Stephen J. Roman, Sr., Eco Warrior
The Greening of The Roman Media Group
At a recent customer meeting to discuss improvements to their firms advertising and how the Roman Media Group could help increase sales and profits, the customer said to Thomas Roman, President of Roman Media Group “One of your competitors told us that your sales program for the Host Roman business is just an attempt for a Johnnie Come Lately to jump on the Green Bandwagon!” When he related this story to me, I had to chuckle to myself; the Roman Family Johnnie Come Latelies to the environmental field...
That sent my mind back 45 years to 1967. I had been called by my country to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, and while recuperating from an injury, I had the opportunity to read what at that time was a book written by some progressive; it was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which today is acknowledged as the book that started the environmental movement in America. I completed my Army duty in 1967, and upon my return home, I began to see everything in a different light. I became aware of just how fragile this round ball we call Earth really is, and as I started to spend more time reading newspapers, magazines and attending local events and meetings on what was happening in our area, it was like a loud horn blowing in the wind.
The Monongahela River near Pittsburg was so heavily polluted that it caught fire, and the situation was so severe that it threatened boats, docks and everything that the river touched. Here in New Jersey, industrial plants had been making toxic chemicals and material such as asbestos, radium, dioxin and lead, and just dumping them in the ground and into our rivers for years; every day the newspapers had another story on major fish deaths in the Passaic River, and that the Passaic was so heavily contaminated with dioxin, mercury, lead and hundreds of other chemicals that it was forbidden to swim in, or to eat anything that was caught in it. Imagine this beautiful natural river that could give you a chemical burn if you touched it, and if you ate fish from it, you could get cancer. The ocean was so heavily polluted with garbage, human waste and chemicals that a simple trip to the beach was literally risking getting numerous infections to your eyes, skin and throat, just to name a few.
The real tragedy of all this was THAT NO ONE CARED! IT WAS THE WAY WE DID THINGS! You flushed your toilet and you swam in it on the weekend, and New York City had ALL of its sewer lines hooked directly to the Hudson River, and raw sewage spilled into the Hudson 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and nobody gave it a second thought!
On top of this was the fact that greedy, selfish developers and politicians had the attitude that whatever a developer wanted to build was okay. It didn't matter how sensitive the land was, or how important the area was as part of an underground aquifer system, or if the land would be better used as a park for active and passive recreation; the only things that seemed to matter were making money, taking political contributions and getting re-elected, the public be dammed.
When I went to local, county and state officials to ask what could be done to correct these problems, I was told in no uncertain terms to shut my mouth, go back home and be quiet. Well, that is not, to use the present day terms, “that is not how I roll!”
In late 1968, I called a number of friends and asked them to come to my home; I wanted to start a group of public-minded citizens to formulate a real effort from the ground up to fight pollution and to go after firms that had ruined the land, water and air, and to stop as much environmental harmful development as possible. This was still a very radical idea, and only a few, two to be exact, showed up. Only one was in for the long haul, my good friend even today, Ronald Russo. At that meeting, I fleshed out my goals and objectives to start a peaceful movement of people concerned over the troubling issues we faced now and for generations in the future. We talked for many hours, and as we talked, we could see a vision of what would become the largest citizen-based anti-pollution group in New Jersey, and one of the largest in the United States.
That evening we formed our group, “The Morris County Concerned Committee for Clean Air and Water” With good fortune, we had people join from all walks of life and with all sorts of talents. One member was a PR man who started a very aggressive campaign to get our name out there, and another member was involved in politics. We soon realized that without the support of federal, state, county and local governing bodies, we would be pushing our ideas uphill all day long.
People started to become more and more aware of our goals and objectives and how they were affected by them, whether they lived at the Jersey Shore or in the mountains along the Delaware River. We had so many things going on that we needed just one person to keep track of the events we were involved in. But as the 1960’s turned into the 1970’s and then President Richard Nixon caught onto the environmental movement, things started to changed. Here's one local example:
There was a park in Morris County, New Jersey, a pristine piece of land that'd never been developed. It was 230 acres attached to another sanctuary that was over 1800 acres. In the early 1970’s, a developer with the help of people in county and town governments was quietly trying to change the zoning from that parcel being a park to being land zoned for construction of single family homes; it was being done in private and behind closed doors. Our group found out and staged what was and is the largest local protest ever, and today, Old Troy Park sits unmolested by bulldozers and steam shovels. There are a few baseball fields and soccer fields, but about 220 acres sit as they have since before people lived in this community.
To show our strength in late 1969 and early 1970, we started a petition to save various pieces of land and to force land owners and towns along the Rockaway River to cease dumping into the river and for the federal government to start requiring municipalities to do the following:
- • Install sewers
- • Update sewer plants
- • Force factories to cease unregulated burning and releasing smoke and ash directly into the air
- • Hold firms who have done the worst damage responsible for their damage and costs of cleaning up those damaged sites.
