creates slow, rotating whirlpools. Plastics that end up in the ocean become caught in the gyres, creating what are known as “garbage patches.”

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 8:43 AM, 11.07.2023

Time for fall leaf clean-up

Autumn in Northeast Ohio means dealing with the leaves. We should all feel very lucky to have so many leaves to deal with, as that means we have big, beautiful trees that not only aid the health of us, wildlife and the planet, but greatly adds to our property values.

Tree-lined streets are beautiful and desirable. Neighborhoods without large, overstory trees feel so … exposed and uninviting, at least in my opinion. But all of our large trees means work in the fall … and again, this is not a bad thing! Yard work is great exercise, gets us outside and breathing in the fresh, autumn air.

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Volume 15, Issue 19, Posted 9:13 AM, 10.17.2023

The earth is boiling

“The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres declared in a speech at UN headquarters in New York on July 27. 

It has been confirmed that July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded. (I know, we did not – luckily – have that here, we’ve had a gorgeous summer!)

But, sadly, the increase in temperatures across the globe absolutely affects us. The global temperature worldwide for July shattered records. Scientists, however, are still optimistic that we can limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst of climate change – but we need to act quickly.

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Volume 15, Issue 15, Posted 9:38 AM, 08.15.2023

The importance of native plants

Native plants are defined as those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. After reading my column, I hope you 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 15, Issue 13, Posted 8:38 AM, 07.18.2023

Green your yard care

Do you bag your yard waste, such as grass clippings, weeds, sticks, etc.? If you do, please know that when you place it at the curb in Bay Village, it is headed to the landfill.

That’s correct: all bagged yard waste is being disposed of in the landfill. (Unbagged yard wasted such as fall leaf collection or branches/brush placed on the tree lawn are still being composted at the Westlake/Bay compost facility.)

Our bagged yard waste previously was composted, but it is not anymore. The compost facility that Republic was using is at maximum capacity, so now Republic has no choice other than to take it to the landfill.

But there is good news! You have a choice!

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 8:24 AM, 06.20.2023

The City of Cleveland wants to give you $100

Yep, that’s right! If you purchase an electric lawnmower and scrap your gas mower, you are eligible for $100 from the City of Cleveland's Division of Air Quality as a rebate for making the switch.

Why should you switch to an electric lawn mower? There are many reasons. 

Gas lawn mowers are horrible for the environment – probably worse than you think. Every year over 800 million gallons of gasoline are used in mowers. Furthermore, gas mowers are responsible for up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution. According to the U.S. EPA, one new gas mower used for an hour produces the same amount of air pollution from emissions as 11 new cars being driven for an hour!

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 9:24 AM, 05.02.2023

Help! Invasive Species Alert

The USDA and Ohio Department of Agriculture need your help: The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is in Ohio and help is needed to find and identify where they have spread in order to help stop infestation. On Feb. 21, the Bay Village Sea Scouts hosted Terri Nagao at the Bay Village Library. Terri is a Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist with the USDA. She came to speak with the Sea Scouts and interested residents about the dangers of the SLF. One of the Sea Scouts teams is doing their project on this species and its effects on our environment. 

First, what is the SLF? It is a planthopper insect that is native to China, India, and Vietnam.

How did it get to the United States? It was first found in a quarry in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It is believed that insect eggs came over on imported stone. By October 2020, it was reported to have been found on the OH-PA border. Now, it has been seen and reported in Cuyahoga County, including our neighboring cities of Rocky River and Avon Lake.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 10:16 AM, 03.21.2023

Renewable electricity option for Bay Village residents?

This year, Bay Village City Council will sign a new electric aggregation agreement. What is an electric aggregation? A municipality can negotiate for the purchase of combined electric supply of its residents and small businesses. This benefits the residents of the city, as it is usually a lower price that is negotiated than one single household can obtain on its own.

