Thursday, December 30, 2010


Well...perhaps we (Rise Above Plastics activists) can't take credit for all of the little red balloons on the map, but those balloons DO point to localities that are rising above the plastics plague.

Chico Bag (manufacturers of fab nylon reusable shopping bags) has put together this boss interactive map, along with a listing of cities with embedded links to news stories about their local bag ban/fee efforts (my Firefox browser hiccuped a bit on this [but I am on the employers network...shhh! ;) ], so FYI, the page may best be viewed via the IE browser). Pretty slick compendium!

Chico Bag was the originator of the Bag Monster (as seen in earlier posts on this blog), and offers an Activist Tool Kit in PDF form to aid you in your battle against the bilious bummer of the ubiquitous single-use plastic shopping bag.

Hey - have a safe new years eve and SEE YA NEXT YEAR - 2011 is shaping up to be the best yet!

Monday, December 20, 2010

San Jose Knows The Way!

In the wake of the failure of a statewide legislative bag ban initiative (AB1998), the city of San Jose is another California burg taking matters into its own hands - moving to fashion an ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags, and to charge for paper bags.

...and those paper bags - YES, they have to be of recycled material...which pretty much harpoons the ACC's CEQA lawsuit strategy, which at face-value, appears to require cities to continue to pollute their environments via the scourge of the "urban tumbleweed".

So the landslide has begun - damn the ACC's penny-ante "solution" to the problem they've created for themselves...and the rest of us. We can only hope that other manufacturers are watching the ACC's un-neighborly litigious approach go down in flames. Meanwhile, pass the gasoline!

It's always exciting talking about California - but frankly, the "land of fruits and nuts" ain't proving to be that progressive at heart - I'm hoping for other states to push through some statewide bans - GO USA!

Details, particulars & minutiae:

San Jose Mercury News article.

Bay area TV news from KTUV.

Friday, December 17, 2010

RAP Rap Vid

He who hesitates is losssst...?

PLASTIC STATE OF MIND - Empire State of Mind Parody [IN YO FACE!]

RAPper: AshEL Eldridge
Singer: Jenni Perez


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DAY W/O A BAG is...

TOMORROW, December 16th!

This global event was initiated by Heal The Bay just a few years ago and it comes each year amid the holiday shopping rush - giving shoppers not only something to use repeatedly (a reusable shopping bag), but something to ponder as well.

So ponder this: find your local Surfrider chapter's homepage here to see what they have planned in your area for this event, or to contact them about getting involved. I've been told that the San Diego Chapter has given away upwards of 10,000 (ten thoooouusand!) bags since DWOB commenced.

Need more info?? ==> Check out the Day Without A Bag website, and the "au populaire" Bag Ban Report website (both cleverly "hidden" in Heal The Bay's elaborate network of substantive web resources). WARNING: this website has TONS of information and tools for the budding bag-banner - so be sure to explore every nook and cranny - they're all there for YOU.

I got a fee-vuh and the only prescription is MORE REUSABLE BAGS!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

Herrrre weeee goOOoow (implied Mario Bros call)…! California cities are out of patience. That’s it. Done. Kaput. Finis. Ciao bella. Sayonara. Adios. EL FIN.

Bags are done. It was fun for a while, but let’s really get real. How many times can you put up with a pack of BPA-suckling inbreds with beet-stained teeth travelling 3000 miles to your little town just to sue you for tidying up your neighborhood? I think the towns’ residents reached have reached their limit, thankyouverrrymuch.

The city of Long Beach, with a grand measure of “encouragement” from the hard-hitting Long Beach Surfrider chapter, voted 6-2 (sorry, not even close) last week to fashion an ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags by next summer. Fabuloso Maximo!

So last month it was unincorporated LA County, now the city of Long Beach…who’ll be next…? Can you say "dominoes"? Hello Clean Beaches! Bravo Surfrider Long Beach!

California tried to be nice about this bag ban stuff this summer via AB1998 – in which the entire state could have had a nice uniform bag ban in place, but nooOOooo…the slack-jawed dingbats at the ACC had to make things difficult on everyone – AND now, themselves. They did their level-best to promote filthy neighborhoods by knocking that bill down with a landslide of payola, and now they should have their hands full suing every Golden State municipality that chooses to clean up their environs and reduce waste that ends up in the ocean. Gentlemen, start yer engines!

