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
What the heck do I know about teaching kids? What if they won’t listen? What if I say the wrong things?
Those were the worries I had after agreeing to join Water Education Specialist Sue Alfeld in a Bay Area classroom to discuss my journey to cut back on plastic. Organized by The Bay Nature Institute in Berkeley as part of their “Blogging for Biodiversity” program, I planned to come and observe Sue’s lesson on ocean plastic and the fate of Laysan albatross birds and also participate in sharing my own experiences.
(Read more about Sue’s program in the Bay Nature article, “Turning Back The Plastic Tide.”)
Well, those worries melted away as soon as I met the warm and totally down to earth Sue. And the education started before we even got to the classroom. After picking me up at a bus stop near Benicia Middle School, Sue showed me where she and many residents of the area had gathered to collect trash during Saturday’s… Read the rest
Did any of you catch Oprah’s 2009 Earth Day show?
After interviewing Fabien Cousteau about plastic in the oceans, she had a few “Aha! moments”:
Oprah will think differently about using plastic things: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Oprah-Talks-About-Plastic-Bags-and-the-Environment-Video
Oprah wants to go beyond washing out her zip lock bags: http://www.oprah.com/media/20090422-tows-oprah-aha-moment
I was excited and moved to see this issue garnering the attention of an audience as large as Oprah’s. So moved, in fact, that I wrote her a letter… and then recorded it on video. Now I just have to figure out the best way to reach her with it:
My belief is that once audiences see the horrific images of what plastic does to the environment, they will want to know what they can do. Let’s let Oprah know that there are many of us out here already going beyond washing out plastic bags.
Please feel free to … Read the rest
The photo shows a sample of water from the North Pacific Gyre, specifically Sample #23 taken at latitude 34°30.87North, longitude 158°50.93West by the researchers on the Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita this winter. And that thumb at the bottom of the photo is mine.
Anna Cummins, part of the Alguita crew, sent me the sample to use for Rethinking Plastics presentations. When it arrived last week, I sat down for a minute and wept. Can you see the mixture of plastic and plankton? This is what we are dealing with. This is the bottom of the food chain. It’s probably toxic and can probably never be cleaned up.
Here’s a map showing exactly where the sample came from:
Friday morning, I took my sample with me, along with a Power Point presentation, Synthetic Sea DVD, and other items for “show and tell,” to Wells Fargo Bank to co-present my very first Green Sangha Rethinking Plastics program with Solvig Palm-Nicholls. Wells Fargo… Read the rest
I was there outside Oakland City Hall Wednesday morning to kick off the nationwide “Think Outside The Bottle” campaign. Similar press conferences were being held in other cities around the U.S. at the same time. Here are excerpts from the San Francisco Chronicle article that appeared today, supplemented with photos from my camera:
Bay Area water fight: bottled vs. tap
Christopher Heredia, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Bottled water, bad. Tap water, good.
That was the message that tap-water advocates delivered on the steps of Oakland City Hall on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign to persuade cities, consumers and restaurants to dump bottled water in favor of old-fashioned municipal water.
Not only is bottled water more expensive, said a group of local government leaders and officials for Corporate Accountability International, the nonprofit sponsoring the campaign, but it often comes from the… Read the rest