Archive for April, 2012

April 27, 2012

Get a Bag and a Receipt: When Social and Environmental Justice Collide

What does the Trayvon Martin murder have to do with sea turtles choking on plastic bags or the toxicity of bisphenol-A?  At first glance, not a whole lot.  And it’s not the kind of  news I would normally write about on My Plastic-Free Life.  But listening to the April 17 episode of the American Public Media radio program The Story last week, I suddenly made a surprising connection.

The host of the show, Dick Gordon, interviewed one of his regular contributors, African American high school teacher, Reuben Jackson, who shared the difficult feelings that came up for him after hearing about the murder.  For anyone who doesn’t listen to the news and hasn’t been following this case, Trayvon Martin was an unarmed African American teenager who was shot and killed by an overly-zealous community watch coordinator, George Zimmerman, while returning from a convenience store because he looked suspicious in his hoodie.  … Read the rest

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April 26, 2012

Wherever You Are, the Plastic Sea Monster Wants You to Join the Lunchbox Action This Week!

There’s still time to win a stainless steel LunchBots lunch container! Last week I promised that if enough people would join me for the Lunchbox Project Earth Day Action, I would don the fake plastic sea monster costume and walk around Crocker Galleria in full getup. Well, it turns out I’m easy, because it only took one person — Deb Baida from Liberated Spaces – to convince me to do it. She even helped me get into my costume,  carried my stuff, and took most of the pictures in the slideshow below.  Thanks, Deb!

The day was unseasonably hot, and it was like a sauna under all that plastic. Still, I took one for the team. The event was great. A crowd gathered at the Crocker Galleria and heard inspiring speeches by representatives of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, SF Department of Environment, Clean Water Action, and of course me in my finery. Then, we all fanned out to eat lunch, bringing our own reusable containers with us and… Read the rest

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April 24, 2012

What I Should Have Said to Melissa Harris-Perry: We Are the Albatross

This past Sunday, I had the honor to be a guest on MCNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show. It was my very first live national appearance, so as you can imagine, I was just a little concerned with getting everything right. As instructed, I put on way more makeup than usual (usual being none at all most days) and was grateful for finally having found plastic-free mascara this year! I got a hair cut (probably the first in over a year), plucked my crazy eyebrows (couldn’t deal with mixing up a batch of sugar wax) and slathered on so much eye shadow and mascara that Michael kept staring at me and going, “Wow. Your eyes.” And of course, for several days, I went over and over in my mind what I wanted to say.

The theme of the show was environmental justice, and the main guest for the segment was the amazing Majora Carter, environmental justice advocate and founder of Sustainable South Bronx. I was to join the conversation, happening live in New York… Read the rest

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April 18, 2012

“Bag It” — It’s About WAY More Than Plastic Bags

It you still haven’t seen the award-winning film Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?, what are you waiting for?

Bag It is the award-winning documentary about all things plastic (not just bags!) that combines serious information with lots of humor to wake people up to the growing problem of plastic pollution and plastic toxicity.  Jeb Berrier, whom I like to refer to as “Michael Moore Lite” (except if you don’t like Michael Moore, forget I said that because Jeb is funnier and less aggressive), takes viewers on a wild quest to get to the truth about plastic.  He interviews scientists, activists, and experts, and at one point even pays a visit to my bathroom.

Bag It is the film to show friends and family members who have been resistant to the idea of reducing their plastic consumption.  It’s easy to watch (I’ve seen it about a dozen times and don’t get tired of it) but it hits home just how important… Read the rest

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April 17, 2012

Earth Day Lunchbox Action

What are you doing this Friday, the Friday before Earth Day?  Wherever you are, you’ll need to eat lunch, right?  Why not participate in the Lunchbox Project Day of Action?  The action is centered in San Francisco, but I am extending it to anyone anywhere who wants join in. What’s more, LunchBots has offered to give away a free LunchBots stainless steel container to a random participant to encourage participation in this unprecendented event.  Depending on where you work or live, there are two ways to participate:

Lunchbox Project Flash Mob at Crocker Galleria

In coordination with the City of San Francisco’s Department of Environment, The Lunchbox Project will hold an action and rally on April 20 at the Crocker Galleria food court in downtown San Francisco near the Montgomery BART station.  Come at noon with your reusable container.  Join others all ordering lunch in our own containers and stay for some inspirational… Read the rest

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April 7, 2012

3 Cool Tips for Plastic-Free Gardening

It’s spring.  Are you starting a garden?  Right now, the plastic-free garden I planted last year with assistance from Organic Gardening’s Eric Hurlock is totally overgrown.  The chard has become a huge bush of pretty white flowers and stalks that are taller than I am.  Most of the rest of the yard and garden are taken over by little yellow flowers (some would call them weeds) and some kind of lily that has spread from its spot by the wall, due to my having dug up the bulbs last year and haphazardly tossed them behind me.  (I didn’t realize they would still grow even on the top of the soil.)

I’ll get to work on my garden again eventually.  Just as I did last year, I’ll be attempting to do it plastic-free.  (See my “Gardening Without Plastic” series, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). And this year, in addition to the tips and advice I gave last year for plastic-free gardening, I’ll add a few more tricks,… Read the rest

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April 4, 2012

What Do You Think of the Plastic Produce Packaging at Trader Joe’s Nowadays?

Six years ago, Michael and I got a notice that a Trader Joe’s grocery store was going to be opening down the street from our house. This was back before I had woken up to the problems with plastic, and the news thrilled me. I had visions of all the fresh salads I was going to buy on my way to work every day. And then a few months later, I saw a photo of a dead albatross chick filled with plastic, and I started attempting to live plastic-free.  By the time the new Trader Joe’s opened, I could no longer shop there. The only department where I could find anything not packaged in plastic was the liquor aisle.

What seemed to be the most egregious misuse of plastic was in the produce aisle. While most grocery stores–even mainstream stores like Safeway–carried loose produce, Trader Joe’s seemed to only sell produce in plastic-wrapped multi-packs or plastic net bags. And while some of its produce containers were made from PLA, a compostable… Read the rest

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