WPC Member Spotlight Series

Charity Navigator Four Stars

This month’s feature: Tom McCartney

As an avid outdoorsman and advocate for nature, Tom McCartney has been a member of WPC for over ten years. Tom cites his appreciation of the outdoors as the reason for his long-term membership with WPC, stating that he believes Western Pennsylvania’s natural places are the region’s “biggest asset.”

Tom and his wife own a second home on the Upper Allegheny river, where he spends most of his free time reading or writing, as well as gardening, trout fishing, kayaking and canoeing.

Tom’s love of the natural world began during his childhood, while growing up on a farm in the Midwest. After graduating from the University of Missouri, where he studied agriculture and journalism, Tom moved to Western Pennsylvania, where he and his wife have resided for more than 35 years. He began a public relations and advertising firm in Pittsburgh, where he’s put his love of writing to good use. More recently, Tom wrote a book entitled Poisoned Roots, (available on Amazon.com) a fictional account that loosely chronicles the real-life battles his mother led to protect her farmland and hometown from landfill development and interstate garbage transfer.

“Pennsylvania is the number-one garbage-importing state in the country, primarily because we border two of the largest garbage exporters: New York and New Jersey,” said Tom. “Why are these states sending their garbage to Pennsylvania? Because they’ve filled up their landfills, and there isn’t room to build more…Now that the municipal solid waste regions of eastern Pennsylvania are filling up, guess where it’s going? It’s beginning to come west. Our southwestern area of Pennsylvania is importing waste from 17 different states, as well as the District of Columbia, and Philadelphia.”

To help alleviate this problem, Tom encourages consumers to think twice about throwing away recyclable materials. Tom himself isn’t ashamed to admit that he’s rescued a multitude of items from the curb in his lifetime, including guitars, furniture, and cookware, all of which could either be easily reused or recycled.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy thanks Tom for his membership. To help support WPC, visit WaterLandLife.org. If you would like to suggest a future WPC Member Profile, please contact Randy Schreiber at rschreiber@paconserve.org.