I can just hear the ACC parents telling their kids this holiday season, “Sorry Elwood, but we are being forced to spend your Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa pony money to sue every city in California – please accept this thrift-store athletic-support garment instead of the pony this year, OK?...oh, by the way, do you have your law degree yet, hmmmmm?”. What a tired paradigm…perhaps one day they’ll find value in working with bag-banning cities instead of against them, ya think?

It's gettin' dusty out west - NICE!
[Queue the last two seconds of AC/DC’s Shot Down In Flames.]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LA County Cans the Bag!

Great news - the presence of progressive thinkers (or fed-up urban-trash observers) exist in greater Los Angeles County!! AND they have voted to stop allowing retail stores from even offering plastic take-out bags, while enforcing a ten-cent charge for paper bags. Whoa - GUTSY - take that, Sacramento==>>>Wa-BAM!

Like all moves like this - we are in the initial phase: The final ordinance will be drafted and voted on next week, and if approved then, the ban will go into effect on July 1, 2011, for some stores and January 1, 2012 for all stores.

This ordinance is mildly complicated in that it only covers the "unincorporated" areas of LA County. The LA Times article has a great map showing the coverage area. The Fresno Bee offers some other fun insight.

Of course, the leading advocates of the scourge of urban and environmental garbage, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), is threatening to sue the unsuspecting souls of LA in order to continue their assault on the environment (and to maintain the constant fire hose flow of $$$ into their bank accounts) stay tuned on that tip.

The whole macadamia was put into neat perspective by Heal The Bay's Mark Gold when he said, "The cost of convenience can no longer be at the cost of the environment for centuries to come."

Amen, hallelujah, HOT-DIGGETY!

[The above image is from a non-Surfrider-affiliated bag retailer, check them out here .]

Monday, November 8, 2010

Welcome To ... The Crapola Islands

Again, our friends at the Plastic Pollution Coalition are making headlines...they've created a new country: The Crapola Islands, a place that "nature could not have created alone", where "the emerald waters teem with sea turtles and the sea turtles teem with tiny pieces of plastic garbage".

Drop by the Crapola Islands website and become a citizen - but beware, to become a citizen you must take the following pledge (suitable for framing and placement near the coffee machine at your office!):

"I, (state your name) pledge allegiance
to the nation of the Crapola Islands.
and by that I mean:

I will use less disposable plastic items
and not go through like 5 styrofoam cups a day;

I pledge not to be that guy.

I further pledge to spread the word
and bring others to the cause because together,
we can solve the plastic pollution epidemic.

Honestly, I see like zero downside to this.

Don't be that guy - but do havva Happy Monday!

Friday, November 5, 2010

NY Bottle Bill Update

One year ago the state of New York (with the help of NE Region Surfrider chapters!) instituted the “Bottle Bill” – essentially a bottle-deposit on plastic bottles. According to Surfrider’s NE Regional Manager, John Weber, “If you believed the critics of bottle bill expansion, it was all gloom and doom, the economy was going to grind to a halt, overtaxed consumers were going to end up in the poorhouse, etc, etc. As you can see the actual results were a little different.

Yo! Vive La Différence!

Not only did the state pick up a cool 120 MiLliOn bucks in unclaimed deposits, but, as we read in the recent press release, “The number of registered redemption centers which take back empty containers grew by 113 in 2009 and an additional 131 as of October 2010. Many of these small businesses have been able to expand and increase their employees’ wages and benefits.

Yo! Helloooo Green Economy!

Sadly, no studies have been completed that can give us any statistical insight into the health changes New Yorkers experience by ingesting so much BPA from drinking out of all those bottles…hmmm...

Yo! Something to ponder this weekend!
- have a plastic-free one…

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TEDx: Pacific Garbage Patch .....THIS SATURDAY, Nov 6th

If you are wondering what all the buzz about TEDx is all about...well, according to their website, "TEDx is a new program that enables local communities such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods or just groups of friends to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events."

And, if you are still wondering about the whole TED thing, to be "TED-like", an event will entail open, in depth and interesting discourse about a particular subject, in a sort-of-a TV studio setting (think Oprah, NOT), bright lights and an attentive, participatory audience.

OK, so TEDx: Great Pacific Garbage Patch? YES! Our cohorts over at the Plastic Pollution Coalition is hosting this exchange - THIS SATURDAY Nov 6th:

"Where leaders and innovators will come together to explore solutions for the global problem of plastic pollution. With speakers like Dr. Syliva Earle, Van Jones, David de Rothschild, and Ed Begley, Jr (with more being added daily!) the event will challenge humanity to stop plastic pollution."

