August 10 – August 18, 2019
I wanted to take a moment to reflect on an inspiring experience a couple of weeks ago, when our monthly Work That Reconnects group showed up at Town Meeting to support CSSC member Pat Conaway in his efforts to restrict the use of polystyrene (styrofoam) for commercial food service in Natick, including in our schools. At first, I saw it as a schedule problem that Pat's big effort was on the 4th Thursday night, same day and time as our Work That Reconnects meeting; then, especially after talking with Laura Hake (co-facilitator of the Work That Reconnects group), I began to see the synchronicity of these two events coming at the same time. After all, the Work That Reconnects is spiritual/emotional practice for environmental justice activists, so it was a perfect fit.
Many of us showed up, lining the sidewalk into Town Meeting, handing out information encouraging folks to "Say No To Styro" and also to maintain the Town's plastic bag restrictions (which were coincidentally also being challenged that night).
After Pat Conaway presented the article to restrict the use of polystyrene, Laura Hake and I were both allowed to speak in support. Laura, who has a PhD in biology and teaches at Boston College, informed town meeting members of the health impacts of polystyrene, which causes cancer and is especially liable to leach chemicals when it contains hot or greasy food; also, when it is incinerated, as all Natick trash is, it releases dioxin, which also causes cancer, into the air we breathe. My talk followed up these stark facts with a call to conscience, asking the Town Meeting members to use their hearts to feel their way to the right conclusion about polystyrene. At the end of the discussion, the article was referred to the Board of Health by a vote of about 70 to 40; we trust that the Board of Health will implement polystyrene restrictions in a reasonable and timely manner.