A clean environment keeps people healthy.

We have a basic human right to clean air, water, and chemical-free food. We must strengthen, not weaken, regulations to ensure that corporations do not continue to poison us with their chemical and waste disposal processes. We all hate regulations, but some people just don’t do the right thing unless they are forced to; therefore, we must force corporations to stop improperly dumping their waste, especially in our waterways.

It has been 37 years since I first heard of solar panels for home rooftops, and this is still not a thing. I know government works slowly, but this is slower than molasses in the wintertime. I also know that many of our elected officials are beholden to the fossil fuel industry; they can deny it all they want, but if they accept campaign donations from fossil fuel companies, they are beholden to them – and their environmental policies are proof. The Covid pandemic showed us how quickly the air is freshened when the multitudes of gas-powered vehicles are taken off the roads, yet too many elected officials are still fighting against Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that will wean us off fossil fuels and put us on clean energy.

I’ve already mentioned the illegal dumping of corporate waste into our waterways, but another pollutant of our water – and land – is the reprehensible construction of unnecessary pipelines and landfills. Pipeline companies have destroyed swaths of forested land and irresponsibly caused their pipes to leak and poison acres of land. Landfill companies continually bribe Boards of Supervisors with promises of huge amounts of cash, but their cash cannot repair the damage done by deforestation, poisoning private drinking wells, rivers, and oceans with leaking leachate, and risking environmental and private land damage caused by effects of increased floods and earthquakes brought on by climate change.

We must protect our agricultural land from toxic chemicals, as well as from complete loss due to the over construction of utility-scale solar facilities, and we must establish an R4 (Reduce. Reuse. Repurpose. Recycle.) program to protect our environment by reducing the need for landfills and keeping non-biodegradable plastics and other materials out of our oceans and other waterways. We need legislation to ban single-use plastics and reduce, if not limit, use of other plastics. Companies will not change from plastic to biodegradable materials unless forced to – by banning manufacture of non-biodegradable material and construction of new landfills.

Trudy Berry

Trudy Berry