That line-up again:

Dr Sylvia Earle - Sometimes called "The Sturgeon General", she is an oceanographer, and was Chief Scientist at NOAA in the early 1990's.

Van Jones - Environmental advocate, civil rights activist and attorney - called by one of 2008's Most Creative Minds by Fast Company, and a Hero of the Environment by Time mag.

David de Rothschild - Made a boat, Plastiki, out of plastic bottles and sailed it across the Pacific recently.

Ed Begley Jr - Best known for his role on the television series St. Elsewhere (six consecutive Emmy Award nominations, thankyouverymuch), He currently hosts a "green living" reality show called Living With Ed on Planet Green.

...and they are encouraging you to stage your own viewing party - all you need is a place to host it, a reliable internet connection and an audience of your friends - NICE!

More info:

The TEDx Garbage Patch website. Take The Pledge while you are there.

The Plastic Pollution Coalition website - take their Pledge too - lotsa fun celeb videos and great plastic pollution content there as well. Checque eet aut!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Suck 'Em Up!

Remember that old 70's Island saying? You can still find that salutation on a thrift store T-shirt now and then, but...I digress (and this is just the second sentence of the blog entry)...

Where was I? Indeed! Sorry for the couple-week layoff - lotsa work, a birthday and a few stitches to the hand can keep a blogger away - so let's get back to it!

This is a FRIDAY QUICKIE, and it's noteworthy nonetheless - get this: a vacuum cleaner made with beach trash - FUN! (what?)

OK, straight away, give the eco-friendly & super-hip folks over at Electrolux's Desgin Lab a slap on the back for bringing attention to the plastic-filled gyres in our oceans! The Swedish household electronics company has been doing their best to be trend-setting earth-huggers and this idea is curious, fun and, well, the units look good too!

But...a vacuum cleaner made, not really out of beach trash, but made with beach trash already in it - not exactly a vacuum pre-loaded with trash (not too forward-thinking...), can this be described...? [click image for larger view]

Aw just go take a look, it is been named by Electolux the "Vac From The Sea", freshly unveiled this week - we've found several articles on it:

Here's one from Fast Company.

From the online rag, Gizmag.

The source itself - Electrolux's VacFromTheSea website, where you can read all about Plastic Karma....Ohhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Suck 'em up!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Plastic Disclosure Project

Initiated by the Clinton Global Initiative, this effort aims to track corporate plastic usage, creation and management, toward offering investors more information in making better-informed investment decisions.

Another aim of the effort is to help (re)direct corporations into leading "examined lives", in which they can better understand how their actions (manufacture) create reactions (plastic trash)...and how they can continue in business and be kinder partners of the earth.

At least that's what I think is going on with this initiative! You can read all about it here and reach your own conclusions!! The story is on the GreenBiz website - explore it a bit for more related news.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plastics Are Forever <------------ YOUTH SUMMIT!

The sleepless souls over at Algalita (and 5Gyres) are finding ways to engage the energy and creativity of the world's youth to help combat the plastic pollution problem that our oceans are facing.

This effort, called the Plastics Are Forever Youth Summit, encourages you to "Find a couple friends and come up with a solution for plastic pollution. Enter the contest, you and your friends could win a trip to come to the Plastics Are Forever Summit taking place on March 11-13, 2011 in Long Beach, CA. If you are one of the 100 students selected, you will join us for the Summit, where we will train you to become a "Plastics Are Forever" expert and join us in find the solutions to plastic pollution!". GREAT STUFF - makes some of us at the RAP Blog desk wish we weren't so creepy and old! ;)

Watch videos by MTV's The Buried Life and others, get into the nitty-gritty of the problem (and your yet-to-be-devised solution!), read the FAQ and other pertinent info at the PAF website. It's a killer website, with lotsa media, maps as well as ideas - AND the opportunity to plug into a solution to one of the oceans' most dire threats - plastics from you and me.

The odds look pretty good: they are choosing 100 students to attend the Summit in California and participate in expert training to become Plastics Are Forever ambassadors...NICE!

Git right on it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Italy Bans Plastic Bottles!

Well...*part* of Italy has banned plastic water bottles - the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) scenic region on the country's northwest coastline. Cinque Terre is recognized on the Unesco World Heritage list of environmental and cultural conservation sites, and the Italians want to keep it that way.

