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Happy America Recycles Day!

Today is America Recycles Day!  How are you celebrating? 
Here's the official presidential proclamation!
Presidential Proclamation--America Recycles Day
Each small act of conservation, when combined with other innumerable deeds across the country, can have an enormous impact on the health of our environment.  On America Recycles Day, we celebrate the individuals, communities, local governments, and businesses that work together to recycle waste and develop innovative ways to manage our resources more sustainably.
Americans already take many steps to protect our planet, participating in curbside recycling and community composting programs, and expanding their use of recyclable and recycled materials.  Recycling not only preserves our environment by conserving precious resources and reducing our carbon footprint, but it also contributes to job creation and economic development.  This billion-dollar industry employs thousands of workers nationwide, and evolving our recycling practices can help create green jobs, support a vibrant American recycling and refurbishing industry, and advance our clean energy economy.
While we can celebrate the breadth of our successes on America Recycles Day, we must also recommit to building upon this progress and to drawing attention to further developments, including the recycling of electronic products.  The increased use of electronics and technology in our homes and society brings the challenge of protecting human health and the environment from potentially harmful effects of the improper handling and disposal of these products.  Currently, most discarded consumer electronics end up in our landfills or are exported abroad, creating potential health and environmental hazards and representing a lost opportunity to recover valuable resources such as rare earth minerals.
To address the problems caused by electronic waste, American businesses, government, and individuals must work together to manage these electronics throughout the product lifecycle -- from design and manufacturing through their use and eventual recycling, recovery, and disposal.  To ensure the Federal Government leads as a responsible consumer, my Administration has established an interagency task force to prepare a national strategy for responsible electronics stewardship, including improvements to Federal procedures for managing electronic products.  This strategy must also include steps to ensure electronics containing hazardous materials collected for recycling and disposal are not exported to developing nations that lack the capacity to manage the recovery and disposal of these products in ways that safeguard human health and the environment.
On America Recycles Day, let us respond to our collective responsibility as a people and a Nation to be better stewards of our global environment, and to pass down a planet to future generations that is better than we found it.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 15, 2010, as America Recycles Day.  I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities, and I encourage all Americans to continue their recycling efforts throughout the year.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

100,000 pounds of rubbish and counting

We are using recycled materials to construct windbreaks, animal pens, animal shelters and more!  Check it out on youtube...


Debris essential to reforestation

Drs. Tomasz Zielonka and Mats Nildasson (Ecological Bulletins, 2001. 49:159-163) of the Institute of Botany in the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Southern Sweedish Forest Research Center of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences remark how important it is for dead wood to be present in a healthy forest. However, when reforesting, it is necessary and beneficial to introduce your own deadwood. In establishing the windbreaks you read about in today’s Herald, remember that the deadwood, as it decomposes, improves the soil and, in the time that the lowest levels of the windbreak decompose, the tree roots will be seeking the vital organic material there. A thick layer of mulch near the trees will not go amiss, either. Deadwood, according to the Doctors, significantly assists the establishment of new trees and the regeneration of forests.

We investigated regeneration patterns and dead wood dynamics in high altitude natural Norway spruce Picea abies forest in the Tatra Mountains, Polish Western Carpathians, and used dendrochronological cross-dating to asses the age of fallen logs. We compared the exact time since tree death with physical features reflected in a 5-degree classification of the decomposition stage. In more decayed logs where wood samples were impossible to cross-date we used the maximum age of saplings growing on logs as an indicator of minimum log age. The total volume of dead wood on the forest floor was ca 60 m³ / ha. Dead wood covered ca 5% of the forest floor. The log ages were for class A (least decayed) -- up to 4 yr, for class B: 8-44 yr and for class C: 44-115 yr. The minimum age of the most decayed classes D and E was estimated to 50 and 60 yr, respectively. One year-old seedlings were present on logs of all decay stages except on fresh windbreaks and windthrows of class A. The highest number of seedlings was found on logs in decay classes C and D which indicates that the middle stage of decomposed wood is the best substrate for germination. The successful cross-dating of over one hundred years old spruce logs is an evidence that some portion of fallen logs may escape fast deterioration even in species normally regarded as not resistant to decay.

Scenic trash of Elbert County

In Elbert County we find many things put to use that find new life and are no longer rubbish.  We find many things, brand new, cast away on the roadside like soda cans and lunch wrappers that become rubbish.  But the State law is clear: farmers know best what to do for the raising of crops and animals, and should be allowed to employ whatever materials are necessary without the censure of their work being called rubbish.

        Prosperous Matheson is home to some of the most picturesque farms in Elbert County where the rolling hills of Agate begin to fall to the plains.  The communities are linked by road and spirit, and though you can find the old Agate School bus parked along Highway 83, soon, as Agate fades forever, the two peoples will finally sunder.  Yet there too you see rubbish, but of a different sort.  Instead of peacefully at rest, rubbish is laid aside for use, and is actively used as soon as it may.  This sort of zealous energy for farming is to be admired, and thankfully is encouraged by the protection of State laws.

        Down the Matheson Road, a beautiful windbreak for the cattle can be seen out of scrap metal and tires.  The tires are falling down in some places, but is still functional! Though our tire walls and pens are larger, we are not proud; we all do what we can and admire and learn from each other’s efforts.  Larger is not necessarily better: in the arts of recycling, efficiency and utility matter most.  The scenic trash of Elbert County is so because it reminds us of the beauty of utilitarianism, as each work of art speaks of the ingenuity and love for the animals and crops and land bestowed by the craftsmen responsible for it. 

        Even in prosperous western County where the horses are worth more than most of the inoperable vehicles in eastern County, tires are used as culverts and walls and gardens, and so many other uses besides.  Farms and ranches, no matter their wealth, need rubbish to work the land, it is often the only affordable material to choose.  State law protects farmers and ranchers in numerous ways, providing special protection and rights to farmers and ranchers who make their own food, who undertake the use of horses, who raise cattle or other animals, or in other ways secure our State’s economy with a dependable economic engine that has outlasted silver booms and busts, technology booms and busts and will even outlast those commuting revenues that Elbert County has in recent times attempted to cultivate.

        There is enough room in Elbert County for all of us, and whether on your farm you wear muck boots or sandals, whether you enjoy at the end of the day a hot plate of rice and tofu or beef and potatoes, the diversity of Elbert County’s farming and ranching community stands unified in the practice of recycling materials and keeping hold of things that may one day be again useful.


A contest!

Here's a contest with excellent prizes for first, second and third place!

Every correct answer is entered to win, but EVERY answer with supporting citation from the law gets a bonus prize.

Does Elbert County's rubbish ordinance apply to

a) Agricultural lands
b) Industrial lands
c) All lands but agricultural and industrial lands
d) All lands, period


Email answers to twointents-AT-gmail-DOT-com, or respond as a comment to this post...  Good luck!

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