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Finally confronted my neighbors about burning plastic.  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 1909
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I've been going through a bit of a midlife crisis as of late, but it is improving vastly as I am taking more and more charge of my own destiny. 

The other day, the local Mennonite dairy farm lit up a big fire that was full of pallet wood and plastics. Generally a pallet wood fire does not bother me much, although I'm sure it's bound to have some toxins in it considering that some of these have a long life, shipping a variety of goods that are bound to have potential to contaminate the wood, but it's unlikely that I would be able to differentiate it from the wood itself burning, and people are allowed to burn wood.  But it was the smell of burning plastic that I notice immediately while out in my garden.  It is not the first time that I made note that toxic smoke was coming my way form this farm, but for some reason I was holding this inside of myself and only expressing it to other people who I knew would agree and sympathize with me.  That's not very productive, but...  I was sort of about to do this again, and just complain about it to my family and other neighbor, but I thought "NO. I'm not going to do that anymore.  Why should I just go on breathing this toxic crap when it's totally wrong.  Why should I not bring this up directly to the people who have the most power to change it?  If I don't bring it up to them, then I'm just setting myself up to breath this again in the future." 

I was on my way to a friend's place, where I had been invited to dinner, and would be heading right past the dairy farm, so I pulled in. 

I drove right up to one of the adult sons of the colony, and told him that I came to this valley for clean water, clean air, and clean soil, and hope to develop a totally organic operation, and I can't have plastic smoke in my air, which pollutes my whole operation.  I told him that my mother is in the garden right now breathing that stuff and she has asthma.  I explained that burning plastic is illegal because it produces, amongst other dangerous things, the carcinogen dioxin, and that the disposal of plastic had to be done via garbage containers, and that I expected that he would take care of his waste responsibly in the future.  I also told him that I would rather have good relations with my neighbors, and that I don't feel super comfortable confronting anybody about this sort of thing, but I also would rather talk to them directly then to call the authorities and have the law come down on them.

I don't think it's going to happen again.  But if it does, I will be calling a bunch of people who have the power to change things with a much less kind method than mine, including steep fines.    
 
garden master
Posts: 1669
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Congratulations on taking that step.  Confronting neighbors can be scary/stressful.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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Thanks Mike.  Yeah.  For sure.  But, in the end, I think it develops a better relationship, one built on mutual understanding and respect for where another person is at.  If I had not said anything, then most of the time that I see them, somewhere in the back of my mind I would be thinking, "There's those plastic burning Mennonites."  Now, there is a little weirdness between us, that will calm in time, but I don't have that particular preconception about them.   I hate having pre-judgement thoughts like that.  Now it's just that I worry a bit that they think I'm somekind of eco freak weirdo.  Which I think was always the case! 
 
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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All you need to do is make an effort to thank them for not burning plastic and that you have noticed an improvement in the air
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 1909
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
179
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That's good advice Nick. 
 
It's hard to fight evil. The little things, like a nice sandwich, really helps. Right tiny ad?
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