They say that tourists leave behind THOUSANDS of plastic water bottles that topple from the steep terrain and end up on their limited beach space (....and most certainly contribute to the yet-to-be quantified Mediterranean Garbage Gyre) - so the have banned plastic water bottles from the region and have gone so far as to offer low cost one litre metal bottles for just one Euro - complete with the Cinque Terre National Park logo. Nice!

If you've ever actually been to Italy (well, at least the southern part), you may ask "Oh, they finally noticed the trash that is strewn everywhere without regard to aesthetics or environmental health?"...but the Italians estimate that in August alone (when ALL Europeans go on holiday...usually to the warm beaches of Italy), the CT area is trashed by as many as 400,000 (400,000!!!) carelessly discarded plastic water bottles. That's a lot of frikkin' bottles by anyone's count.

Nice move - setting the pace for the rest of the world's special areas! Read more about the savvy move in the UK Telegraph.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

LA Polystyrene Ban: Game ON!

Jeez - maybe the ACC has run out of lobby money? ...or maybe the county of LA is tired of cleaning up single-use plastics? Either way, the County of Los Angeles has initiated a -partial- styrofoam cup and food-container ban, eliminating these dodgy and hazardous scourges from "most county buildings and concessions". THAT is the best news we've heard all week. All month!

This move marks the beginning of a yearlong period of study, in which the county administrators will assess the impact of this kind of reduction in useless, poisonous instant trash. the end of the test period, they shall ask themselves things like, "are we OK without them?", "has the municipality saved zillions of taxpayer dollars in not having to clean them out of our storm drains, our streets, our parks, our beaches and our otherwise beautiful California countryside?", and (I hope they don't leave this Q out) "ain't life grand without that crap?". yes, Yes, YES!

This came outta nowhere (at least for us here at the RAP News Desk), and you can read all about it in the LA Times.

Let the joy begin!

Let Them Drink Bubbles

Paris wants to reduce plastic bottle use. Will they Ban the Bottle? Non! They will dispense carbonated water at public fountains to redirect sparkling water fans toward refilling reusable bottles. How refreshing and au courant! Get this: the Italians have been doing it for years, grazziverymuch.

Read about it in the Guardian UK and the NYTimes.

Could something like that happen in the USA? Fat chance, Pierre - the portly plastics and bottled-water lobbyists would bums-rush our capital and execute a full-court press on our impre$$ionable politicians. "OH, THE JOB LOSSES!","TAX-PAYER BOONDOGGLE!"...ZZZZzzzzz...

Riiiiight...those Frogs are on to something!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bagless in Brownsville

WOW! Texas leaves California in the dust...along with all of the discarded plastic shipping bags accumulating and swirling around there in that dust heap of a state!

Brownsville, TX has banned single-use plastic shopping bags...AND...will charge shoppers a one dollar fee if they forget to bring bags and have to use plastic. Yo no comprendo how a shopper can be charged for being issued a plastic bag if there is a bag ban in effect, but they've got it all figured out there in B-ville and the whole shebang goes into effect in January 2011. OOOWweeeee-dawggies!

See the news video and/or read the story here - and note that they refer to Brownsville as the "first city in the [Rio Grande] valley to ban plastic bags" - which, to my hopeful mind translates to, "and the rest will soon follow!".

Imagine that, progressive, sad, old California digging out from under the blizzard of plastics industry lobby money, wondering what just happened to AB 1998, while Texas is KICKING A** and TAKING INITIALS (they don't have time for names, duuude - they're busy saving the planet!!)!!

As the saying goes, DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sailors Sink SUP Bottles!

Ahoy, and splice the main brace, RAPsters!!

This brief, welcome and unsolicited message arrived at the Surfrider HQ offices this week from the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA)operative (co-captain of the Christopher Newport Univ Varsity Sailing Team & a Mid-Atlantic ICSA Southern Rep) Maxwell J. Plarr:

"As a sailor, surfer, and a person who loves the water I thought you guys should know that the ICSA, the governing body of ALL college sailing in the United States, passed legislation banning the use of plastic water bottles at our regattas to cut back on waste. In the past this has been a HUGE issue trying to protect our environment and I thought it would be really cool to let you guys know that we are doing are part to make our oceans cleaner. Sail Fast, Surf Often!"

