The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: October 2009

October 29, 2009

350 Day on the Beach. Where in the World is Beth? has released this fantastic video showing actions all over the world that took place on October 24.

So where was I?

The best laid plans sometimes go awry when unknown locations and strange parking fee machines are involved. By the time I got to the beach in Santa Monica for the 350 Day Blogger Beach Cleanup, the event had already begun. Not to miss out, filmmaker Jan Vozenilek and I ran across the sand as fast as we could toward what we thought was our group. (Click images to see larger size on web site.)

We arrived huffing and panting to a beautiful sand sculpture on Santa Monica Beach, only to realize we were at the wrong event! Who cares? This group was fabulous.

So I hung out on the beach for a while with Jan (who just returned from filming dead albatross chicks on Midway with photographer Chris Jordan) and enthusiastic plastic pollution activist Sarah Kornfeld,

took pictures of my own boobs (in a “Plastic Is Washed Up” T-shirt),… Read the rest

October 28, 2009

Fantastic Letter from PolarSolar to Fake Plastic Fish

While I was away this weekend, I received this email from a San Francisco company that installs solar water heaters:

from Joseph Wright to Beth Terry date Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 5:05 PM subject Thanks and Question

Hi Beth,

I wanted to write to let you know what a hero you are of mine and I want to thank you for the positive influence that you have on the lives of others and the environment…I also have a question…I am a fellow Bay Area native and I operate a sustainable water heating business -– after reading your recent blog post I have decided to eliminate PVC from our materials list (obviously very common plumbing material) and we will never look back… I have reposted your entry on our blog and was wondering if you would prefer some other way for us to refer to your information. I hope that all is well and I look forward to more of your inspiring ideas and calls to action…

Highest Regards,


Joe Wright 1812… Read the rest

October 27, 2009

Jackson Browne: Defiant About Bottled Water

Jackson Browne doesn’t appreciate the bottled water industry pumping millions of dollars into advertising to convince us that bottled water is better than tap water. He also happened to be sitting right behind me during the screening of Tapped Friday night at UCLA, one of the events organized by the new Plastic Pollution Coalition this weekend. So after the film, I asked if he would mind saying a few words to Fake Plastic Fish readers about his stand on bottled water. He said he could only give me a minute, but as you’ll see in the video, once he got started, his passion kicked in and he gave a lot more.

If you’re unable to view the embedded video, please click here to view it on YouTube.

For those who are unable to hear the video, here’s a summary of his main points:

Tap water is more highly regulated than bottled water. Often, bottled water is just tap water that bottlers extract, bottle, and sell back to us at an exhorbitant price.… Read the rest
October 26, 2009

Year 3, Month 4 Results: 4.7 oz of Plastic Waste

This weekend in L.A., helping to launch the Plastic Pollution Coalition and joining in events, was amazing. I have so much to share with you! But first, something that is long overdue:  my monthly plastic tally for the month ending 10/15/09. The total plastic is down.  Way down. Although there are a few missing items which I will share at the end of the tally.

This month, it’s all new plastic waste:

Plastic Packing tape. From delivery of stainless steel ice cube trays. I have written to Ramin at and shared with him links to recycled paper tape he could switch to. He has agreed to check it out. Other than the tape, there was no other plastic packaging in the box. 1 plastic tear strip from a Jiffy padded envelope. This was from delivery of the Tapped DVD screener, which I need to remember to return to the Mill Valley Film Festival! I’ll reuse the same envelope. Jiffy padded mailers are made from Kraft paper with inner paper… Read the rest
October 22, 2009

This Weekend is All About Plastic

I’m leaving tonight for a last minute trip to Los Angeles to participate in activities of the newly formed Plastic Pollution Coalition, of which I am privileged to be an advisor. Whether you live in the L.A. area or not, there are ways to participate.

Is Plastic Washed Up?We think so. And it’s the title of a film series being screened at UCLA this Friday night, 7 pm -10 pm, James Bridges Theater, University of California, Los Angeles. Come out and see screenings of: Tapped, a documentary about the bottled water industry from director Stephanie Soechtig, which I reviewed on Fake Plastic Fish a few days ago and which has generated much controversy in the comments. Strange Days on Planet Earth: Dirty Secrets. A National Geographic / PBS film with Edward Norton. Preview: Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?, a film by Susan Beraza about the global production, use, and disposal of plastic bags and other plastics. The film crew spent the day with me… Read the rest
October 21, 2009

Warm Plastic-Free Quilt Handmade Just In Time For Winter

Monday was rainy and cold. It sure was nice to have my new T-shirt quilt handmade by Fake Plastic Fish reader Colette Carrabba, who blogs at Carrabba’s World.