Ok, I’m sure you are wondering why I am writing about this! Since our electric aggregation agreement is up for renegotiation this year, the Bay Village Green Team feels it is important for the city to offer residents a choice of how their household's electricity is generated within the aggregation. If the city includes a requirement when it goes out to bid that the contract must include both options, each individual household could choose whether they want their power to be 100% renewable or nonrenewable while remaining in the aggregation.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 10:04 AM, 02.07.2023

More plastic in the ocean than fish

There is more plastic in the ocean than fish.

Yes, you read that correctly. By the year 2050, it is estimated that there will be more waste plastic (by weight) in the ocean than fish. As of 2021, there are at least 363,762,732,605 pounds of plastic pollution in the world's oceans.

Worldwide, every minute of every day, one refuse truck’s worth of waste plastic is dumped into the sea. With an estimated 3% of all the plastic produced worldwide ending up in the ocean, this is arguably the number one environmental catastrophe facing our world today for many reasons.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 9:54 AM, 01.17.2023

Don't let your holidays be bad for the earth

It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases 25 percent. I want to share some easy ways to reduce waste, and help make your holidays earth-friendly!


If you are hosting a holiday meal or party at your home, please use real dishes, napkins, silverware and glasses. Your choice to use “real stuff” will not only drastically reduce the waste your party will generate, but guests will appreciate eating and drinking out of real items. In my opinion, eating Christmas dinner off of a plastic or paper plate with a plastic fork and knife is just not the same.

If you’re thinking, “But I don’t have enough stuff for all of my guests!” I have an idea for you: Head to a thrift store and pick up the extra items you need. Believe me, they do not need to match your existing sets and adding in items that don’t match provides a trendy shabby-chic style to your party, in my opinion.

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Volume 14, Issue 24, Posted 11:23 AM, 12.20.2022

Bay Village compost expands to Reese Park!

The most impactful change that the Bay Village Green Team helped foster in 2021 was coordinating a drop-off compost service for Bay Village, and now we have even better news to share: an additional drop-off location at Reese Park!

The original drop-off location is still going strong at the Bay Lodge parking lot, on Bradley just south of Wolf. Now we have a second location located at Reese Park, in the lot next to the pickleball courts (you need to drive all the way to the back). The location is accessible 24/7 and provides clean, secured bins for members for $10/month.

If more residents sign up for this service, Rust Belt Riders also has a home pick-up service they would start offering, but will not provide it until we have more households. If you would like to see the home pick-up service brought to Bay, please start by signing up for the drop-off location.

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Volume 14, Issue 22, Posted 10:09 AM, 11.15.2022

Fall leaf clean-up

Here in Bay Village and Westlake, fall means dealing with leaves. We should all feel very lucky to have so many leaves to deal with, as that means we have big, beautiful trees that not only aid the health of us, wildlife and the planet, but greatly add to our property values.

Tree-lined streets are beautiful and desirable. Neighborhoods without large, overstory trees feel so … exposed and uninviting. At least in my opinion. But, all of our large trees means work in the fall … and again, this is not a bad thing! Yardwork is great exercise, gets us outside and breathing in the fresh, autumn air. 

So, what is the best, most environmentally friendly way to deal with leaves? Use your (hopefully electric) mower and mulch them! I have been reading more and more articles talking about the benefits of doing this.

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Volume 14, Issue 21, Posted 10:12 AM, 11.01.2022

Packing waste-free lunches

If you are familiar with my column, you know that our culture of using disposables is something that I write about frequently because it is not compatible with, well, life on earth! I’m writing today about how to pack waste-free lunches. This is a simple way you can reduce the amount of trash you and your family generate – and yes, YOU can make a difference.

I know you might be thinking “that will be so difficult, it’s so easy to throw a sandwich in a plastic bag, an individual pack of chips, a plastic water bottle or juice box, etc.” I’m hoping to persuade you that it’s not only easier to pack a trash-free lunch, it’s also less expensive!

