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Letter: Local response to global concern

To the editor:

Discussion regarding the two topics recently at Elmhurst City Hall: storm management and waste management. I realized how so many of our local decisions have far-reaching effects.

As our officials discussed our stormwater projects, I thought of my father 20 miles south of Houston, sitting barely a foot above the waters flooding his streets and neighborhood with no way out except emergency evacuation by boat or helicopter. A community as wealthy and educated as Elmhurst should be a model for public policy based on science and with a concern beyond our own community.

Specifically: We can and should consider our public policy’s effect on climate change and include those costs in our our decisions. The two topics from the meeting elucidate this point wonderfully.

The inclusion of food waste is being considered as part of our city's new waste contract.

Food waste makes up the largest part of solid waste in landfills and is a major contributor to global warming through the release of methane gas. Methane gas warms the planet 86 times as much as [carbon dioxide] (

Composting food waste can eliminate methane release and produce a useful soil amendment product.

Storms are made worse by climate change.

Elmhurst has spent more than $20 million on stormwater projects in the last three years, [and] $35 million more is needed to protect an additional 300 homes. Elmhurst has had several 100-year floods in the last few years.

As we consider the costs of our city’s projects and contracts, I hope we can look beyond our own community to our world community. The extra cost of adding food waste to our contract could, in the long run, help mitigate the effects of storms like Harvey and flooding here at home.

Please support adding food waste to our waste contract by calling your aldermen [and the] mayor. I know my dad would appreciate it, or I have to buy him a boat!

Bill Fisher


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