According to their news release for this announcement, this smart change will amount to an estimated annual reduction of over 25,000 (twenty-five THOUSAND!) single-use plastic water bottles. Working with sailing environmentalists Sailors For The Sea, and metal bottle-maker, KleanKanteen, this is going to be an easy, fun and forward-thinking transition. BRAVO, Maties!!

...and who says that "True sailing is dead"? P-shawwwwww!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Amazon Fights Clamshells

Monday shortie: we all hate those insipid plastic "clamshells" entombing many of our, mainly electronic, purchases - well Amazon says that they want to reduce it for several reasons, one of them environmental.

Intended mainly as a way to keep theiving shoppers from pocketing tiny valuable items from store shelves - and inadvertently causing major frustration on the consumer that's trying to open the package w/o destroying the item itself (what do they care - they already have your $$$) - well, the lat time it checked, Amazon didn't have store shelves and it has put the word to its suppliers to nix the clams.

Nice name for a campaign, "NIX THE CLAMS!" (they are actually calling it the Anti-"wrap rage" campaign), and reportedly, Fisher-Price, and Mattel are already on board - read about it here.

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Samoa Bans the Bag!

If you haven't heard (it's been a busy month!), on August 27th Samoa banned single-use plastic bags. This island group, another inadvertent dumping spot of ocean gyre-based plastic trash, has decided to end the possibility that it can be a source of this kind of pollution.

Thoughtful consideration by the locals brought this to bear. Can you imagine that? A place in the world perhaps free from lobbyists? Regardless, a hard-working local government representative, Taotasi Archie Soliai has been driving the effort for the ban for four solid years - that is dedication. Soliai's respect for Samoa's limited environmental paradise kept him at it until the law was eventually signed.

Even local businessmen see the movement as a "small price to pay" for the eventual rewards that an action like this will garner. If we could only get corporations to toe that line - truly a paradise...a world where all players find value in protecting the environment - versus protecting the "bottom line"? NICE!

The ban kicks in in late February next year... The locals are also cognizant of the overall impact of paper bags as well, and overall urge increased use of reusable bags. Read about it all in Samoa News, and in the Huffington Post.

Have a great weekend - and dont forget to leave all extraneous product packaging at the check-out stand if you go shopping this weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Let's Do the Numbers...

Further refining our analysis of the recently-failed California single-use plastic shopping bag "ban", AB 1998 - let's take a deeper look in to the blizzard of money falling into the hands of the legislators, as put there by the plastics lobby:

South Carolina plastic bag manufacturer, Hilex Poly Co. gave $10,000 to the California Democratic State Central Committee on Aug. 5. On Aug 6th, Exxon gave the Republican Party $10,000, building on other donations it has piled up in California this summer.

Tim Shestek, the American Chemistry Council's state and local public affairs director, calls it “building relationships and support". Borrowing a line from a popular California bumpersticker, Tourist Go Home.

Making more per$onalized/targetted “contribution$” to our local $tate legi$lator$ over the $ummer as they contemplated thi$ bill, Hilex, Exxon, and the ACC (American Chemistry Council, the PR arm of the plastic$ industry) gave the maximum per-election direct donation of $3,900 to, some and more/less to others:

Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, $3900 (voted...?)
Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, $3900 (voted NO)
Curren Price, D-Inglewood, $3900 (voted NO)
Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, $3900 (voted NO)
Lois Wolk, D-Davis, $2,500 (voted NO)
Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, $1,500 (low-balled, and voted YES!)
Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, $4500 (voted...?)
Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, $3000 (voted NO)

Total: $47,100that we know of… Pretty cheap dates overall. Out-of-state businesses making contributions to California-local state senators. Think about that a minute.

The Sacramento Bee article detailing these transactions goes on to quote $enator Loi$ Wolk: "People are dealing and wheeling - There is a great deal of push on both sides." $he claim$ that her vote, had “nothing to do with contributions – at least it doesn't with me." Ooooh my...she's a $lippery one! Her simple, flippant use of the term "dealing and wheeling" gives great insight into the lobbying process.

Looking at the list, that’s EIGHT VOTES – enough to turn the outcome over in favor of the bill, ya think? We couldn’t have counted on all of them, so no tears shed there – but I, for one, bristle at the thought of greaseball out-of-staters greasing the palms of local electeds for consideration.

Either way, that’s what we’re up against in these fights…the greasers and greaseesLobbying...or Lubing - you make the call!

