Planet New Canaan advocates for environmental efforts, education
NEW CANAAN — It may be a young initiative, but Planet New Canaan is putting down roots on making environmentalist efforts convenient for town residents.
“We want to be the environmental group for New Canaan,” Robin Bates-Mason, president of Planet New Canaan, said. “We wanted to start something new that was nonjudgmental and an initiative around town to guide people who may not usually think about the environment.”
Planet New Canaan seeks to start out with small steps to help residents keep the environment in mind, from showing what items can be recycled to suggesting replacements for plastic and advocating for the use of biodegradable materials.
“We’re hoping that these little things get people motivated and going store-to-store to spread the message,” Bates-Mason said.
Bates-Mason’s plan to focus on the community is central to the organization.
“This is something New Canaan is lacking and we want to be the people out there helping through education,” she said. “By making this New Canaan-focused, I think we’ll have more success.”
For more about Planet New Canaan, visit their Facebook page: facebook.com/planetnewcanaan.
The Planet New Canaan Facebook group, created in December, has around 150 followers. The site posts information regularly about educational events around town and pictures detailing where residents can obtain reusable bags or bring their plastic bags to be recycled.
“We welcome new members and are always looking for more,” said Margot Bright, secretary of Planet New Canaan.
According to Bright, the structure for the organization was established, including a board and other key positions, in the last six months and outreach efforts have been growing ever since.
“People don’t really visualize this trash in their backyard or the coastline, but we have to show how it will eventually impact our local community,” the group’s secretary said.
In keeping with their local focus, Planet New Canaan teamed up with Walter Stewart’s Market in January to promote the use of reusable bags; for every reusable bag used, the Market gave five cents to the New Canaan All Sports Booster Club.
“Planet New Canaan reached out to us and gave us this idea and it seemed like a great cause,” said Doug Stewart, an owner of Walter Stewart’s Market. “We’re still doing this for another week and then we will tally the results of the funds raised toward the All Sports Booster Club.”
The environmental organization has also already provided a screening of the documentary “Bag It,” which addresses the effects of plastic on the ecosystem, at the New Canaan Library and St. Mark’s Church. The organization plans to continue this practice for community outreach.
“We’re partnering with other local towns and speaking with the Conservation Commission about how to work together with them and get local merchants and the town itself to promote reusable shopping bags and biodegradable materials,” Bright said.
Planet New Canaan members had scheduled a presentation for the Conservation Commission last week but the inclement weather forced them to postpone.
According to Bates-Mason and Bright, Planet New Canaan is close to securing a financial partnership with a local organization though details won’t be made public until a deal is reached.
“We want to work with the town to increase compost efforts and to handle waste more efficiently. People are confused about how the town dump even works and we would welcome the opportunity to help educate the public on how to do this,” Bright said.