10/08/2009 Update: Heather is the winner of the LunchBots Eco stainless steel lunch container. Congratulations. And thank you everyone for all your work.
Our oceans are filling up with plastic. But you know that or you probably wouldn’t be here. Aside from personal changes to reduce plastic in our own lives, there are a few things we can do in the next few days to be part of a bigger solution. Check out instructions at the bottom to learn how to win a prize from Fake Plastic Fish.
1) Today: Obama wants your opinion. And it’s not about health care or Kanye West!
If you live near San Francisco, you have a rare chance to make your voice heard in Washington. The president has created an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, which will be holding a public meeting today in downtown San Francisco to gather recommendations for a “national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning.”
What: Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting
When: Thursday, September 17, 2:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Regency San Francisco at Embarcadero Center, Ballroom A 5 Embarcadero Center San Francisco, CA 94111 (near BART and MUNI Embarcadero Station)
There are so many important environmental issues affecting our oceans: overfishing, runoff pollution, acidification, offshore oil drilling, etc. But I wonder how many people will mention the fact that our current consumer lifestyle is turning our oceans into a plastic soup, swirling masses of plastic that kill wildlife and bioaccumulate toxic chemicals that make their way up the food chain. I wonder how many people will speak for the albatross with a belly full of plastic pieces or the sea turtle choking on plastic bags. Will anyone think to address the fact that the problem is not simply an issue of litter but, as Captain Charles Moore put it, “the symbol of our global crisis of overconsumption.”
I wish I could be there. Unfortunately, I have to work today and can’t make it. Showing up would be great, but for those of us not in San Francisco or unable to attend, there is a way to speak out!
Submit a comment to the task force via the Ocean Policy Task Force Web Site. That is how I’ll be making my views heard. I’ll post my letter on Fake Plastic Fish this weekend after I finish writing and uploading it to the site.
2) Now through next week: Friends on Midway up to their necks in plastic.
I’m so envious of my activist friends Manuel Maqueda and Chris Jordan who are out on Midway Atoll right now with 3 other artists photographing dead albatross carcasses, sitting in piles of plastic, witnessing the toll our way of life has taken on creatures thousands of miles away from civilization and posting their thoughts via video, Twitter, poetry, and even humor. T
Please check out Midway Journey. Few of us will ever get the chance to ever visit this remote island ourselves. I’m glad this awesome group of humans is there now showing me what I can’t see for myself.
3) This Saturday, 9/19: Get out and pick up some plastic!
International Coastal Cleanup Day is this Saturday. And while I realize that spending one day picking up plastic and other trash from the beach for a day will not have a significant impact on the oceans, it will have a significant impact on those who participate. On us. Because who wants to spend a morning cleaning up part of a beach only to see it immediately trashed again? Maybe seeing the mess for ourselves will help to remind us during the rest of the year that the problem is real, not just something we read about, and the solution is up to us.
I’ll be picking up trash in the East Bay, probably along the Berkeley or Emeryville shoreline. Want to join me? Check the Ocean Conservancy web site to find a cleanup effort near you.
4) Monday, 9/21: Looking back at our own stupidity.
ONE NIGHT ONLY: The Age of Stupid LIVE from New York
This is not specifically related to plastic, and yet it is because it’s related to the damage we have done to our future because of our actions today. The Age of Stupid is a new film which follows “a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?”
The film has its global premiere 9/21 & 22 at an event in NYC that will be broadcast live from a solar-powered tent to theaters all over the world. Attending and speaking at this live event will be political figures and celebrities such as Kofi Annan, Gillian Anderson, Mary Robinson, the film’s director Franny Armstrong, and the star of the film Pete Postlethwaite. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke will perform (yay!) and there will be “satellite links to scientists working in the Indonesian Rainforest and at the melting glaciers in the Himalayas. A group of children will speak from the very room in Copenhagen in which all our futures will be decided at the UN climate summit in December.”
This One Night Only live event is your only chance to see The Age of Stupid on the big screen and is timed for the day before the UN’s climate meeting on September 22nd, when 80 Heads of State – and therefore the world’s media – will gather in New York. (The event has also just been confirmed as being an official part of the UN’s Climate Week NYC.)
I just bought my ticket to see the film from the Century San Francisco Centre 9 downtown on Market Street. Check the Age of Stupid web site to find a screening location near you.
Participate in any one of these actions for a chance to win a stainless steel LunchBots Eco lunch container!
As an incentive to get involved this weekend, I’ve decided to give away one LunchBots Eco container, which is bigger than the original LunchBots containers and great for carrying adult-sized meals.
To enter the give-away, please leave a comment with contact information and let me know which of the actions you plan to pursue. You will receive one chance for every action, so if you do all 5, you get 5 chances to win.
1) Show up at the hearing today.
2) Submit a letter/comment to the Ocean Policy Taskforce online.
3) Follow Midway Journey on Twitter and subscribe to their site feed.
4) Participate in Coastal Cleanup Day.
5) Attend the Age of Stupid premiere.
If you decide to leave your comments on the Task Force web site, I would be thrilled for you to share them with us below as well. Okay, get crackin’!