EcoAction Joins Town Meeting on Environment Policy

EcoAction, Andover’s environmentalism and sustainability club, attended a meeting with the Andover Green Advisory Board (AGAB) on Tuesday to discuss environmental projects in the Town of Andover. AGAB is an organization led by nine Andover citizens that advise the town on environmental policy.

AGAB board member Melanie Cutler reached out to EcoAction to invite the club to the meeting. Georgia Ezell ’19, who has been a board member of EcoAction for the past two years, attended the meeting.

“This is the first town meeting that we’ve been to… and we’re trying to do more off-campus events like this one and [get] involved in the surrounding communities,” said Ezell in an interview with The Phillipian.

The focus of the meeting was a potential ban or tax on plastic bags to reduce waste in the town of Andover. Single-use plastic bags end up in landfills and the ocean and are not as environmentally friendly as recyclable paper bags.

AGAB also addressed other courses of action the town can take to promote sustainability.

“The reduction of paper usage across town hall, in general, is really interesting, converting everything to online PDFs. They’re working on decreasing waste by putting textile donation bins at all the local schools and by working with the students,” said Ezell.

In addition to the discussion of these proposals, AGAB also experienced some dissent from the audience when one citizen questioned the town’s responsibility to carry out environmental policies. This portion of the meeting resonated with Ezell.

“Even though we might be better than our surrounding towns, or towns across the country, it is still our responsibility, and it’s not something that we can forget about,” said Ezell.

Ezell also described feeling inspired by the dedication of AGAB’s board members, a group from which she thinks Andover can learn something.

“It was really inspirational to see this group of adults that were so passionate about environmentalism in [the town of] Andover and improving our sustainability as a town… [Andover], in particular, could use them as an example for a lot of projects because they’re very relevant to our campus as well,” said Ezell.

EcoAction works closely with the Sustainability Office on campus to suggest and carry out environmental policy at Andover. The club does so in a number of ways, especially by informing the student body about living sustainably.

“We host speakers. We host the Green Cup Challenge every year. We hold movie screenings and documentaries in order to educate the student body… [and] we do poster campaigns,” said Ezell.

Looking toward the future, EcoAction hopes to contribute to a greedier Andover.

“It’s important to remember that there’s always things that we can be working towards and always something that we can improve on,” said Ezell.

“This year, we’re really hoping to reduce waste from [Paresky], specifically the cups, and [reduce] energy usage across campus, so I think our main focus for this year is waste,” Ezell added.