The 1977 Committee to Save the Earth students. Courtesy photo

Islanders invited to participate in community forum | On History

  • Monday, September 18, 2017 3:38pm
  • Opinion

In 1969, Mercer Island High School student Bob Liberty founded The Committee to Save the Earth (CSE).

“The very first recycling event consisted of picking up cans and bottles and some cardboard from along the roadside,” Liberty wrote.

From collecting litter, CSE turned to focusing on recycling. By 1975, these dedicated students, mentored by their teacher Harry Leavitt, had envisioned, planned, funded and helped to build the Mercer Island Recycling Center. In 1976, then-Gov. Dan Evans awarded the CSE the state’s Environmental Excellence Award, accepted by MIHS student Bill Hochberg on behalf of the group.

Over the years, the center saved millions of pounds from landfill and raised thousands of dollars that were used for school and community environmental projects. However, by 2010, curbside recycling cut into the income earned through the center. It closed on Feb. 28, 2010.

The City Council decided to repurpose the building and commissioned the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) to lead a community-wide process to determine the best use for the building. BGI conducted a community survey and a stakeholders’ meeting and presented a 42-page report to the council on July 12, 2010. However, the council postponed action on the report and neglected to follow through on repurposing the building as the stakeholders envisioned.

This weekend, Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks (CCMIP) welcomes Islanders to a community forum to update the BGI report and to provide citizen input to the council, to carry out the goals articulated by the 2010 council for re-purposing the building — focusing on “uses that will address Mercer Island’s ongoing commitment to economic, environmental and social sustainability.”

The forum “RENEW, REUSE, RE-PURPOSE” will be held from 1:30-3:30, Sept. 23 at the Mercer Island Library. A reception to honor former CSE members and celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the opening of the Recycling Center will kick off the forum. A brief DVD about the history of the center, “Saving a Piece of the Earth” (1991), will be screened, followed by a working session to generate ideas and strategies for realizing the council’s goals in 2010.

Commemorative booklets and DVDs will be given to attendees while supplies last. To reserve your copy in advance, email protectmiparks@gmail.com. More information at www.protectmiparks.org.

Meg Lippert is a member of Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks, a group of Mercer Island residents dedicated to protecting parkland from development.

More in Opinion

How to prepare for a disaster on Mercer Island | Guest Column

A few years ago, I took over as medical lead for Mercer… Continue reading

My father was a failure | On Faith

The things my dad did and didn’t do.

Allison Apfelbaum
How to eat healthy on the go | On Health

In our busy lives it can be so very hard to make… Continue reading

A recipe for Mercer Island graduates | On Faith

Stir about the mixed emotions reduced from simmered memories.

Signature of registered voter is a coveted commodity

The competitive nature of the initiative and referendum season now peaking in Washington.

Photo by Michael O’Leary/Everett Herald
                                Photo by Michael O’Leary/Everett Herald
Eyman says he will spend $500K of his own money on initiative

The conservative activist’s self-financing claim points to a lack of deep-pocketed donors.

Are students vaping in Mercer Island High School bathrooms?

Dear YFS – My daughter is a senior at the high school.… Continue reading

Six year old Laura Drake, who is so passionate about plants that she named her rescue cats Daisy and Daffodil, has been training as a Junior Naturalist in the Native Garden.
Tour of Native Garden led by junior naturalist tomorrow

Laura Drake’s first tour is April 28, during the Washington Native Plant Society native plant sale in Mercerdale Park.

NIM tackling Mercer Way shoulder paving, biking safety and more | Neighbors in Motion

Editor’s note: This is the fifth of an occasional article written by… Continue reading

E-cigarettes try to hook another generation | On Health

E-cigarette devices mimic conventional cigarette use and help normalize smoking behaviors.

Speak up to help silent sufferers of domestic violence | Guest Column

Leveraging the heightened awareness sparked by the #metoo movement.