Recently I was waiting for the light to change at the Lehi Main Street off-ramp when I noticed a girl in the vehicle next to me open her car door and deposit her used lunch sack on the ground. After the light changed and I watched her drive off, I thought of the emotional campaign from the 1970s, “Keep America Beautiful,” featuring Iron Eyes Cody. Cody (born Espera Oscar de Corti) often played the part of an American Indian. In this message, litter was thrown at his feet and as the camera scanned up to his face, a tear ran down his cheek. William Conrad narrated the commercial, which included the campaign slogan, “People start pollution; people can stop it.”
At the time I was a teenager who seldom had two contiguous thoughts, but that message touched me.
After taking office I felt it important to promote a better environment. I recognize that intentional violations are rare but there is a great opportunity to do better as stewards of our communities and this large place we call home. I believe we all want to contribute and are looking for ways to help where we can.
Lehi City now has an Environmental Sustainability Committee and I expect you will be seeing information from them in the future. They have recently been organized and are already working hard promoting simple things that will help us take better care of our environment. They will primarily focus on education and bringing to light small changes we can all make that will have a big impact on our future.
Consider recycling for a moment; most of us have become aware that China has been refusing our recycled waste because of contamination. This has had a critical impact on our economy, our industry and our landfills. It’s not that the demand for recyclable products has diminished, it is that we are not properly separating contaminated materials from what we think are recyclable. Simply rinsing out your plastic containers can help with much of that. Checking to see if the plastic container has that recycling symbol is an important step. Pizza boxes—often not recyclable. Diapers—certainly not recyclable!
There is more than our committee is working on that will affect our air, energy usage and more. They have already initiated access to programs that promote more energy-efficient construction. Lehi has also become a partner with the governor’s Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR). Learn more at ucair.org.
Please look for information that will soon be pushed out through the city website and our social media outlets. Let’s work together to truly make our community and environment sustainable for us and generations to come.
-Mayor Mark Johnson