Confession: I really hate writing about politics. I’d much rather write fun posts about personal strategies to avoid plastic or profiles of companies offering plastic-free alternatives. But these are not normal times, and nothing less than the health of all living beings on planet Earth is at stake. So, just as I did before the most recent election, I’m once again getting out of my comfort zone to urge you to action.
(If you want to take action before reading this entire article, skip to here.)
Bill Introduced to Terminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This is not a joke, and it’s not fake news. On Friday, Feb 5, Rep Matt Gaetz (Rep-FL) introduced a bill to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (H.R 861). Why? On his Facebook page, he posted his reason: “To better protect the environment we should abolish the EPA and downstream resources to states for more effective & efficient protection.”… Read the rest
11/30/16 Update: Hurray! Despite the disappointing national election results, California has some things to cheer about. We passed Prop 67, the single use plastic bag ban! Thanks to everyone who voted!
A few weeks ago, I did something completely out of my comfort zone. I signed up and then showed up to phone bank with Clean Water Action in support of Prop 67, a statewide plastic bag ban on the upcoming November ballot, and against Prop 65, a competing measure that could completely undermine efforts to eliminate plastic bag pollution across the state. I also dragged my friends Nancy and Corbina along with me since, you know, misery loves company and all that.
What is Prop 67?
In 2014, the California legislature passed SB270 (Padilla), a law which would ban single-use plastic carry out bags and require merchants to charge customers a 10 cent fee to purchase disposable paper bags. Shoppers could avoid paying the fee by bringing their own… Read the rest
11/30/16 Update: Well, so we voted. Now what? Trump has vowed to dismantle environmental regulations. We can’t let that happen. More than ever before, it’s time to get active.
I have to admit, the current election cycle has me wanting to hide under my covers with a bottle of wine and a few choice edibles until the madness is over. It’s been weird and ugly, and I’m sure quite a few of us are exhausted and tempted to just stay home on November 8.
PLEASE DON’T DO THAT.
November 8 is not only about electing our next president, which is important in itself, but also electing the representatives and passing the propositions that will impact the state of our air, water, soil, and climate in the years to come. Clean Air Mom’s Action — the political action partner of Mom’s Clean Air Force — is urging parents to get out and vote for the health of our children and those who are the most vulnerable.
Please visit… Read the rest
Yesterday morning, I showed up at San Francisco City Hall to testify in favor of broadening the City’s plastic bag ban and discovered that no matter how many times I speak in public, I still get nervous every single time! But sitting in the audience with Eli Saddler from Ocean Health, and looking around at all my other friends from the environmental community (Save the Bay, SF Surfrider, and others) I knew that the butterflies in my tummy didn’t matter. I was prepared with incriminating photographs (see below) and supported by a lot of other committed activists.
Here’s the scoop: Back in 2007, San Francisco passed legislation banning plastic bags from large grocery stores and pharmacy chains. They had initially wanted to charge a fee for them but were stymied by the plastic bag lobby on the state level and had to resort to an outright ban. According to the Department of Environment, that ban resulted in an 18% reduction in plastic… Read the rest
I’m sick at heart this morning. I was going to write a post about how empowered I felt after taking my washing machine apart and putting it back together again. But I’m too upset by the actions of the California senate this morning to give a crap about that.
Last night, I fell asleep in my living room chair while watching episodes of Ugly Betty on DVD. Early this morning, Michael woke me up with some ugly news: California legislators struck down AB1998, the California plastic bag ban bill that so many of us have been excited about.
I wrote about AB1998 back in May right before it passed the California Assembly. I was so full of hope. The bill looked like it would go all the way. Even the governator had committed to signing it. But the American Chemistry Council spent these last few weeks buying politicians and releasing scary commercials (full of lies) to convince voters and legislators that banning plastic bags would pretty… Read the rest
Last month, I wrote about California’s plastic bag ban bill (AB 1998), and Fake Plastic Fish reader Old Novice commented that she thought bag bans were a bad idea and would instead favor a bag fee or tax instead. Well, the bill passed the full Assembly as well as the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, and it has now to pass another committee and then the full Senate. I’m in favor of the bill because it’s what we have. I think we need to do something about plastic bags, and I’d rather see a bag ban pass than nothing at all. But is a ban better than a fee? Let’s talk about that.
The Problems with Plastic Bags
According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition:
•Roughly 19 billion plastic bags are distributed in California annually.
•Less than 5% are currently recycled.
•Even when bags are properly disposed, they often blow out of trash cans, garbage trucks, and landfills and become litter.
•Most California retailers subsidize… Read the rest
11/09/2016 Update: Six years after this post was written, California has FINALLY banned plastic bags across the state!
I’m pissed off. I live in a city, like many others in California, that wants to ban plastic shopping bags, but we can’t. Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and other California cities are under attack by the plastics industry. None of these cities has been able to put their plastic bag bans into effect because of industry deep pockets that have successfully sued to require each city to conduct an environmental impact report (EIR) showing that banning plastic bags would not have a detrimental impact.
Our cities cannot afford to spend $150,000 to $200,000 each to conduct EIRs. That’s why nothing has come of Oakland’s bag ban or any of the others. My city can’t afford to keep enough cops on the streets (just ask Michael, who got mugged several months ago right across from our house),… Read the rest
I don’t think our toilet was this clean when we first moved in to our apartment. I personally have scrubbed and scrubbed with a brush and been unable to remove the mineral stains. Not that I’m a great housekeeper. I’m not. In fact, I suck. And Michael does his best, but you know, we just have other priorities. So Monday, to celebrate President’s Day, we had our place cleaned from top to bottom by the eco-friendly members of Natural Home Cleaning Professionals.
I say “members” because Natural Home Cleaning is a worker-owned cooperative whose goal is to support families to be economically self-sufficient. The company serves the San Francisco East Bay from Southern Richmond to Fremont. Workers are trained in natural cleaning techniques, encouraged to start with the least toxic products (like vinegar and water) and slowly work up to stronger products as needed. The strongest cleaner used is … Read the rest
The highlights of Newsweek’s Special Election Project, released yesterday, include this unsettling tidbit:
The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”… Read the rest
As I write to you this day after the most exciting election in my 43 years, I want to thank you. You have inspired not only the people of the United States but of the entire world. You weave a beautiful story of hope for people who have become tired and cynical and jaded by political rhetoric.
Here are some of my hopes.
I hope that while we’re talking of “restoring prosperity” and “putting our people back to work” we’re also working to change the fundamental basis on which prosperity is measured. Is the American Dream the pursuit of newer and bigger houses and cars and the latest gadgets? Higher consumption of the earth’s resources? Is that what healing the economy means?
Or can we change our language to encourage deeper American values? Voluntary simplicity? Sustainable living? Connections among people over material wealth? The world cannot afford for us to continue trashing the planet as we have been.… Read the rest