My Brother – Quietly Taking On Green Living

By Amy Miller

I want you to meet Bobby. But you have to call him Bob. A public school teacher, a father, a resident of suburban Boston – and my brother – Bobby has slowly and quietly added more and more activities to his green-living repertoire.

He has joined local committees, made changes in his house and heating, scaled back motorized transportation and begun experimenting with different forms of sustainable living. What impresses me about Bobby is that he does not proselytize, he does not flaunt his righteousness and he does not pretend he will give up that which he loves (skiing, traveling and the rare chance to jet ski, for instance).

Bob does what he can. I imagine if we all tried as hard we could save a lot of trees, or glaciers or lungs. It may not be enough to save the planet, but it’s enough to make a difference.

So this is the first in a periodic posting about my brother Bobby and what he is up to.

When I talked to Bob recently he had just graduated from his town’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training, a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At 57, he had volunteered to become one of 100 Brookline citizens trained over the years to help when disasters strike.

About 350 towns nationwide have trained citizens to help in emergencies. Like what? Like power outage, snowstorms, chemical spills, nuclear war, you name it.

Bobby decided to do the training after receiving an email from a town rep. His second child left for college this fall and he had more time on his hands.

“It sounded fun so I signed up,” he said.

And indeed it was fun. “I liked learning about things I didn’t know,” he said.

Two local police officers taught students about first aid, fire-training, shelter operations and traffic control, among other things, during 10 weekly classes.
At graduation, Bob was one of two students invited to speak.

Acknowledging he might have been attracted by a certain geek quality to the whole thing, Bob ran to retrieve goodies given to students: a glow-in-the-dark vest, a CERT hat and helmet, duct tape, goggles, a CERT backpack, work gloves, a first aid kit, a flashlight, an emergency blanket, a mask and a wrench.

And truth be told, my brother was not completely out of place. “Now,” he reported, “I want to get into ham radios.”

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, seven chickens, two parakeets, dog and a great community.

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