Council Message by Mike Cappel
Once I became involved with Montgomery as a volunteer and later as a Council Member, I began to meet inspirational people and businesses everywhere. Perhaps I didn’t recognize inspiration, but I found the Inspired within the ranks of Montgomery volunteers, staff, council and later in other communities, politicians and even amongst my fellow UC students. I continue to see inspired Facebook friends take lifestyle challenges and stick with them for long times.
About the time I started volunteering with Montgomery’s Environmental Advisory Commission, I attended a regional environmental conference. This conference was different than other ones I had attended or presented at; the focus was preventing pollution instead of cleaning it up. One Springdale business was in attendance, and their presentation was very different than the others. This company’s concept was that all their waste (wastewater, solid waste, air pollution, even time) was a measure of the inefficiencies in their processes. While other companies were proudly presenting the merits of their expensive, high efficiency lighting systems, the Springdale company showed off their new skylights installed during reroofing of the massive plant. Other companies showed their new wastewater treatment systems while the Springdale company showed their water reuse system – a little treatment and the water could be reused in product, i.e., no process wastewater!
If you visit some Montgomery facilities, you will see some similar technologies applied. The recently expanded and remodeled Public Works facility has skylights, a rainwater recovery/reuse system and even a windmill to aerate the stormwater retention pond. As Montgomery moves forward, financially sound, time tested or even innovative, environmentally friendly technologies can creep into our growing community.
Cycling back to how an individual can inspire, one of my friends has committed not to visit the grocery during 2023. She is foraging, growing food, buying directly from farms, and visiting markets, such as the soon to reopen Montgomery Farmer’s Market. She inspired me to take the “One Trip” challenge: only take our trash (recycling excluded) to the curb one time this year. As I write this we are 9 weeks into the challenge and have taken out our recycling once, yet generated only about 2 inches of nonrecyclable trash. Like that inspirational business, careful purchases, repairing broken items, replacing packaged goods with minimally packaged goods, composting, recycling and sometimes just skipping an unneeded item is paying off.