Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Be An Arrogant Bastard NOT An Ignorant One.

Stone Brewing Co. has been a long-time supporter of the Surfrider San Diego Chapter through their annual anniversary celebration and other efforts. They are also stewards of the environment by conserving water where possible at their Escondido CA brewery/restaurant/company store. Stone features local, organic and vegetarian/vegan food options at their World Bistro and Gardens and they installed solar panels at their brewery to help harness some of the abundant renewable solar energy.

I was recently over at the WB&G for lunch and would recommend the tempeh shepards pie, it was quite tasty and filling. After lunch I swung through the Stone Company Store and was stoked to see them selling reusable Chico bags with a classic Arrogant Bastard twist. In addition to potentially saving hundreds of single-use bags it's a good conversation piece as I have had more comments on this bag than any of my other reusable ones. While I usually prefer an organic cotton bag, it's tough to beat the convenience of a Chico bag that folds into itself and comes with a mini carabiner.

Cheers to Stone and Happy New Year to you!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mexico's Plastic Bag Reformation Proposal

It looks as if the Distrito Federal de Mexico or Mexico City is considering a plastic bag ban in the city's mercantile production establishments! The reformation proposal was recently unanimously passed by the Commissions of Science, Technology and Environment and Ecological Protection of the Assembly.If this is truly the case and Mexico is able to implement the proposal as law, this would be a huge step for the country as a whole.

As one who has traveled many, many times from Brownsville, Texas to the Pacific Coast of the Mexican Mainland by bus and by car, the amount of plastic bags that can be seen blowing through the streets, air and down the mountainsides that line the side of the route down to my favorite surf spots blows my mind! Many times the bags can be seen in huge refuse piles in the villages along the coast breaking up in the sun's ultraviolet light and blowing down into the rivers and ocean.

I hope that this reformation proposal does become law and is the first step in the cleansing of a truly beautiful country!

Click here to read the "Prensa Latina" article announcing the proposal!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Encinitas Chant & O'side 2-Step

This video was shot a the Day w/o A Bag day press conference - and features Encinitas Mayor Maggie Houlihan chanting "Encinitas does not want the waste of single-use plastic bags!!" at Mrs. Bag Monster (Mrs. Monster was in town for the day). The short vid features local Surfrider RAP activist Shelly Kwik (blonde in initial frames of video) as well as Keri Conte (red shirt w/black sleeves, in crowd pan shot), the San Diego Surfrider RAP Program Manager. Niiiiice!

ALSO in attendance at this event, to receive awards for their support of the Day w/o A Bag day AND the upcoming bag "ban" proposal (now under construction), were representatives of all of the major grocery chains operating in Encinitas: Albertsons, Vons, Seaside Market, Trader Joes, etc. Thanks to them for understanding and "Rising" to the RAP effort.

After the Encinitas event, Keri and I shot up to the Oceanside Blvd Ralphs in Oceanside to distribute Surfrider's heavy-duty re-usable canvas bags to shoppers there - bags that were purchased with a GENEROUS donation from UPS/Mailboxes, Etc via their 1% For The Planet participation. Then it was off to Oceanside's Sunset Market outdoor farmer's market to exercise our new partnership with the City of Oceanside - where we engaged each other in a friendly competition to see who's canvas bags were the most "au populaire"...the numbers are still being totaled - stay tuned . . . .

Bottom Line: Bravo to all of the volunteers AND all of the commercial sponsors that understand the problem of plastics in our environment and for their support of our efforts to try to reverse that problem!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

RAP is Easy With Day Without A Bag

It's holiday time and shopping is upon us. Woohoo and boohoo all wrapped up in one colorful, non-disposable bag, right? right! It's Wednesday, December 18 friends, translation: DAY WITHOUT A BAG, or DWAB. As Keri tells us below, DWAB focuses on raising consumer awareness about shopping bag choices. If you bring your own reusable tote instead of use a disposable plastic bag, then you've given an extra present- to the environment, pretty cool. Here's how Chapters around the country are promoting DWAB:

- WestLA/Malibu - handing out free usable bags at the Country Mart in Malibu from 10am-1pm; 3:45pm student-led march to City Hall with Santa Monica High School to encourage the City Council to act on a bag ban ordinance drafted 10 months ago
- Rhode Island - observing the day from 12-8 at the Village at South County Commons in South Kingstown, partnering with Save the Bay's Coastkeeper Program
- Santa Cruz - tabling at various locations throughout town, giving out resusable totes at Safeway stores
- Santa Barbara - tabling and giving our free reusable bags at various locations, partnering with the Ocean Futures Society
- South Orange County - press conference at Ralph's in Talega; tabling and giving out free reusable throughout the County, partnering with Earth Resource Foundation and San Clemente Green
- Washington - efforts through Chapter website and email blasts
- San Diego - press conference, bag giveaways at Ralph's, and much more, see details below.

