Our story is lifelong…. our story is explained under the following categories: Environmental Awareness, Re-Purposing, Environmental Consciousness, Environmental Pledge
Environmental Awareness –
Growing up in a rural industrial small mill town in Northbridge Mass in the 60’s and 70’s we were very aware of the impacts of industrial pollution and hazardous materials along the rivers and watersheds of the Blackstone River/Valley corridor between Worcester Mass and the seaport of Providence RI feeding into Narragansett Bay. We lived and played in 100-year-old homes painted 100% with lead paint, dangled from asbestos wrapped steam pipes, made forts in the unhealthy attic insulation, burnt garbage in steel barrels, and non-burnable glass and steel cans were dumped at some chosen spot outback. On our bicycles, we chased after and followed fogging trucks spraying DDT through neighborhoods for mosquito control. Our parents lectured us to stay away from most local streams and brooks waters and rivers where water-powered paper mills, newly introduced plastic factory mills, woolen mills and steel/aluminum foundry’s dumped sewer and manufacturing waste directly into the river in addition to all the homes doing the same along the banks. We scrambled to the paper mill’s when word spread they were changing paper colors and would stand on the nearest bridge in awe as the collage of colors were discharged and flowed downstream. We annually pilgrimaged to the paper mill at the beginning of the school year where they allowed us to select from the many paper selections we used to cover our books. Lastly, we listened to our elders reminiscing about the days when there were fish and fowl along the rivers and streams and missing the sounds and beauty of birds and other animal species vanished by man-made chemicals and waste.
We were fairly fortunate in Northbridge…In the 1800s during the “Mill Along the River” construction boom Whitin Machine Works engineers predicted low flow due to the number of mills being constructed as well as dry and drought conditions causing mill production shutdowns. They engineered and constructed then protected huge reservoir’s in remote locations of the town with tributaries and dams to divert water to the mills when the river flow dropped. Once the mills converted to electrical power the dependence on the river to produce power lessened and eventually much of manufacturing left New England. The land and reservoirs were purchased by our town and this pristine water source was converted to the town’s public water supply. So we had “sneak trespassing “access to these protected watersheds which we cherished!
Thank goodness in the mid 70’s -early 80’s a coalition of activists formed between Mass and Rhode Island to protect the Blackstone Valley/ River corridor from Worcester Mass to Narragansett Bay. Volunteers spent years working with landowners, mill owners, homeowners, and business owners along the corridor cleaning it up and creating trails and bike paths. Federal and state funding and clean water act enabled the construction of Sewer treatment plants along the corridor… we helped on many of the cleanup efforts. 10 years later, boating, fishing, and recreation now are afforded safely to the public. Environmental regulations are a must and we totally support.
I recently retired from corporate but was responsible for up to 13 airport locations and had responsibility and accountability of stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPP), Hazardous Material certification, training, handling, shipping, cradle to grave disposal and record keeping. I understand and respect the regulations.
We practiced the act of re-purposing in our teens working with our family members. We worked with families who had young families and were striving to improve their quality of life by purchasing small lots on Jamestown, RI. We spent our high school years working with them to build their own summer cottages. We all scrounged for used lumber and materials, removed and straightened nails from construction waste, scoured dumps and landfills for old plumbing and light fixtures, copper piping, antique and junk shops for unique stuff… The only new materials used as insulation and roof shingles. My wife and I have rehabbed 3 older and designed and custom-built 2 new homes using the same practices we learned as teenagers. We have spent the last 20 years building “Villa at Reflection Point ” overlooking the Soughegan Valley in southern NH. We have continued many of re-purposed practices. Our son and daughter still recall (not fondly) how we made them straighten bucket of nails for re-use, salvaging lumber, scrounging or repairing fixtures, rebuilding wood frame doors, and windows, repurposing brick, using natural stone and granite from the property for walls and stairs vs treated lumber. We try to repair and maintain vs discard and purchase new when feasible. Most all of our furnishings and decor are from consignment, older light fixtures restored, and most importantly….sentimental furnishings, china, and glassware from our Grandparents and parents.
We annually participate in roadside cleanups and earth day events with family and friends.
In May of 2018, my 2 grandsons and I attended the Newport RI segment/leg of the Volvo sponsored Round the World Sailboat Race. The theme of the race was environmental awareness and the impact of pollution on our oceans. Volvo creates an environmental awareness village at each leg of the race which includes displays, videos, guest speakers as well as facilities for the boats to be inspected and repaired and crew facilities and accommodations. The crews record evidence of pollution and plastic as they sail the global waterways. This had a profound impact on me and the boys and we pledged to reduce our use and dependence on plastic.
In August of 2019, we connected with Carrie Mayo (Mayo Design and Marketing Services ) who graciously accepted us (Villa at Reflection Point) as a customer to help re-brand our business model, create a unique Logo and build our website. During this time Carrie and her dedicated team positively influenced us into expanding our environmental awareness that we continue to expand on. Their dedication, compassion, forward-thinking, live, and work by example is evidenced in what and how they conduct business and are truly contagious.
Environmental Pledge (accomplishments)
-reduced household plastic use by 85%
-improved recycling efforts for paper, cardboard, glass, metal, and landfill waste
– 80% converted incandescent bulbs to LED (ongoing)
– reduced auto fuel consumption- better planning of trips
– lead by example -encourage others to be environmentally conscious
– interject environmentally consciousness into our business dealings
– reduce the use of chemicals and utilize more natural-based compounds
– reduce water consumption
– continue to re-purpose vs buy new
– repair/rebuild vs buy new when feasible
– more involvement to promote environmentally friendly concepts