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World Cup Report
The thing I like about England is that they speak English and the planning
issues are similar to what is happening here.
Debbie and I started 2006 in England. It was below zero in London when we
arrived on Boxing Day, and a bit higher in Bath, where we spent the New Year.
After a visit to Stonehenge, we drove up to East Anglia to work in
Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. We spent our time in this bitter cold, with winds
blowing off the North Sea, auditing businesses to define commercial discards. A
month in East Anglia was enough for me to really appreciate the mild San
The European Union has ordered organics out of landfill and the following
objectives have been articulated in the national strategy and the EU Landfill
Directive: By 2010, reduce biodegradable resources going to landfill to 75% of
1995âs generation values; By 2013, reduce biodegradable resources going to
landfill to 50% of 1995âs generation values, By 2020, reduce biodegradable
waste going to landfill to 35% of 1995âs generation values.
The central government announced that they think that they will not meet the
EU requirements and have asked the Counties to plan for incineration. The
Recyclers, Environmentalist and the neighbors near the proposed facilities are
outraged. Town meetings are being held all over the Country where these
sites are being proposed. The people are pretty upset.
Our project in Lowestoft was not the result of an incinerator but because of
the local need for jobs. A high unemployment rate was the basis of looking
at recycling and composting as a source of new jobs. Our report shows
millions of Pounds and hundreds of jobs could be created through source separation
and composting and recycling. In the areas where the incinerators are
planned the neighbors are asking why not an RR park here and not an incinerator.
In March, Neil Seldman from ILSR, who is helping set up training projects
for deconstruction of old buildings in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, and I
attended one of these meetings in Oxford. We focused on source separation as an
alternative to burning that will create jobs and revenue. The key is source
A series of meeting were planned for the summer in other communities. I
offered to attend and speak. I thought this would be a fun way to get to see
the world cup soccer matches during reasonable hours and talk about resource
In June shortly after the USA team got creamed by the Czechs, Debbie and I
took off for a 25 day tour of cities in England and those on the way to and
from Germany. We flew into Amsterdam and then to Newcastle, England where the
Zero Waste Chartists, the Zero Waste Alliance and the Zero Waste Trust were
meeting at Gateshead to plan actions against the incinerator there and
discuss the zero waste future for England, and in my mind the world.
The Gateshead event was important in that it has unified the zero waste
movement in the UK and issues like MBT were discussed and clarified. In general,
the agreement was the first sort at the point of generation before
processing should be a wet and dry separation. Mechanical and biological treatment
(MBT) is important in processing these materials after separation not before.
Thinking about California, I think the plastic bags must go to the dry side
and advanced recycling fees (ARFâs) must be placed on all glass and nappies.
In a Pub in Newcastle, we cheered the effort of the USA lads against the
Italian team to hold them to a 1 -1 tie with only nine men left on the field.
It was the only game anyone scored on Italy until the final with the French,
even if it was an own goal.
After Newcastle we flew back to Amsterdam and caught a train to Luxembourg,
We watched games with the locals in sidewalk cafes and pubs on the way to
Nuremburg Germany for USA v Ghana. The train platforms were infiltrated with
people from all over the world wearing their team and countries colors and for
the first time in recent memory the German trains were making announcements in
English. There was noticeable recycling in the train stations but not on
In Nuremburg we bought tickets for the game from two guys from Los Angeles
who had found better tickets. Once inside we bought hot dogs and drinks.
All drinks were sold in refillable souvenir cups. No bottles or cans. While
waiting for the game (we got there early) we met an American who was a
referee/coach and retired lawyer from Pal Alto. We talked about soccer and the
Palo Alto Zero waste project, amidst the gathering of Americans, Ghanaians and
Germans arriving for the game.
It was a good game. Most of the fans although not from Ghana were for Ghana
and the foul that eventually gave the game to Ghana was disputable. That
was a game we really needed to win.
FromGermany to France, where in the cafeteria at the Louvre we saw Italy
beat Australia, and then in a CafÃ near the Effie Tower that was owned by a guy
who had lived in Pacific Beach for several years. France beat Spain and
Paris and the Eiffel Tower sparkled that night.
After France we rode the train up to Amsterdam for a couple days of bike
rides. These rides were easy 4 hour trips, one day through the city and one day
through the countryside. It was hot and clear and glorious. We rode in
the morning and watched the knock out rounds in the evenings. I had to leave
the coffee shop in Amsterdam when they got to penalty kicks for the German v
Argentina game; the fans in this Coffee shop were for Germany. I was for the
American teams (USA, Mexico, Trinidad, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and
Costa Rica). America is bigger than the USA. None of them got into the final
On July 1 Debbie flew home and I flew back to England for a Saturday
community meeting in Norwich. In this meeting of about 75, 8 were elected
councilors and most of them green party members. They are against the Norwich
incinerator proposal and wanted to know more about the RR Park options. The day
ended in a Pub in Norwich with the English losing to the Portugal team. A sad
day for the English.
Later that week after working on the local projects with Maxine, we finished
with a flourish. A night meeting in Cromer solidified our base in Norwich an
d brought another sector into the community movement, and then the next AM
we were off to Hull. This city with a suspension bridge longer than San
Francisco is on the northeast coast of England 100 miles from Edinburgh,
Scotland. A huge incinerator is planned and the neighbors had asked to have us talk
to them, their counselors, and MP.
It was surreal. We crossed the bridge and met former Mayor of Hedon (suburb
of Hull), he drove us to a TV studio here I was interviewed and asked why I
cared so much to come so far. I said we needed to save the world for our
children. After a Pub dinner we drove to the meeting where over 300 people were
waiting for us. The chair was an MP that the mayor said was undecided, but
looking at the crowd, he declared his opposition to incinerators. Our talk
was about why incinerators are outdated because recycling and composting of
resources is more important to our future, and showed them California examples.
After I was done, the people commented. Besides saying Rick was right,
they condemned the incinerator project. Finally the MP said, Rick was right,
incinerators were bad and we need to save our resources for our children. I
thought I was dreaming.
It was a six hour trip back to Norwich and then a 6 AM flight to Amsterdam,
Houston and San Diego, eventually two days on the road without really
sleeping. I was home on Sunday morning in Pacific Beach to see the Italians, who
our team tied, beat the French on penalty kicks.
While I was gone, not much changed here. CRRA held an election for the new
seats on its board after the reorganization. No body ran form the North; I
won a seat from the south. Although it was by only one vote, thank you, I
will take it, With the NRC vote they would never see me how close I got.
August 6 CRRA will meet in Conference at the Fairmont in San Jose. On a
Monday panel Maxine Narburgh from Bright Green and Karen Strandoo from Suffolk
County England will discuss the Lowestoft project in a panel. Karen used to be
part of the San Francisco team.
The planning issues here and there are the same.
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