On Blog Action Day, bloggers around the world all post articles on a single topic. This year, the topic is human rights, and as I sit here typing (or Swyping) this post into my Android mobile phone, I’m acutely aware that having a smartphone is very definitely NOT a human right. (Okay, this is going to be one of those weird, winding, philosophical posts that may not end up where we think it will. Let’s just see where it goes, okay?) So yes, human rights. But first, let me explain why I bought this phone.… Read the rest
If I asked you to list the problems with plastic, you might mention toxic chemicals like BPA or phthalates; or the fact that it doesn’t biodegrade; or that animals ingest it; or that there is a toxic soup of plastic swirling around in the world’s oceans. Those are the issues I’ve focused on for the past 5 years, so last year, when Moms Clean Air Force asked me to write a blog post for them, I balked. “Clean air is a vitally important environmental issue,” I said, “but my blog focuses on plastic, not air. Plus, I’m behind on writing my new book Plastic-Free and have no time to delve into other subjects.”
Silly me. As I researched the book, I learned about many ways that the life cycle of plastic contributes to air pollution, both indoor and out, and that reducing our plastic consumption will help to protect the air we breathe. So here are a few reasons why those of us concerned about reducing plastic… Read the rest
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. And because… Read the rest
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 haircut (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 eyeshadow 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
I’m back from the TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch conference and feeling refreshed. I’ve got many things to report about plastic toxicity, plastic and animals, plastics legislation, and even a new product that you’ll be excited about. The videos will be posted on the web in a few days, and I’ll let you know when they’re up so you can experience the event for yourself.
But for right now, I just want to share my notes from what I felt was one of the most important talks of the day: Van Jones on Environmental Justice. (Van Jones is the author of The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems. If you haven’t read it yet, you should.)
How many of us check the number on the bottom of a plastic container to see if it’s one of the “bad plastics” to avoid? How many are still willing to use #2, #4, or #5 plastics (the “safe” ones)? Well, besides what I always say about… Read the rest
BlogHer is about community, the power of women’s blogs and the promotion of women’s voices. It’s also about corporate sponsorship, commercialism, and the tradeoffs made to create a platform and conference experience for 2,400 women. I LOVED my BlogHer conference experience this year. It was a rockin’ good time. Nevertheless, I am troubled by some of the fundamental values of the organization, and I won’t be participating on the Green Team for future conferences.
But first, the good stuff…
1) Connecting with other women bloggers.
The BlogHer conference gives women bloggers a place to come together, to meet up in person, and to let our diverse voices be heard. According to Gloria Feldt in the Closing Night keynote, BlogHer is ranked as the #4 most powerful social media outlet. It promotes women’s voices in a time when men are still the loudest in the blogosphere. Here are just… Read the rest
Will buying organic T-shirts and biodegradable bras save the planet? No! Reject greenwashing. Reducing consumption and simplifying our lives are the paths to true sustainability.
Monday began with me in a classroom in Benicia, teaching children about plastic, and ended in a cheesy piano bar in San Francisco’s Union Square. In between, a phenomenal global event.
Sitting in a Century movie theater in downtown San Francisco, I was taken over by waves of grief for our planet and especially its people. As I emailed to a friend, I think I must have held my breath for the entire length of the Age of Stupid premiere, a film event broadcast to 440 cities in 63 countries.
View the trailer:
Set in the year 2055, after the effects of global climate change have basically wiped out most humans and other animals on earth, a lone archivist records a message, illustrating it with a handful of the billions of stories he’s collected in a massive database he calls the Global Archive, before transmitting the entire collection into outer space as a cautionary tale to future civilizations. The big question: Why didn’t we save ourselves… Read the rest
The Center for Health, Environment, & Justice has released its Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies. It’s a free downloadable guide to all the products kids might need for school, from binders and notebooks to clothes, electronics, lunch boxes, and a host of other products. It includes a comprehensive guide to suppliers as well as general rules to keep in mind.
So what’s wrong with PVC?
I’ve ranted about PVC products quite often on this blog, but in case you missed those posts, here’s a quick summary:
1. PVC is the only major plastic that contains chlorine, so it is unique in the hazards it creates. During production, PVC plants can release dioxins which harm workers and community members who live nearby. Residents of certain towns in Louisiana, which is home to half the PVC production facilities in the USA, have been shown to have much higher concentrations of dioxins in their blood than the average U.S. … Read the rest
Reuters: A rubbish collector carries his baby as he walks amid plastic waste at a garbage dump site in Guiyang, Guizhou province June 3, 2008.
Today is Blog Action Day. Thousands of bloggers have united to discuss a single issue – poverty. The aim is to raise awareness and initiate action.
Honestly, I signed up to participate without giving the topic much thought, and now that I must come up with a blog post on the issue of poverty, I am nearly struck dumb. What can I possibly say about such enormous suffering?
So my contribution will simply be to show some of the plastic pollution all over the world, pollution which ends up in the world’s poorest regions because, like the plastic floating out in the North Pacific Gyre, these regions are to the Global Rich, out of sight and out of mind.
Reuters: A garbage collector transports plastic bags to recycle at a construction site in Xiangfan, Hubei province, March 16, 2008.
Reuters: Boys collects plastic… Read the rest