Stay tuned for good news tomorrow on a similar front...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

See Ya In Court!

Well, what can ya say. California’s bag ban effort fell short. Looking at it another way, after a week of perspective, I have concluded that some politicians are just stupid. [REVELATION!] “Stupid” is a harsh word, yes, but Forest Gump reminded us that “Stupid is that stupid does.” Which, defined, means “a person is judged ‘stupid’ by the stupid acts (s)he commits”. And well, just follow the logic…and the actions.

…or maybe it could be just plain old selfish ignorance – for instance, my local senator kept asking us, “what will I use to pick up my dog droppings with if single-use plastic shopping bags are banned?”. So, to her, her dog’s feces were more important than unsightly, and at times, deadly plastic pollution strewn across her district and beyond. Go figure…or go fetch?

Here are the elected California senator yayhoos who lack both thinking caps & vision for the future, and/or are on the lobbyist gravy-train (these senators voted against the bag ban):

Aanestad, Ashburn, Calderon, Cogdill,
Correa, Denham, Ducheny, Dutton,
Emmerson, Florez, Harman, Hollingsworth,
Huff, Negrete, McLeod, Price,
Runner, Walters, Wolk, Wright,
Romero, & Wyland

Some Senators are greedy and vote with an eye to fattening their wallets. Note that self-bepuffed Senator Lois Wolk (D-Sacramento) spoke out against the bill on the floor AND was one of the Senators that the Sacramento Bee exposed as taking money from the ACC. Read the Sac Bee article that fingers the other California State Senators caught feeding their portly jowls and wallets at the plastics industry’s lobbyist money-tree. BUSTED!

…and then there are the SMART SENATORS, with VISION and CONCERN. These are the ones that could see the value in preserving our environment for future generations, who are not swayed by money-grubbin’ lobbyists, and who should be praised for their thoughtful “YES!” votes on AB1998 (note that the State Assembly is jammed with smarties too, as they passed the bill before it ever went to the Senate):

Alquist, Cedillo, Corbett, DeSaulnier,
Hancock, Kehoe, Leno, Liu,
Lowenthal, Padilla, Pavley, Simitian,
Steinberg, Yee, AND Schwartzenegger
(said he’d pass it!)

Please contact these senators and thank them for voting YES ON AB 1998!

So it’s back to the courts – a much simpler prospect, now that Santa Monica has published their EIR required by CEQA, to show that banning bags won’t hurt the environment more than keeping them around to litter our landscapes & oceans, and kill our wildlife. Back to the plan of each municipality forging their own bag bans. Like I said, SEE YA IN COURT!

More good news in the wake of AB 1998 – 1) the greater awareness about the plastic plague problem has motivated many California cities to go forward with local bans, 2) that raised awareness has blanketed the world, and other countries continue to BAN THE BAG, 3) our Clean Seas Coalition has grown stronger and more organized and are ready for the next fight!

Also, it's now time to schedule your showing of BagIt, a new indy film all about single-use plastics and in particular, the devil incarnate: single-use plastic shopping bags. Surfrider has been granted rights to show this award-winning film, so contact your local Surfrider chapter and see about show times!

This last item is for my local California State Senator – maybe I was too harsh, perhaps it is actually her dog that is the dumb one. I mean really, smart dogs clean up after themselves…Ms. Senator, please show this image to your dog and tell him to get with the program!

Have a single-use bag-less week!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bag Monster ACTION!

Your local Bag Monster is on tour...just looking for a friendly home. The world is demonstrating that it dislikes single-use plastic shopping bags, so the monster is crossing the USA to find love where it can (not an easy task).

So sad - keep up with the Monster's quest and other Monster doin's (public art, activist marches, etc, etc!!) at the entertaining Bag Monster blog.

[Meanwhile...Californians: contact your state senators and tell them to pass AB 1998 - the state-wide single-use plastic shopping bag ban bill. More info here.]

Have a reusable weekend!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

California Bag Ban - HAMMER TIME!

OK – hammer time is upon us. I’m told that this week is THE week for action on the California Bag Ban, AB 1998 – your mission (f you choose to accept it) is to call your senator [list below] and tell them that you want them, NEED them to pass AB 1998 and PASS IT NOW.

