March 29, 2020
Column

Working with what we have

Enough hand-wringing over Washington County. We live here because we want to, and no one is starving in the streets. If they were, we’d help them.

Yes, salaries are lower here, but if that’s what people care most about, they can move to the cities where pay is higher. So is rent, and traffic, crowds and noise are rife. They would miss the wild beauty we share Down East.

However, anarchy rules as our woods, waters, wildlife and fisheries are looted and poisoned by paper mill corporations, chemical-dependent growers and thoughtless individuals.

Since these natural resources are necessary for our lives and livelihoods, we have to save them.

If you elect me to the Maine Senate, I would promote legislation to do the following:

1. Short timetable (two to three years) for agricultural and other pesticide sprayers – Maine Department of Transportation, city parks, apartment owners, lawn care companies, hospitals, etc. – to switch to easily available, clean methods of keeping unwanted species at bay.

The state should help pay for the changeover because clean water in our lakes, rivers, coastal waters and groundwater aquifers is critical for everyone’s existence here.

2. Help our young people start up small, organic farms so they can have satisfying, productive livelihoods, and we can have food security. Many small businesses serve farmers, so the economic ripple effect of several thousand more small farms in Maine would be widespread.

3. Eliminate the need for incinerators and most dumps by:

. setting up a collection system for food waste so it can be composted back into garden dirt;

. collecting other throwaways – clothes, toys, books, tools, house wares – into recycling centers so jobs can be created making “new from old” (quilts, floor pillows for children or pets, etc.) out of used clothing, fixing mendable objects, recycling construction throwaway wood into firewood and reusing whatever else can be salvaged, all to be sold at cost locally;

. reuse paint and other hazardous materials as much as possible so we aren’t disposing of poisons into our woods and waters, and require factories to neutralize their toxic chemicals before releasing them into our air or water.

4. Hire our young people, and-or require school community service, to plant millions of hardwood, fruit and nut trees wherever we can, especially in industrial clear-cut. Trees absorb greenhouses gases helping slow climate change, provide wildlife food and shelter, building materials and food and firewood for us, as well as shade to keep our houses cool and act as windbreakers. Parts of the world are becoming tree-less deserts; we can’t let that happen here. Trees also add great beauty to our lives.

5. Require industry and government to conserve fuel, hire people to install solar, wind, small hydro, tidal energy systems which should be locally owned and controlled, and tighten up people’s homes, our public buildings.

6. Do NOT remove Washington County’s railroad tracks and sell them for scrap, which is a stunningly stupid idea of the DOT and “economic development” people who have money and time to waste.

Fix railroads throughout Maine, so that people and goods can travel comfortably and safely, while creating much less pollution than from trucks and personal vehicles.

Also, hire people for all Maine borders to see what’s in trucks or trains coming in so we can stop radioactive and other hazardous materials from being dumped in our woods and waters.

7. Health care for all. Plan: fire all the insurance companies. Pay what we’re paying now into one big pot (more than 25 percent of Maine people are already on federal Medicare, so they’re taken care of), elect regional boards to run the plan, hire qualified people to help make decisions and payments, and be accountable only to ourselves. We can do this, save money and provide health care – including natural methods – for all Maine citizens.

All of the above ideas would save taxes, create good, satisfying livelihoods, keep Maine clean and give us food, energy and health independence, especially Down East Maine since we seem to be on our own most of the time – and we like it that way.

If you elect me to represent you, Washington County and parts of Hancock and Penobscot counties, I guarantee I will fight for you and our woods, waters, wildlife and fisheries against the monied interests who would use them all up for their own selfish gain, leaving us to feed the blackflies.

I’m asking for your vote for Maine Senate on Nov. 7. We, the people, need to take control of what goes on in Maine. We can do this. Thank you.

Nancy Oden lives in Jonesboro. She can be reached at 434-6228 or e-mail cleanearth@acadia.net. Her Web site is www.cleanearth.net.


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