Unfortunately, the last part of that is still going forward. Just this year the EPA, a creation by the way of the Environmental Movement, announced that the first-stage clean up of the lower Passaic River would take place, and that it hoped in ten years to have removed all of the dioxin pumped into to the River by Diamond Shamrock, the makers of Agent Orange.
To support our efforts, we started a petition, obtained over 50,000 signatures, and presented it in Washington, D.C. to our US Senators and Congressional delegation. Keep in mind that at that time, even signing a petition against pollution was considered a radical thing to do, and we had ten times that amount tell us that they supported our efforts but did not want to have their name on the petition for fear of retribution.
As the years passed, more and more things that seemed so far off in the distance have become a part of everyday life. New York City no longer dumps any waste into the Hudson River, and fish and crabs have returned in large numbers to the Hudson River and lower New York Bay. The Jersey Shore has become so clean that you can see to depths of 25 to 30 feet on calm days, where forty years ago you could not see one foot. Most municipalities now have sewer systems with third-stage treatment plants, and many more have upgraded their systems to where water coming out of the plant is almost as clean as if it were never used for moving raw sewage. Factories no longer belch black smoke into the air and every plan for a new project must have EPA approval at the federal and state levels before being undertaken. We have come light years from where we were back in the 1960’s, and I am proud to say I was a part of it.
However, as our population grows and our natural resources become fewer and fewer, we can never ease up on our vigilance; we must be as strong today as we were fifty years ago. We need to understand that burning carbon-based fuels is the THE MAJOR CAUSE OF AIR POLLOUTION TODAY, AND THE GASES AND ASH THAT RESULTS FROM THIS EMMISSIONS HAVE CAUSED AND ARE CAUSING SERIOUS DAMAGE from the acid rain that falls into our rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Many lakes in New England look like beautiful pictures, crystal clear water, but unfortunately, due to acid rain, there is nothing alive in the water; the acid rain has poisoned the entire lake, and it has the same effect on delicate plants, animals and birds.
When Roman Media Group founded its subsidiary – HOSTROMAN for Industrial-Grade Hosting for its customers, websites and other data systems, it did some serious research. Thomas Roman is a Mechanical Engineer and understands the ramifications of using fossils fuels to generate power for the hosting business. HostRoman's server farm does not only contain the most sophisticated servers available today, all of our servers utilize 100% Wind Power Generated Electricity; not one cup of Fossil Fuels are used to power all HOSTROMAN websites.
Here at Roman Media Group, we understand and have implemented many programs that have a positive effect on our environment from basic internal recycling of plastic and papers to more sophisticated recycling of our electronic gear (through our client AERC Recycling in Flanders, NJ) so as to guarantee that none of our outdated equipment ends up in a garbage dump. We feel that Roman Media Group has a ZERO Carbon Footprint on our environment, and when we hear a competitor tell a customer that we are a Johnnie Come Lately to the Green Movement, we will still laugh to ourselves.
At Roman Media Group, we have spent our lives being supporters of a clean, healthy environment for ourselves, our children and for generations of Americans yet to come. If you wish to be a part of this effort in some small way, I suggest you sign up for our Industrial Web Hosting Services and make that your starting point in your firm in our efforts for a cleaner world.
If you want to know what it was like when burning garbage dumps in South Kearny smelled so bad that you could not be outside, when the Rockaway River had more raw sewage floating in it than live fish, or when asbestos, dioxin, mercury and lead were just dumped or pumped into our waterways, please feel free to email me, Stephen J. Roman Sr., (Steve@RomanMedia.com) and I will respond to your questions.
The battle is NEVER over; there will always be politicians who will allow anything to go on in their community if the price is right. Stand with us, make your voices heard and let those in charge know that we are watching over their shoulder, and if we do not like what is taking place, we still have the right to pull the levers in the voting booth come election day.
Stephen J. Roman Sr.
Roman Media Group
- - - - - Following are just a few articles supporting the efforts of the Morris County Concerned Committee for Clean Air and Water - - - - -
*Letter from United States Senator Clifford Case regarding his support for Environmental Activities of The Morris County Concerned Committee for Clean Air & Water.
*Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with New Jersey Governor William Cahill, Vincent Fox, John Kroeger.
*With Congressman Peter Frelinghuysen, Nick Gaffney, John Kroeger & State Senator Jim Vreeland at Congressman Frelinghuysen's Offices in Washington D.C..
*With Congressman Peter Frelinghuysen at Congressman Frelinghuysen's Offices in Washington D.C..