First, let’s start with getting rid of those plastic baggies. There are so many reusable lunch containers to choose from these days. If you do a quick search on Amazon, you’ll see what I mean. I have my favorites that I use for my kids, but it’s certainly a personal preference. There are many with multiple compartments, as well as larger containers geared toward salads. You can also find reusable, thermal containers for hot foods, and the food does stay hot for a few hours!

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Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 11:26 AM, 10.04.2022

Finding environmentally sound alternatives to peat moss for gardening

Recently, I learned that peat moss (which many people use in their gardens) is not very environmentally friendly. If you are unaware of what peat moss does, it helps lighten soil and aids in water retention and drainage.

Why is peat moss not sustainable? Well, the methods used to grow and harvest peat moss are unsound environmentally. Peat moss is grown in marshy bogs and wetlands in the northern hemisphere, and you may be surprised to learn that 2% of land on earth is comprised of peat moss.

What is even more impressive, is that despite only covering 2% of land worldwide, it stores nearly one-third of the world’s soil carbon! As you maybe can guess, that is part of the issue.

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Volume 14, Issue 17, Posted 9:56 AM, 09.07.2022

Fix it, Cleveland!

Do you have something that is broken and you wish you could fix it? Look no further, there is a workshop for you! On the second Saturday and the fourth Monday of the month, Circular Cleveland, ThinkBox and the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste district have partnered to host Fix-It workshops to help people repair broken items.

Why is this important? Because when people repair things rather than discarding them and purchasing new, we are keeping items out of the landfill. I have written many, many times about simple steps each of us can take to live more sustainably. It is not sustainable behavior for our culture to encourage buying new, new, new all the time. We must shift our behavior to first of all really thinking about purchases and ensuring we need the item, and secondly researching to make sure the item is high quality and will last a long time.

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 10:05 AM, 08.02.2022

A message more stores should promote

I recently made a trip to the Ikea store in Columbus. The upper level is the showroom, where Ikea displays their products in real situations: living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc. When you go down to the lower level, you enter the retail area, where you can put items that you would like to purchase in your cart.

Before entering that area, there is a large sign painted on the wall that reads “Fill your cart with conscious decisions.” If you have read my columns before, you know I LOVED to see that. I even took a photo of the sign, pictured here.  

I have written about this before, and the how the last “R” should be the one on the top of our minds: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink. Rethink! What a great idea to promote. Each of us should be taking time to think – and rethink – about our purchases.

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Volume 14, Issue 13, Posted 9:40 AM, 07.06.2022

Spring cleaning the green way

Do you enjoy doing a thorough spring cleaning in your home? Many people enjoy clearing stuff out of their home in the spring and giving it a good cleaning before summer arrives. I want to offer suggestions that will help you dispose of unwanted items in an environmentally friendly way.

The No. 1 thing you should think about when wanting to get rid of things is if they are in good enough condition for donating. Donating used items keeps them out of the landfill, and also helps people with limited means. When looking to get rid of used clothing, toys, furniture, housewares, shoes, books, small appliances, etc., please make sure you donate what you can.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:50 AM, 05.17.2022

Is your lawn a healthy lawn?

Is your lawn healthy? Truly healthy? Please read on to find out. 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 I actively avoid lawns while walking 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 each year.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:26 AM, 04.19.2022

Conserve Gasoline

Gas prices are climbing. I know I don’t need to tell you that – you already know. I thought now would be an appropriate time to share some tips about how to conserve fuel.

Let’s start off with the most simple change you can make: Follow speed limits, especially on the highway. Optimal fuel economy on most cars tops out at 55 to 60 MPH. Just a five-mile-an-hour increase can mean a 9% loss on fuel economy! Using cruise control also helps you to stay at an optimal speed and helps conserve fuel. Additionally, pressing on your gas gently, avoiding aggressive driving and avoiding rapid starts and stops will all help to stretch your gas mileage.