A big Thank You to all these great Chapter efforts- and to you- for every single use plastic bag NOT used is one that won't end up as litter on our streets, beaches and oceans.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day Without a Bag - Oceanside

December 18th’s "Day Without A Bag" public awareness campaign was initially developed in December of 2007 in the Los Angeles area to urge shoppers to give a present to the environment, in the spirit of the holiday season, by foregoing disposable plastic and paper bags in favor of reusable totes. This successful campaign has sprouted into an annual event celebrated throughout the Southern California region.

To celebrate this year’s December 18th "Day without a Bag" event, the City of Oceanside Solid Waste and Recycling Division is facilitating several efforts throughout the City with the support of the Parks and Recreation Division; Surfrider Foundation; Main Street Oceanside Sunset Market; Ralphs; and Trader Joes.

The San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the City of Oceanside Solid Waste and Recycling Division have donated a large quantity of reusable bags to the Sunset Market to make it a "Bagless Market" on December 18th. Customers of the Sunset Market will be provided a ticket by participating vendors when an item is sold rather than a plastic bag for their item. That ticket may then be redeemed at the City of Oceanside Solid Waste and Recycling/Surfrider booth for a free reusable bag while supplies last.

Ralphs has donated bags to the campaign in support of a distribution/ information booth at 1702 Oceanside Blvd from 10am to 2pm. Surfrider volunteers and Solid Waste and Recycling staff will be handing out reusable bags to customers during that time period.

Trader Joes at 2570 Vista Way in Oceanside, is supporting a distribution/outreach booth in their breezeway from 10am to 2pm. City staff will be supporting the booth and providing reusable bags and informational items to customers of Trader Joes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Don't Bring Home the Polystyrene Foam

At a beach cleanup recently, we spent about one third of our time picking up broken up bits of Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene foam)cups along the dunes. Those little pieces end up in the ocean and look like food to the critters, so we spend the time. As far as all of the various plastics go, Styrofoam is particularly heinous- food service Styro is totally unrecyclable, it's about as light as air so it blows around and breaks apart, it's made with Styrene and Benzene- a suspected carcinogen and known neurotoxin, it's about as single use as it gets. The argument: it insulates well. Agreed. But as with everything, it comes down to cost benefit, and I don't see, even for one slow second, how the benefit of bringing home one third of a leftover burrito in a Styrofoam clamshell container outweighs the long-term cost to marine life, the environment and public health. I took a picture of it to show at a city council meeting. In Monterey we are fighting for an ordinance requiring restaurants to use compostable or recyclable food containers.

I love this gift I received from a Surfrider WestLA/Malibu Chapter Activist, Laura Boccaletti, when I presented there a few months back. Well done! We use it to table at our beach cleanups now. If you do beach cleanups, this would be a great project to put a creative person in charge of, make one of these, bring it to cleanups, and talk about why...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Plastic Bag Ban Swirling in San Diego's Politics

News in San Diego is that a ban of plastic bags may be considered by the City Council. Although it still has a long road to go before becoming an actual ordinance, it has been creating heated debate of the issue of using one-time use products.

I have been interviewed by media and talking to several people about the issue and as the conversation develops I have found it very productive to hear the issue on all sides. I can sympathize with some of the reasons not to ban the bag. They are being re-used for purposes that people have to use bags for, such as garbage and pet waste collection. They are convenient. They can be recycled into other things. I understand why people like the bags. Unfortunately I don't agree with the reasoning. The harm these bags do does not justify the convenience.

What I use as the point to end the argument is that the disposable plastic bag is a symbol of the unsustainable and irresponsible lifestyle that we have become complacent living. That symbol should viewed as a catastrophe.. not a convenience.

I hope one day people will understand that the choice to have a disposable lifestyle should not be taken. Paper or plastic?... Neither.