Meet Bayside's 'Queen of Living Green'
Emily Vaill Pfaff urges citizens to develop sustainable practices so future generations don't suffer.
For over 15 years, Emily Vaill Pfaff of Bayside has been eating organic foods, recycling as much as possible, saving energy and engaging in many other key aspects of a "green" lifestyle.
“Every bedroom has a recycling basket, and at every desk there is a recycling receptacle. The kitchen recycle can is twice the size of the garbage can,” Vaill Pfaff said.
While most residents in Bayside use one rolling recycling dumpster, Vaill Pfaff’s family has two. Vaill Pfaff also has strict rules on water usage at home and showers must be kept to a 10-minute maximum. Clothes washing is only done on days without rain.
“The water is off during teeth brushing and we do little to no lawn watering. We also have three rain barrels,” Pfaff said.
A good place to be
Vaill Pfaff has been especially happy with Bayside's recycling program and what she describes as officials' willingness to help.
“When you institute a system of recycling, simply finding a designated container placed in a throw-away place, you begin to save the planet, and to save money," she said. "Small communities can be instrumental in teaching larger communities how to do this; Bayside is remarkable in its leadership and citizen involvement.”
According to Vaill Pfaff, Bayside now recycles all plastics marked 1-7 and has gone to an easier system of recycling.
“In Bayside, and under Village Manager Andy Pederson, we now have gone to single-stream recycling, which makes it easier for residents to throw (recyclables) all together,” Vaill Pfaff said.
Vaill Pfaff’s efforts don’t end at home; she is very active in the community as well.
“I facilitate an Environmental Ministry group at my church, I send e-mails and join efforts as spearheaded by other environmental groups such as the Environmental Working Group and the Sierra Club,” Viall Pfaff said.
Pesticides also an issue
Vaill Pfaff is concerned about the future of the world and hopes that people will reevaluate the usage of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
“If you poison the weeds, you also poison the bugs that then are eaten by the birds that are affected or sickened, that then sicken the larger animals that may eat them as prey” Vaill Pfaff said.
“We need to move our thinking from ‘what is best for me?’ to ‘how does what I do affect those around me?’”
She worries about children and house pets as well getting in contact with pesticides.
“Whitefish Bay has done a wonderful job of not spraying public greenways and at my church we’ve used corn gluten instead of pesticide on the grass.”
Vaill Pfaff maintains a long term focus with her family and her green lifestyle.
“Our long-range goals are to add residential solar panels or wind turbines, drive an electric car eventually, and the next place we live will be a place where we walk more than we drive,” Vaill Pfaff said.