But let me backtrack a little.

Remember when I wrote about how the stuff on and around my desk was overwhelming me? A lot of you left some really great suggestions for ways to get organized. One of the most helpful came from Erika Barcott who wrote a whole post in response on her blog Redshirt Knitting and recommended the book, It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff,by Peter Walsh. He recommends going through your stuff and keeping only 50% of it. He says that if things are important to us, we ought to treat them that way. Hoarding stuff away in drawers and boxes to be dealt with later only makes us feel overwhelmed in the present. While I don’t agree with his admonition to throw the rest away (we all know there is no such thing as “away”) I did… Read the rest

October 20, 2009

When 100% Cotton Doesn’t Mean 100% Cotton

So I found myself in Target last night shopping for a jacket.  Don’t bother to ask how that happened.  It would require an in-depth analysis of my addled brain, which would probably bore you to sleep.  Suffice it to say, I was in Target (which as far as I’m concerned is on par with Wal-Mart) in the Women’s Wear section, obsessively checking the label on every single top, sweater, and jacket to find something that was not made out of plastic.

Plastic clothing?  That’s right.  Labels like “40% wool, 60%  Acrylic,”  “90% cotton, 10% Spandex,”  “50% cotton, 50% polyester,” or “100% cotton shell with 100% polyester liner” all mean clothing partially made out of plastic.  Plastic that comes from oil.  Synthetic fibers produced by the petrochemical industry.

Okay, I realize that I was in Target and that even the cotton there is probably loaded with pesticides… Read the rest

October 19, 2009

Plastic-Free Intermission

After seeing two Broadway musicals this past week (Wicked, for the second time, and Rent, for the fifth) I just have one quick and easy tip to share today.  Skip the plastic wine cups during theater intermissions. Bring your own reusable beverage container.

I came prepared with two of the stainless steel wine “glasses” I purchased from this summer — one for me and one for my friend Mark. But you can use pretty much anything that will hold liquid. It’s a great conversation starter and an awesome way to hold up the line and irritate the people behind you.

Or fill up your Klean Kanteen at home and bring it instead. It’s stainless steel, so no one can see what’s in it anyway. Just kidding. I would never suggest that you bring outside beverages into the theater with you other than plain tap water.  (I’ve been up all night working on a web site [not mine] and am probably exhausted, but I had so much… Read the rest

October 16, 2009

Hey Wal-Mart! I See Glaring Omissions in Your New Sustainability Index

Dear Wal-Mart,

Let me apologize in advance for any sarcasm you might detect in this letter. It’s late, and I’ve been losing sleep for about two years, basically working for free to wake people up to the environmental crises we face. So you can imagine that I’m a little bit cranky. And maybe just a little bit jaded by big box companies that profess to be going green, when “Big Box” seems to be the antithesis of green.

Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart. You are big and muscly. And now you want to use your muscle to demand sustainable practices from your vendors. You have created a brand new Sustainability Index, despite the fact that many third party standards already exist.

But what are the standards you are pushing? And who gets to decide what they should be?

Your new Sustainability Index… oh, sorry.  It’s not Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Index.  It belongs to the world.  According to Rand Waddoups, … Read the rest

October 15, 2009

Climate Action Day is coming. What will you do?

Back in the early 70’s when I was a child, there were few movies scarier to me than The Wizard of Oz. Surprisingly, the made-for-TV Horton Hears a Who was one that frightened me more than that wicked green witch with her flying monkeys. Every time it came on, I’d hold my breath until the end, sure that this time the Whos would not yell loud enough to save themselves. Those in charge of their very existence would not hear them. They’d end up boiling in the pot for sure. But of course, each time, the Whos did come through. Little shirker Jo-Jo adds his voice to the chorus of Whos crying, “We’re here! We’re here!” and the day is saved. I could sleep easy that night, knowing that once again justice (and cold hard facts) had prevailed.

As corny as it might seem, every time I think about the climate crisis the world faces today, I can’t help thinking of Seuss’s story and how, even with the expert testimony of … Read the rest