Why? China, Mexico, Ireland (tax), Bangladesh, Zimbabwe (just did it!), Israel (tax), UAE have already banned these environmental scourges and the list of places that have goes on. California, #7 on the world GDP list (ahead of all but one of those listed above), sets progressive trends for the world and sports a stunning array of environmental jewels that need protection from the now-ubiquitous “urban tumbleweed” – not least of which is its famous, unmatched coastline. Single-use plastics are nothing more than INSTANT TRASH – we don’t need that cr*p!

Take a look around your world – how many discarded plastic shopping bags do you see strewn about? LOTS! Did you put them there? H***, NO! Do you think anyone did it on purpose? NOT LIKELY! In a nutshell, that’s the whole enchilada…pretty easy to understand – per their basic design flaw, these bags are genetically predisposed to a life of being unsightly, sea-animal-choking weapons against an innocent, unknowing environment. We’re all guilty for letting it get this bad – now is the time for us all to act!

OK Californians, if you’ve been on the sidelines (or if you’ve already made the calls), this is THE time to dial up your senator and tell them how you feel. Easier than you think – you won’t get a 20-question grilling, your taxes won’t go up and you can knock the call out on the walk between your car/bus/bike/skateboard and your office…and you can do it up to once a day. Tomorrow is a new (call) day!

So check the list below for your jurisdiction - these are the Senators that need to hear your voice – so, please, GIT ON IT! You’ll be glad you did (as will your neighborhoods and your oceans). ☺

Los Angeles Area:

1. Azuza, Baldwin Park, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Irwindale, La Puente, LA, Monterey Park, Rosemead, West Covina - Gloria Romero 916-651-4024
2. Montebello, Huntington Park - Ron Calderon 916-651-4030
3. Santa Ana/Fullerton - Lou Correa 916-651-4034
4. Huntington Beach/Costa Mesa - Tom Harman 916-651-4035
5. Laguna Niguel - Mimi Walters 916-651-4033
6. Compton, Gardena, Hawthorn, Inglewood, Lawndale, Long Beach, LA, Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro - Roderick Wright 916-651-4025
7. Alhambra, LA, Maywood, San Marino, South Pasadena and Vernon) - Gilbert Cedillo 916-651-4022
8. Bakersfield, Coalinga, Delano, Dinuba, Fresno, Hanford, Lemoore) - Dean Florez 916-651-4016
9. Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona) - Gloria Negrete McLeod 916-651-4032
10. Canoga Park, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, San Fernando, Sun Valley, Sylmar, Van Nuys, Winneka) - Alex Padilla 916-651-4020
11. Culver City, Hancock Park, Hollywood, LA) - Curren Price 916-651-4026

San Diego Area:

1. Brawley, Calexico, Cathedral City, Chula Vista, Coachella, Coronado, El Centro, IB, Indio, National City, SD, San Ysidro - Denise Ducheny 916-651-4040

San Francisco Area:

1. Leland Yee 916-651-4008

Sacramento Area:
1. Davis, Fairfield, Manteca, Stockton, Tracy, Vacaville, West Sacramento - Lois Wolk 916-651-4005

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jack Johnson's "All At Once" Network

All At Once, Jack Johnson's social action network, encourages you to become active in your local and world community. All At Once connects you with local non-profit groups creating change through Your Actions, Your Voices and Your Choices.

This year's All At Once campaign features over 150 non-profit groups and focuses on supporting Sustainable Local Food Systems and Plastic Free Initiatives. Jack Johnson's To The Sea tour proceeds will go to these groups to support their projects.

All At Once introduces you to Plastic Free Initiatives. Plastic waste is harmful to the environment because it doesn't break down. Almost every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists. The plastic pollution threatens our wildlife, oceans, and our health. Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour-every HOUR! Recycling isn't always the answer; most of the plastic waste ends up in landfills. Do your part to minimize single use plastic.

Here is what you can do to Strive to be Plastic Free!

Your Actions

Here are three actions you can take to support a vision for a plastic free environment. Your individual ACTIONS make a difference!

• Pledge to reduce your plastic waste. Take Surfrider Foundation's Rise Above Plastics pledge and the Plastic Pollution Coalition's S.U.P.E.R. Hero Pledge and learn more about what you can do to be plastic free.

• Bring your own reusable bag for purchases and use reusable beverage and food containers. Nearly every plastic bottle ever made still exists today. Do your part and reuse!

• Get involved with projects that are raising awareness about plastic free alternatives. Check out what others are doing to make a statement- Follow the Plastiki Voyage across the South Pacific and see what the Algalita Marine Research Foundation has discovered in the North Pacific Gyre.

