The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
September 17, 2009

Obama & the Ocean Need You! Participate & Win a LunchBots Eco!


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!


Classic stainless steel bento boxes and cotton lunch bags.

I only post ads for products I use myself. Your support helps to fund my plastic-free mission.

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’!

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18 Comments on "Obama & the Ocean Need You! Participate & Win a LunchBots Eco!"

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Beth Terry
7 years 13 days ago

Thank you all for your good work! Heather, you are the winner of the LunchBots Eco. Sorry it took me so long to award the prize. This was one more thing in the huge pile by my desk, which I mentioned in today’s post (, so I will be very happy to send it to you and have one less thing on my “to do” list. :-)
.-= Beth Terry´s last blog ..No Impact Man Book Discussion: Chapters 2 & 3 =-.

7 years 1 month ago

Thank you for alerting me to The Age of Stupid, I hadn't heard about it until your post. I bought my ticket today, and I'm pretty psyched about it. I hope to see a follow-up post about the event!

7 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the encouragement to check out Midway Journey. It is fascinating.

Thanks, Rachel
fakeplasticfish "at"

Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama
7 years 1 month ago

We did some coastal cleanup today! I want to attend the Age of Stupid but don't think I'm going to be able to do so . .

Don't enter me in the contest – just stopping by to say hello.

7 years 1 month ago

I participated in Coastal Cleanup Day today! This was my 3rd year at the Balboa Park Los Angeles River site.

Fake Plastic Fish
7 years 1 month ago
Hi Emily. I'll look into the coating on the top of the container. I'll ask Jaqueline about it. But just to be clear: I do buy some durable things that contain plastic. The sticker on an apple gets thrown away, and as small as it is, adds to the waste stream. The powder coating on a stainless steel container is not trash. I do have plastic parts on my travel mug, and I do have a soda maker made of plastic parts which will save thousands of plastic bottles of the course of its life. My cell phone is plastic.… Read more »
7 years 1 month ago

Hello Beth,
I am writing about the LunchBots – I do think that they are an excellent product and I am considering buying one. However, I am in the eng/mfg field and know that the Powder Coat paint is plastic. I don't like how the website states that their product is 100% plastic free.
I personally, would buy these because I would want to support the move towards not wholley made of plastic. However, I wanted to bring this up because I know you avoid even the tinyest amount of plastic like a sticker on an apple.

John Costigane
7 years 1 month ago

Hi Beth,

President Obama's contribution to the stewardship of the Ocean & Great Lakes is most welcome. In truth, this problem of sea (and shore) contamination is a worldwide issue, including here in the UK.

American can take a lead in this effort and show the better approach to waste handling. Throwaway is not a choice.

Eco Yogini
7 years 1 month ago

Hi Beth,
If I were in the States I would totally participate! :)

Just wanted to let you know about a FANTASTIC documentary on plastic on the cbc doczone website called "The Disappearing Male".

Thought you might be interested (I blogged about it too and linked Fake Plastic Fish as inspiration and essential info! :) )


7 years 1 month ago

I know this won't count as an entry, but I just want to say THANK YOU for having a blog giveaway that requires entrants to actually do something that matters, rather than pointless stuff, like just tweet every day for up to 20 entries and that sort of thing. You're giving me some ideas… (-:

7 years 1 month ago

I subscribed to via google reader.

7 years 1 month ago

We will do our weekly litter patrol around the lake this Saturday. Nowhere near the ocean here in CO!

7 years 1 month ago
Here's my comment at the Task Force Comment Page: Focusing on the problems in the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes is wonderful, important work. But I wonder how much attention is being paid to the fact that it is our culture of overconsumption which is causing the problems in the first place. It is fine to try to clean up messes and regulate fishing and protect wildlife. But at some point there needs to be a major campaign to change the way we live, from the bottom up. A great example of a grassroots effort to re-educate the public on… Read more »
7 years 1 month ago

dear Beth,
thanks for the link to the midway journey..i'll be following along.
bought tickets yesterday for the local showing of age of stupid. left comments at the website for the ocean taskforce. my daughter and i will be doing a bird count near the coast on saturday so i'll suggest a swing by the beach for a little clean up! thanks for all the info and links,
as always,

denisse overbee-ford
7 years 1 month ago

hello i have sent comment to the ocean taskforce , have signed up for ocean clean up day i live in cocoa florida will be going to cocoa beach to cleanup have biobags to take with me also am going after this comment to buy tickets to the age of stupid cannot make the meeting do not live where it is held ,and am following the midway journey on twitter
thank you denisse

7 years 1 month ago

Great post today! I've been registered with my husband and two girls (ages 10 and 6)to participate in the Intercoastal Cleanup in Boca Raton, Fl. I'm working with Formerly Flip Flops to collect old/used/found flip flops that will then be sent to Kenya, where the women upcycle them into jewelry and other crafts to sell.

By the way, check out today's Earth Promise post I wrote as you are mentioned.

Keep up the good work!

7 years 1 month ago

Hi Beth,

I am following Midway on my reader now. I don't live in California anymore (or New York) or I'd try to show up at few things.

Holly – I love the tailgating idea. I may pass that along to some people here on my campus.


7 years 1 month ago
Hi Beth, I will definitely participate in the Coastal Cleanup Day but since I don't live near the coast, I will pick up trash along my street with two bags, one for trash and one for recycling. Also, I'll be volunteering with the UGA Ecology Club to pick up recyclables and distribute recycling bags to tailgaters at the next UGA football home game. Of course, not every tailgater will participate. Out of 73 tons of garbage generated at the last home game, only 3 tons were recycled, and that is due almost solely to volunteers handing out recycling bags to… Read more »