July 18, 2022
In the Chappaqua Library Teen zone, there is a reading corner with a dark green colored chair and a round glass top table sitting against a glass wall. Light shines through the glass wall, forming a bright backdrop for the reading corner. Kids and adults alike, often sit in that chair while enjoying reading.
This reading corner was created in memory of Linda J. Zhang. Linda had spent many hours in the teen zone of the library as a volunteer librarian, a paid page or an avid reader. Reading has been one of Linda’s passions since she was a little girl. Wherever she went, she always had a book with her. Reading not only gave her knowledge, but also made her think deeply into the meaning of life.
On the bookcase next to the reading table, there is a plaque with a quote from Linda, “I have always sought out the path that is most closely aligned with my interests and values, no matter how difficult following it might be, whether that meant ascribing to a zero-waste lifestyle or learning a new skill”. That quote well describes who she was.
Her interests and values were essential to her while she was seeking a life with meaning. She took the values full-heartedly. Although many people have already pioneered the movement to fight climate change, it is still far from being a mainstream trend. When Linda decided to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle, she did it wholeheartedly. Even it was not necessarily a popular one and far from being a social norm. From carrying her utensils everywhere to avoid single use plastic to shopping only at second hand stores. She has researched sustainable alternatives for daily consumables, tried DIY projects as replacement of store bought items that come with plastic bottles.
There are people who choose to take a path least traveled. Some people even take the most difficult steps to create a path that didn’t exist before. But when more and more people follow, that path widens and becomes a road.
Next time when you have a chance to visit the Chappaqua library and sit in that reading corner, keep Linda in your thoughts and think about what change you can bring to make our world a better place. Every change, big or small, matters. In the grand scale, individual effort seems minimal, but collectively we can make an impact.
It is such a difficult and painful fact to share that today marks the second year since we lost Linda. Yet, we always feel her presence in our hearts and minds.
July 18, 2021
Exactly one year ago today, our world changed forever. Our beloved daughter Linda J. Zhang left the world she cared about so deeply. One year, 365 days, every single day was a painful reminder of what we have lost. Every single day we longed to see her smile, to hear her laugh, to talk to her and to hug her. There is nothing more painful than to live without our loved one. This has been the hardest year of our life.
During this year, the outpouring of remembrance of Linda and support from friends, colleagues, neighbors, and people from near and far has given us the strength to move on. With your help, we have channeled our grief and launched the Linda J. Zhang Memorial Foundation to continue her passion to help the environment.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of her passing, we would like to share a story about Linda going the extra length to avoid using disposable plastics in her daily life. One day in the summer of 2019 when she first arrived in China to begin her gap year, she wanted to enjoy some freshly squeezed fruit juice at a local market. She ordered the drink and quickly gestured to the server to use her own reusable bottle instead of the disposable cup. Apparently, that was the first time the server had heard such a request and did not know how to proceed. Even in such a bit awkward situation, Linda still went on to explain her reason with her not-so-perfect Mandarin and dad’s occasional help in between. At the end, the server understood her and happily agreed to accommodate her request. Linda was happy knowing that she didn’t have to add another disposable plastic cup and straw into the landfill.
Everytime, when we throw away something, it is never true “away”, that is how the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has been formed. Individual effort seems so trivial and its effectiveness is often in doubt. But collectively we can make a big difference. Any major social changes all start with a small group of people leading the way. With more and more people joining the force, something used to be “abnormal” becomes a trend, then a trend becomes a “norm”.
Through the Linda J. Zhang Foundation’s work, we hope more and more people will join us and be the persons who lead the way. We hope our effort will help to bring a better future for generations to come. We know that Linda is that biggest shining star in the sky and is with us in our hearts and thoughts along the way.
On this day, please keep Linda in your thoughts and if you can, do one thing that will positively impact our planet.