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Metro Council candidate Mason Roberts: 'District 8 has the opportunity to be city's leader in sustainability'

by Guest Bloggers

(Editor’s note: Insider Louisville is asking for guest bloggers submissions from, or interviews with, all Louisville-area candidates, Republicans, Democrats and Independents. This post is from Mason Roberts, who is a candidate for the District 8 Louisville Metro Council seat. This post is neither an Insider Louisville endorsement of the candidate nor of his views.)

By Mason Roberts

Sustainability is at the core of what drives me. I know the word has lost some meaning due to over-use and “conspicuous conservation,” but I believe that sustainability goes back to a simple lesson I was taught as a kid; leave things better than you found them.

This mantra will allow us to preserve and protect our natural, human, and historical resources. We need to find innovative solutions to our city’s problems and I believe they will be found where sustainability, community, and business intersect.

For instance, under the leadership of our current representation our city finds itself in a financial bind, so we must find a way to balance our budget. During times of economic hardship it would be irresponsible for Metro Government to raise taxes, which leaves one option; to spend less.

This is why I propose expanding business recycling to include all businesses in the district, making the large orange-recycling totes available to residents, and adding all compostable materials to the current yard-waste pickup program.

This year alone we have spent $2,028,081.48 on Landfill/Sanitation Services. Why should we spend taxpayers’ money to take useful materials to waste in a landfill?

This proposal would not only cut costs, bringing us closer to a balanced budget, but would also reduce pollution and create compost, a natural fertilizer, that could practically be given away to the public or used by the city to further reduce costs.

Beyond that, I believe it is a moral blight on our District that all businesses do not currently have access to recycling.

In addition, those who recycle more than they throw away should be able to trade in their large black totes for large orange totes, and then trade in their small orange containers for small black ones. For those residents who do not want to trade but would like both large containers, they could pay for the additional large container.

This would make recycling more convenient for environmentally conscious residents and save space in the landfill, which in the long run this saves the city money.

I have been told that adding compostable materials to the yard waste program is not realistic. However, I have seen it work in other cities and believe it will work here. It is time that we move past the complacency we have in our city’s leadership.

We can accomplish anything if we have the will and conviction to change.

District 8 has the opportunity to be the leader in sustainability in our city and Louisville has an opportunity to be an example to the nation. As a sustainability coordinator, a consultant and the director of Louisville Grows, I have worked with many community groups.

Also, I have served on many boards including the Food in Neighborhoods committee, Ohio Valley Creative Energy, and the Green Convene with Maria Koetter, Louisville’s Sustainability Director. As your representative, I will work to leverage these relationships to ensure that we move towards a more sustainable future, economically and environmentally.

After all, if we are not sustainable, then we are unsustainable. By definition this means “not able to be maintained or supported in the future, especially without causing damage or depletion of a resource”*.

Regardless of what you call it, I believe that we all dream of a better city for our children and all of our citizens. Join me in my cause to bring new energy and bold ideas to our district and city.

Vote Mason on May 22nd.

About Mason Roberts: Recently featured in GreenList Louisville, Mason Roberts is a local leader in the environmental and local food movements. He is currently running for Metro Council District 8 in the Democrat primary. He worked through college and earned a degree in mathematics from U of L and a master’s degree in international business and sustainability while in California. Upon returning to Louisville he started a non-profit focused on urban regeneration and sustainability called Louisville Grows. He is also an actuary for Humana.

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