When the weather warms, open your windows rather than turning on the air conditioning. Using the air conditioning is one of the biggest drains on engine power and fuel economy. Using air conditioning can increase gas consumption by 5 to 20 percent depending on the vehicle and the way it is driven.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:39 AM, 03.15.2022

Bay Village compost service is off to great start

On Jan. 25, the Bay Village Green Team hosted their quarterly public meeting and reviewed 2021 accomplishments. Last year was a good year for the Green Team, offering the public many opportunities to learn about simple ways to live in a more environmentally friendly way.

The most impactful change that the Bay Village Green Team helped foster in 2021 was coordinating a drop-off compost service for Bay Village. In September, Rust Belt Riders started its drop-off composting program for residents (or even non-residents who would like to drop their food waste off in Bay Village). 

Between September and December, 3,901 pounds were diverted from landfill to compost in Bay Village’s drop-off location alone. Fantastic work, Bay Village! We have 43 households signed up to use the drop-off location in the northeast corner of the Bay Lodge parking lot, on Bradley just south of Wolf. The location is accessible 24/7 and provides clean, secured bins for members for $10/month.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:12 AM, 02.01.2022

Turn individual acts into collective action

I wasn’t sure what I would write about to kick off 2022. To be honest, I have struggled lately to find new and exciting topics for you. However, just when I thought I didn’t have anything to write about, I read two different articles/columns from two sources: The New York Times Magazine and The Guardian.

The NYT Magazine piece caught my attention because it is titled “An Evangelical Climate Scientist Wonders What Went Wrong.” It interviews Katharine Hayhoe, the chief scientist for Nature Conservancy, a professor of political science at Texas Tech, and the author of a new book titled “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.”

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:14 AM, 01.18.2022

A greener you in 2022

I hope you are all enjoying this time of year and spending time with family and friends and staying healthy rather than getting caught up in the frenzy and stress this season can bring. For this issue’s column I want to share with you some simple New Year’s resolution ideas as we head into 2022.

  1. Bring your own. I’ve written this here many times, and I can’t emphasize enough how much cutting single-use plastics out of your life helps the health of the planet. Bring your own coffee mug, water bottle, and shopping bags. These three items alone account for so much trash and waste that end up in our landfills and waterways. Make it your resolution to bring your own – soon it will become a habit!
  1. Reduce energy use. Turn off lights and turn down the heat while you’re not home, and unplug phone/tablet chargers when not in use. Our energy source still largely comes from burning coal in Ohio. Using less energy in your home has a direct impact on carbon dioxide emissions into the environment.
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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:48 AM, 12.21.2021

Meet local environmental steward: Derek Schafer

For my column this week, I interviewed the executive director of West Creek Conservancy, Derek Schafer. Derek lives in Bay Village and his organization is spearheading multiple conservation projects in and around Cleveland. West Creek Conservancy’s mission is “to enrich the lives of all people in Northeast Ohio by conserving natural habitats, restoring the ecological value of our region’s lands and waters, and expanding opportunities to connect people from all cultures to experience nature and discover our great outdoors.” 

I recently met Derek and was inspired by his work with West Creek Conservancy; I also think it’s very important that the community learn about key local environmental work that is being done around us, because their work benefits each and every one of us.

Derek has been the executive director of West Creek since 2014 and has been with the organization since 2004. He grew up on a small farm outside of Columbus and spent his days fishing, playing in the fields and forests, and camping. Additionally, his parents had the same love of the outdoors and before he graduated from high school he had visited most of our national parks and forests, further cementing his love of nature and the critical importance of environmental conservation.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 10:23 AM, 11.16.2021

Environmentally friendly pumpkin disposal

Do you have pumpkins or decorative fall squash/gourds that you are unsure what to do with once the season is over? Please consider disposing of them in an environmentally friendly way, rather than putting them into your trash bound for the landfill.

