Green Living: When it comes to waste: The kids are all right

Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:19am EDT
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Nick Rosen is an independent columnist and Reuters takes no responsibility for his opinions

By Nick Rosen

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Jan Schlichtmann was an environmental activist long before it was fashionable, but these days that gives him a problem with his garbage and with his children.

Schlichtmann is a leading injury compensation lawyer, and his most famous case in the 1980s was the subject of the Hollywood movie "A Civil Action." He was played by John Travolta and the movie tells the story of his fight to prove a chemical company was polluting a Massachusetts town.

Back in those days, being an environmentalist meant campaigning against industrial polluters rather than pressing for reduced individual household use of resources such as energy and water.

Schlichtmann still lives in Massachusetts, but now his environmental opponents include his own children. They are not satisfied that their father is doing all he could to help the environment, especially when it comes to recycling.

"You can definitely put me in the pragmatic category," said Schlichtmann, in his home office near Gloucester, where he still directs numerous public interest campaigns seeking compensation for environmental damage.

"There's the easy things once can do as an individual and then the not so easy."

"I would put in the easy category: - getting energy efficient lighting, we've done that - although it takes a little getting used to how long the lights take to get the full strength."   Continued...