Voices of Long Island - Looking at LI's environmental future
Eric Swenson, 55
Superintendent of environmental control for the town of Oyster Bay, and a member of the New York Product Stewardship Council
Believes manufacturers should become responsible for how to dispose of their products
“I think once product stewardship catches on and manufacturers begin to accept it, you're going to see things change on how products are manufactured for the better.”
Oscar Herrera, 28
Supervisor at United Parcel Service
Has been coming to Captree State Park for five years to fish and enjoy the scenery. While visiting the park a month ago, Herrera said he had to help untangle a seagull trapped in wire and garbage near the pier.
“People have to be more considerate. Pick up after yourself. I want my daughter to grow up fishing here but it really depends on the people. Everyone wants someone to blame. Everyone expects the next person to clean up after them. I don't know how you make a law to make people care.”
Joe Kang, 19
New Hyde Park
Sophomore at Georgetown University
Thinks environmental preservation lies in teaching his generation the value of the earth. He suggested colleges heavily promote recycling and launch campaigns aimed at teaching students how to live greener.
“It all comes down to the individual. Colleges should encourage students to make smart decisions.”
Gail Tulipan, 47
Believes the key to saving the environment is family values. Tulipan and her daughter, Serena, 12, visit the beach at least once a week all year round. They also use mostly organic products and keep their kitchen filled with environmentally friendly products.
“I'm teaching her. We never throw anything on the ground.”
Chimere Thompson, 29
Direct care worker
Says government should educate the public and provide increased monetary incensives for people who want to go green. Thompson said policies should be put in place to make it easier and more affordable for people in all communities to care about the environment.
“If you can't save yourself, you can't save the environment.”
Yvonne Sanchez, 52
WLIW channel 21, member and viewer relations
Increasingly concerned about the state of the ocean and marine life as well as finding clean sources of energy. For her, the keys to preserving the environment are community activism and public and private investment.
“The ocean life can't stand up for themselves. We have to speak up for them... with true investment and research into energy. Someone has to step up and take real leadership.”
Director of conservation programs at the Nature Conservancy on Long Island
Thinks local communities need to plan now for flooding and other shifts expected to come as global temperatures warm.
“Something we’ve been looking at now more than ever is the whole issue of climate change and how sea levels are rising and what that will do to our populated coasts, and the likely impacts of climate change in the water and on land.”
Regional director of the state Department of Environmental Conservation
Said the region’s aging sewage plants must be maintained and that communities reliant on septic systems need federal help paying for new sewers to spur economic growth.
“The need for additional infrastructure is clear, the challenge becomes locating resources to make that happen... We all want to faciliaite economic growth in such a way that we don’t compromise our resources.”
Executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Says she is concerned about trace amounts of pharmaceuticals that enter drinking water when people flush old medications.
“Even at small doses we don’t understand the impact to children, to developing fetuses. It’s easy enough to put into place mechanisms for collecting medicines... we can at least stop the unnecessary impact of unsafe disposal.”