To the Editor:

Despite being away for college, I actively try to stay up-to-date on what is happening back home in Chatham. I am a township resident, constituent, and voter. That being said, I find it truly absurd that there is such persistent resistance by some members of our community to passing a plastic bag ordinance.

I have found that when discussing and creating policy in Chatham Township some council members neglect their younger constituents’ cares and concerns. Seventy percent of Americans age 18-34 actively worry about global warming/climate change. 51% of 18-34-year-olds think global warming/climate change will pose a serious threat in our lifetime. Therefore, when committee members relentlessly reject a proposal, like the plastic bag ordinance, that has been passed in numerous surrounding towns and multiple states they clearly demonstrate their unwillingness to adapt their ways to include and acknowledge the concerns of their younger constituents. Although I did not take or see the environmental survey cited to invalidate the concerns about plastic bags, I completely agree with the “1%” of Chatham Township residents that did. 

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Education alone does not solve these critical issues. The Chatham schools already do an excellent job teaching students to recycle and promoting environmentally friendly habits. Significantly then it sets an unfortunate precedent for the youth of Chatham to witness the adult lawmakers of our town reject these principles by failing to put further safeguards in place. Real change requires real leadership.

Earlier this month, 250,000 students and adult allies, including Chatham residents, marched in New York City for the global climate strike. What does our town's reluctance to make a small step in solidarity say about who we are? The plastic bag ordinance is not simply a push to having a greener community. It is also symbolic of our community’s willingness to change for the better. The issue is not "today it’s plastic bags tomorrow…”. It is today we are going to stop making excuses for our inability to change.

Sincerely,

Julia Contorno

Statistics via: https://news.gallup.com/poll/234314/global-warming-age-gap-younger-americans-worried.aspx