Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

To get to change, take a step

By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor

With the recent Earth Day events, the city of Springfield signing onto the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement and the various municipal clean-up efforts, one would think that Hampden County in general has gone "green."

I wish I could say it has, but the campaign to make environmental concerns have top of mind awareness has just taken its first baby steps.

We all have to start changing the way we live in both little and significant ways in order to make an impact.

The other day in downtown Springfield while I was on my way to a great lunch at City Jake's a young woman and her family walked past me. She dumped part of a bottle of Pepsi onto the street and then dropped the empty bottle. Now, thankfully, because of the Bottle Bill that empty will be picked up.

The incident shows just how thoughtless people can be. There was no need for the young woman to litter other than she made the decision to do so. Somehow we as a society must show everyone the value of being responsible.

Here's another example: I drove by an insurance company at the X in Springfield earlier this week and saw a woman flick her cigarette butt into the street. She then went back to work in her office. She was certainly old enough to know better, and one might assume educated enough to know better, but clearly she didn't give a fig.

So how do we reach these people? To me the "green" challenge is not just developing and marketing the technology that could slow global warming and improve the environment in general, but actually changing behaviors.

I think that behavioral changes might be more difficult, because too many people don't want to do the right thing, because that action might mean slightly more effort. In my middle age one of the universal truths I've discovered universal truths always have exceptions, by the way is that people are essentially lazy and frequently must be motivated to do what they should do.

For a start, I think Massachusetts must extend the Bottle Bill to include plastic and glass water and juice containers. The Bottle Bill has worked well so far and this extension could take tons more of garbage out of the waste stream.

We all can take steps to help ourselves out. What are you doing?


It's that time of year again when reporters poke fun of politicians and politicians reciprocate. The annual valley Press Club Roast is coming up May 4 at 5:30 p.m. in a new location, the recently re-opened Keg Room at 87 State St. in Springfield.

It's an old-new show for 2007 with John O'Brien of Rock 102 once again acting as the master of ceremonies.

If you've not been to a roast before, you can expect cutting remarks, funny skits and really bad acting from everyone involved. I've been cast as Sheriff Mike Ashe in one skit because Press Club President Peter Goonan said I would make a "great" Mike Ashe.

I apologize in advance to the sheriff.

Officials who usually turn up to accept and dish out abuse include Mayor Charles Ryan, members of the Springfield City Council, Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott and Sheriff Mike Ashe, among others. I hope folks like Mike Sullivan, Mike Bissonnette, Rick Sullivan, Ed Gibson and Richard Cohen also can come, along with various state reps and senators. There's plenty of sarcasm to go around!

Tickets are $15, which includes snacks. There will be a cash bar and a raffle. And your ticket purchase supports the Press Club's scholarship program.

If you're a news junkie, this is an event you won't want to miss.

The opinions expressed here are only those of the author.