Monthly Archives: October 2008

Blog Action Day 2008: Plastic Pollution & Poverty

Reuters: A rubbish collector carries his baby as he walks amid plastic waste at a garbage dump site in Guiyang, Guizhou province June 3, 2008.

Today is Blog Action Day. Thousands of bloggers have united to discuss a single issue – poverty. The aim is to raise awareness and initiate action.

Honestly, I signed up to participate without giving the topic much thought, and now that I must come up with a blog post on the issue of poverty, I am nearly struck dumb. What can I possibly say about such enormous suffering?

So my contribution will simply be to show some of the plastic pollution all over the world, pollution which ends up in the world’s poorest regions because, like the plastic floating out in the North Pacific Gyre, these regions are to the Global Rich, out of sight and out of mind.

Reuters: A garbage collector transports plastic bags to recycle at a construction site in Xiangfan, Hubei province, March 16, 2008.

Reuters: Boys collects plastic… Read the rest

Beth tells conference: We need more plastic-free bloggers!

Returning from Earth Resource Foundation’s “No Plastic Left Behind” conference this weekend, it occurs to me that Fake Plastic Fish is lonely. Look at her swimming by herself in a big polluted fish pond. In the beginning, the only other plastic-free bloggers she knew of were Plasticless.com and Vancouver’s Plastic-Free in 2007. But that gal hasn’t posted since January. (Where are you EnviroWoman?) Then along came other similar souls: Life Less Plastic swimming in Chicago, the Biscuit Queen in New York, Polythene Pam in the U.K. and recently Plastic Is Forever, two gals in New York and L.A. But the plastic-free world needs more voices!

Why?

Because living a plastic-free life depends on what’s available where you live. What I realized after attending the conference in Orange County, CA is that I am very, very lucky to live in the SF Bay Area where natural food stores with their big bulk bins are abundant. I … Read the rest

Year 2, Week 17 Results: .2 oz of plastic waste.

I just got back from an inspiring weekend in Orange County, CA. Earth Resource Foundation held its first “No Plastic Left Behind” conference for its Campaign Against the Plastic Plague. What was truly exciting were the number of high school and college students who made the choice to spend an entire Saturday in classrooms learning about plastics and planning strategies and campaigns for their schools and communities. I’ll talk about the conference more tomorrow.

For now, here’s the weekly tally.

All new plastic waste: 2 plastic envelope windows. Both are notices from USE credit union.

1 plastic drinking straw. Arriving at the restaurant in Orange County Friday night for the speaker dinner, I discovered that each of us had already been served iced water with plastic straws. This is what I get for being late. No chance to request my water without a straw.

1 ball of plastic food wrap. Earth Resource Foundation tried very… Read the rest

Information Overload

Do you ever feel like a disembodied head? I do. There’s just so much information to know, so much to learn about our planet and how to care for it, and the Internet makes obtaining that information faster and easier than ever. I’m subscribed to a multitude of e-newsletters, all from worthwhile organizations:

350.orgAl GoreCalifornia Product Stewardship CouncilCalifornians Against WasteCo-op AmericaCorporate Accountability InternationalEarth Resource FoundationFood & Water WatchGreen SanghaGreenpeaceIdeal BiteNew American DreamOrganic Consumers AssociationPopulation ConnectionSave The BaySierra Club

I’m sure I’ve missed a few. Plus I’m subscribed to most of the the blogs that you see on my sidebar, including the Green Mom bloggers (which have embraced me as an honorary member) and the APLS, who are currently debating what the A stands for, as well as the newsletters of companies that sell… Read the rest

Vajrapani Retreat Center: find the plastic; win a prize!

Vajrapani Institute is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains. Care for the earth and all its creatures is one of its core practices, to the extent that the members try as much as possible to avoid killing even insects. This is where I spent the weekend, sitting in silence, listening to the birds, showering among the trees, and just having a moment to breath.

I love taking pictures, so on the last day of the retreat, I snapped a few to share with you. But so as not to lose the theme of this blog, let’s make a little contest. To the person who can identify a large mass of plastic hidden within one of these photos, I’ll send a copy of Sierra Club’s book, Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet: Everyday Things to Help Solve Global Warming. It’s a nifty little book that Sierra Club sent me to review. But after reading it, I’d rather just pass it along and see what you think.

Next week, I’ll reveal the winner and… Read the rest

Year 2, Week 16 Results: .7 oz of plastic waste. Cool music video.

Why oh why do kitties like to chew on plastic? Arya had X-rays today. She’s healing well but has to wait a couple of weeks to get the pin removed from her leg. Feisty girl. Broken bone didn’t stop her from jumping up on top of the refrigerator after she got home. A few more weeks of cage, I’m afraid.

News: Take Back The Filter campaign in the NY Times today! Michael was excited to be photographed by the NY Times this weekend while I was away at a meditation retreat. Can you find little black kitty Soots hiding in the photo?

Stay tuned after the plastic tally for a music video that was sent to me today to bring awareness to the problems of plastic in the oceans.

All new plastic waste: 3 plastic envelope windows. Notices from Financial West Group, AT&T, & Kaiser Permanente. There were a few solicitations from organizations this week, too, but I sent them back requesting to be removed from the paper mailing list.

1 outer wrapper from a … Read the rest

Announcements: Van Jones, No Plastic Left Behind, & Message In A Bottle

I have a trio of exciting announcements, so please be sure and read the whole post.

1) Britt Bravo of Have Fun * Do Good emailed me a few days ago to help spread the word about Van Jones’s new book, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems,which is being released on October 7. If you don’t know who Van Jones is, you should! Ten years ago, he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights here in Oakland to promote positive alternatives to violence and incarceration through efforts which include the Green Collar Jobs Campaign to create opportunities in the green economy for poor people and people of color. And he was recently named a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment.

I heard Van Jones interviewed several months ago on Britt’s Big Vision podcast and was blown away by this man who is able to bridge many different communities and make the links between environmental and social justice. This book is just… Read the rest

Amish Friendship Bread: Skipping the Ziploc bag.

I’d never heard of Amish Friendship Bread, apparently the chain letter of baking, before receiving this bag of starter from my co-worker Jo Anne last week. For those of you who are as ignorant as I was, it’s a yeast starter that each person nurtures and “feeds” (adding flour, sugar, and milk on days 6 and 10) for 10 days, then, after quadrupling the original amount, divides it up, making bread with one part and passing the remaining three to friends who will repeat the process (and hopefully not give it right back to you.)

The thing is, the starter recipe that’s been circulating through my office requires that each portion be placed in its own Ziploc bag. Each day, the starter is kneaded through the bag until day 10. But certainly the Amish people (if they are indeed the ones who came up with this recipe… that fact is apparently in doubt according to a few Internet sources) wouldn’t have started out using plastic… Read the rest