Victoria Simon

I am a 70-year elder who has always believed in being a good steward, living simply, close to nature and in a way that has the least impact on the planet. In my early adult years, I had a big urban veg garden, growing corn and beans instead of a lawn. I rode my bike to work. I washed cloth diapers and made my own baby food. I refused plastic toys in favor of wooden ones. We shopped at our neighborhood food co-op where we bought in bulk.

I moved from St Paul to York in 1984 to build our passive solar designed house. The sun and a wood stove have kept me warm for 35 years. I shopped almost exclusively at Hannaford because with 2 kids and a full-time career, I needed one-stop shopping. Plastic bags never made sense to me; the sheer volume handed out and the question of where they all wound up. I never took those bags.. ever.

Over the years I communicated with Hannaford about those bags and commiserated with a good friend who later became a state legislator and champion of the environment. But while I brought my own bags and reduced single-use plastic in my own life, it wasn’t until I was retired from social work and parenting that I could devote myself full time to eliminating those plastic bags.
With a great team of devoted and committed compatriots, we made several formal presentations, held three public hearings, participated in dozens of public events, wrote an ordinance, designed flyers and mailers and organized a door to door campaign. In 2015 the voters passed the first in the state ban on plastic single-use carry it bags, the first in the country to be passed by the voters.

I learned a lot in the two years I spent working on the ordinance. While it was all-consuming, it was fascinating and immensely satisfying. I loved speaking in classrooms where I met and shared mutual aspirations with students. Four middle-schoolers who heard me speak volunteered to knock on doors in the final days of the campaign. They were thrilled when the ordinance passed.
Two years later those same students championed York’s ban on Polystyrene and less than a year later the youngest in that group of student activists championed composting in York High School.

I have an old photo of me and my kids celebrating Earth Day 1990. We made signs and walked down our dirt road (which has since been paved and developed).

I have a recent picture of me and my grandchildren at the Climate Strike, 2019. These pics demonstrate the long generational fight to disrupt fossil fuel-driven climate change.

I also have photos from commit civil disobedience to stop the Keystone pipeline in 2015.

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”

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