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Do You Participate in Politics?

(Short on time? Skip down to the “Action Here” section.)

I was never a hugely political person. Sure, I always voted (anyone else get teary as they “pull the lever”?) and knew who the major players were, but I rarely paid attention to the day-to-day workings. Until November 2016 happened. I remember watching the news as it became more apparent that my chosen candidate was going to lose, and tears streamed down my face. I actually think my husband was surprised (he was very upset too, but my reaction was pretty visceral) however it became real to me that the issues I cared about deeply – such as the environment – were about to be dealt a really rough hand. (Turns out I wasn’t wrong.) I realized that if I cared, I needed to participate. I couldn’t just watch from the sidelines. This isn’t a story about how I rolled up my sleeves and dove deep into the political waters – I still had small kids, daily responsibilities etc – but I did plug in a little bit more. My kids and I attended some protests/climate-change events and we wrote letters in October 2020 to help elect the candidate who planned to address climate change.

But what about on the local level? There are so many different ways you can help make real change right in your local community. To be honest, I am very new to this arena. But as we are knee-deep in the New Hampshire legislative season, I am trying to learn more. For example, Hannah wrote about voicing your support for the “right to repair” bill that will help stop the practice of needlessly throwing good products right in the trash. Today the New Hampshire House is discussing the banning of styrofoam (which cannot be recycled) from the food service industry. Tomorrow, the House Environment and Agriculture Committee will debate HB 413, which 1) establishes a solid waste working group on solid waste management planning and 2) requires the department of environmental services to make certain rules regarding compost. These rules includes “best practices for facilities that compost organics, including vegetable matter, meat, meat byproducts, dairy products and dairy product derivatives.” According to State Senator Becky Whitley, “New Hampshire lags behind in updating its solid waste reduction and recycling policies, while solid waste disposal capacity rapidly diminishes to the detriment and expense of the state’s citizens, municipalities and businesses.”

Portsmouth, NH just banned single used plastic. Local actions matter.

***ACTION HERE: There will be a hearing on this bill (HB 413) tomorrow, February 17 at 2pm. People can attend the hearing via Zoom and view it via YouTube.  Also, via the General Court House website, people can register in support or opposition to the legislation (super easy to do!), sign up to testify, and/or send emails. The bill is being considered in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee.***

It takes about one minute to voice your support for this bill. If you have time, you can also watch our legislative process in action. Wondering how a bill becomes a law in New Hampshire? It’s pretty similar to the federal process.

– Rachel

PS while we wait for New Hampshire to catch up with our neighbors on state-wide composting, you can always start at home.

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