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Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Corner: Volunteers can make a difference

Appalachia is home to me. It is a place that holds rich history, majestic natural resources, and a deep-rooted culture that is duplicated nowhere else. A beautiful thing about our region is that we are all so closely connected to one another. Our connections come through our commonalities, and I believe we have more in common than apart. One thing we all have in common is that the Mid-Ohio Valley is our environment. The healthier our environment is, the healthier we will be – individually and as a community.

How does one measure the health of their environment? We can sample our local drinking water to determine its safety, detect for radiation, monitor air quality, and track the spread of diseases. We can also simply look around us to make a fair assessment. Observation is a strong skill that requires only the investment of time and attention. I encourage you to join me in the first step of the scientific method: make an observation that describes a problem.

The Mid-Ohio Valley has plenty of them. We also have much to be proud of and limitless potential. As a volunteer for Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action, I want to be part of the solutions. These changes can sometimes seem lofty and grand, but at the heart of it, we are just passionate about the health of the environment we live in. For me, this means bringing our community closer together to take action and beautify the world around us.

So how can we help MOVCA in its efforts? It begins with helping us identify what we want our community to be. What issues and solutions do you see? Is there history we need to know? I want to hear your vision, ideas, and dreams. Let’s share these with MOVCA. I implore you all to share actionable ideas we can work together on to create a healthier, happier, cleaner tomorrow.

Next, let’s start some conversations about how to make these changes. I recall driving through Parkersburg last summer with a friend and he asked me why our streets, sidewalks, and neighborhoods look the way they do? Pensive, he pondered aloud that we could do something about it. I agreed. Our community is the way we allow it to be. If we want it to be different, it is our responsibility to create the community we wish to live in. Since that conversation, I have started making choices to help build the community I want to live in. I carry trash bags with me on my long summer walks and collect trash throughout our neighborhoods. This is a small step toward a vision many others likely see.

While I may not be an environmental scientist, elected official, or city engineer, I am an effective community organizer and believe that a few more of us more regularly cleaning up our neighborhoods can create a positive ripple effect. Every small action matters. Many small steps make big progress.

To conclude, I invite you to join me and others in the community to start the change. Personally, I can offer my time to the community to work on at least one initiative that I know we can succeed in. One day per month I am happy to join a group of you to pick up trash in Parkersburg or Belpre neighborhoods. Reach out and let’s find a time and place to create environmental action here in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

If you would like to join this effort, contact me on my cell phone at 304-812-2884 or email reedbyers18@gmail.com.

Let’s unite and share ideas on ways we can continue to expand and improve positive change in our community.

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Reed Byers is a member of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

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