Sunday, April 19, 2009

Earth Day: Bruce Wood and BURNT

by Dee Newman

Yesterday, I went to the Earth Day gathering at Centennial Park. According to Metro Parks an estimated 10,000 people were there on Saturday for the city's official Earth Day celebration. The theme this year was working together for a greener Nashville.

All the usual suspects were there occupying the booths – from local solar and recycling companies to vendors offering organic and natural food and green building materials. There were, as always, many activists and non-profit organizations and groups to educate the public about their specific missions, goals, efforts and concerns.

Every year I always meet new and interesting folks during the festival, as well as, bump into some old friends I haven’t seen in a while. Yesterday was no exception.

I ended up talking with an old activist friend of mine, Bruce Wood, the founder and president of BRUNT (Bring Urban Recycling to Nashville Today). Despite being sick with the flu for a week, Bruce was there helping to man their booth. For those of you who do not know Bruce or know about BRUNT, let me tell you few things.

BURNT was formed back in 1988 to oppose the $200 million expansion of the downtown trash incinerator and the city’s proposed planned for a $100 million solid waste processor connected to the expanded incinerator.

Originally, BURNT opposed the expansion of the incinerator only on environmental grounds, but they soon discovered that more valuable property would be needed with an expansion of the solid waste processor.

By 1991, the year they successively thwarted the expansion of the incinerator, they had already become active in clean air issues and the use of pesticide in the Metro Schools.

Today, BURNT's mission is to promote a toxic-free environment for Nashville and surrounding areas by promoting recycling, pesticide reform and citizen activism within the governmental process.

They believe that by making the community aware of conditions that endanger local air and water quality, sharing information on realistic alternatives to the use and production of environmental toxins, and promoting the recycling and reuse of manufactured goods their goals can be achieved.

They are currently involved in a number of environmental issues – from solid waste reform to organizing an effort to prevent the “recycling of toxic sludge as fertilizer” by the city of Nashville.

If you would like to know more about BURNT or become a supporting member, click here to go to their website:

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