If you have a jack-o-lantern (carved pumpkin), it will start to shrivel much sooner than whole pumpkins. To easily dispose of these, you can either leave it as-is in your backyard for animals to munch on, or cut it up and put the pieces in your yard for deer and squirrels to eat. They love pumpkin! If you have a whole pumpkin, you can do the same thing, but do try to cut it up a little first to give the animals a head start.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:24 AM, 11.02.2021

Biodiversity: Critically important to our survival

There was an article in the New York Times last week titled “The Most Important Global Meeting You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Now.” No, Catrin Einhorn, the reporter, was not referring to the climate summit that will be occurring later this month in Glasgow. She was referring to an international environmental meeting happening last week in China to problem solve the global crisis of a rapid collapse of species and systems.

Everyone has heard of the climate crisis and solving that problem is critical to our existence. However, the earth’s biodiversity crisis is equally important and a topic that receives far less attention. Brian O’Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature, says focusing on only climate change and ignoring biodiversity loss is “(the) equivalent of having a flat tire and a dead battery in your car at the same time. You’re still stuck if you only fix one.”

As with all my columns, I’m going to try to break down this issue for you in a relatable way, and let you know how you as an individual can help!

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:14 AM, 10.19.2021

Composting service comes to Bay Village!

Great news! As a Bay Village resident, you can now sign up to compost your leftover food waste! The service will be provided by Rust Belt Riders and costs $10 a month. For $10 a month you can collect and bring ALL of your home food waste to the drop-off location, located in the northeast corner of the Bay Lodge parking lot. Bay Lodge is located on Bradley, just south of Wolf, and is adjacent to Bradley Road Park. 

Why compost? The first answer is simple: to keep as much as we can out of the landfill. Why is that important? Compost is a valuable resource so when it ends up in the landfill, it’s being wasted.

Second, it is in all our interest to keep as much as we can out of the landfill because we are literally filling land full of waste – and eventually we will run out of that land. When we do, we will have to pay more to transport our trash farther away.

And third, when food breaks down in the landfill it creates methane gas, which accounts for 10% of greenhouse gases emitted in the U.S. Waste in landfills break down anaerobically (without oxygen) which is why it produces methane gas. Methane gas is 25 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Composting completes the cycle of food: it is grown from the earth and returns to the earth to enrich it.

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 10:14 AM, 09.21.2021

A safe way to prevent bugs, spiders, and other insects

I know it is very popular around here for people to treat their homes with insecticides/pesticides to keep spiders and other insects out. However, use of chemicals and pesticides can be very harmful to you, your kids, your pets, and the environment.

The rule of thumb I use is: if it is killing any living thing, it is likely killing us, just a heck of a lot more slowly. Before I hear any “BUTs” ... I know when you have a major infestation of something like carpenter ants (this happened to us many years ago so we had to call in the professionals with the insecticides because obviously carpenter ants can destroy your house structurally), you need to use the dangerous stuff because the bugs are at that point dangerous. However, I can say that was the first – and last – time we have used that sort of product in and around our home.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021

Extreme Weather: Our New Normal?

On Wednesday, Aug. 11, a storm ripped through Bay Village so fast and furious, it violently ripped big, old trees out of the ground like they were common weeds in your garden. The wind gust was clocked at 89 mph. On my street, there were power lines draped across the street and utility poles snapped in half like they were toothpicks.

Over 60 hours after the storm the electric company crew finally arrived on our street to get it cleaned up and fixed. We were without power for more than three full days. Some of my neighbors were trapped in their homes, unable to get their cars out of their driveways from the when the storm hit on Wednesday until the street was cleared on Saturday.

Why am I writing about this storm? Because we have been warned for years that we will experience more powerful and extreme weather if we keep failing to act on climate change. All over the globe we are seeing reports of extreme weather, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. I have lived in Bay Village for 21 years and have never seen anything like that wind gust tear up the city like it did. In fact, in all my life I have never experienced that type of violent storm and wind.

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Volume 13, Issue 16, Posted 10:09 AM, 08.17.2021

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:

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