Your Voice

Here are three more things you can do to support a vision for a plastic free environment. Let your VOICE be heard!

• Join the Take Back the Tap Campaign. Ditch single-use bottled water, support local water infrastructure, and refill at the tap.

• Support local or national policies and efforts to reduce or find alternatives to single use plastics. If you're in California, send a letter to your Assemblymember in support of Heal The Bay's Plastic Ban Policy to ban single use plastic bags, limit the distribution of paper bags, and require reusable bags for purchases.

• Sign up and stay informed on Plastic Free Initiatives. Check out

Your Choice

Here are three choices you can make to support buying seasonal, locally grown, organic food. It's your CHOICE - make conscious purchasing decisions!

• Shop at your local farmers market or farm stand. Visit for a farm or market near you.

• Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Become a shareholder of a local farm, support its operation, and receive fresh food throughout the growing season. Find your CSA here.

• Eat at restaurants that serve local organic produce. Check out Eat Well Guide's map for the To the Sea 2010 tour! Custom guides have been created for each city of the tour to help your find fresh, local and sustainable food.

Connect to the All At Once non-profit partners promoting sustainable local food systems.

At the Jack/All At Once Shows- Fill Up at Brita's FilterForGood Water Stations.

In an effort to be more plastic free, Jack Johnson's 2010 To The Sea Tour has partnered with Brita's FilterForGood Campaign to bring free water refill stations to every show on the U.S. Tour.

The FilterForGood campaign raises awareness of simple changes everyone can make to live eco-friendly lives. Help us improve the environment one bottle at a time by staying hydrated with filtered water and a reusable bottle instead of disposable bottled water. Come fill up your reusable bottle for free at the Brita Water Stations in the Village Green at the shows and take the FilterForGood Pledge to reduce plastic bottled water waste.

For more information on the Village Green, Brita Water Stations, and other To The Sea Tour Greening information, visit

Learn more and become an All At Once member to explore, share, discuss, volunteer, and donate at

[Thanks to Nicole Parisi-Smith of Surfrider San Fran, Head Count and MOP]

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jeremy Irons Plastic Bag Vid

Brought to us by our friends at Heal The Bay, and complete with helicopter shot and night-vision cams, this is a high-quality production about the lonely trials and tribulations of a discarded plastic grocery bag, just trying to get through the day. You see them everywhere, everyday, but have you ever pondered their difficult "life" path?

Similar to the Werner Herzog vid of a previous post on this blog, this one has a touch more humor and well, is quite a tear-jerker - wait 'till you see the "deadly" teacup yorkie open a can (cup?) of whoop-ass on our bag/friend...not sure whom to weep for in that scene, but pass the tissues, pleeeez.

In Heal The Bay's words: "Filmed in the style of a nature documentary and narrated by Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons, this 'mockumentary', though lighthearted in tone, hammers home the stark reality of California’s plastic bag pollution situation. View on YouTube and share to help get AB 1998 approved by the Senate!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aloha From Plastic Beach!

A quick shout-out to Surfrider Oahu. They took out a RAP advert (designed by dream team: Lora Lamm, Sheila Sarhangi, Rob Barecca, Ryo Kubota) in the new-ish local mag Green Magazine Hawaii - fulfilling the "A" in Surfrider's C.A.R.E., "awareness" (call your local chapter for the other 3 points of CARE). You can see the mag and the ad in the current issue (page 22).

While you're there, skip back an issue or so for a cover article (page 34) on 5Gyres' Dr. Marcus Eriksen (of JunkBoat & JunkRide fame), oceanic plastic trash and it's play in 'the islands' - written by Surfrider's Stuart Coleman (famous as author of island tomes, Eddie Would Go and Fierce Heart).

Hawaii catches the brunt of sea-going trash, being on the spin-out fringe of the North Pacific Garbage Patch - bizarre...paradise filtering the world's cast-off junk. Lono don't like dat mess.

Nice work by the Oahu Nalu Ohana! It may only be Thursday boyz, but take an early PAU HANA & catch the end of the swell...MUCHOS MAHALOS! :)

PS - Stuart Coleman wrote another article about Dr. Marcus Eriksen in the Honolulu Civil Beat, revealing some interesting points about this peace & environmental activist. Check it out to find out who he's calling a "fossil fool".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

California Bag Ban Update: Slimy Lobbyists Steering YOUR Future!

The time for the big push is NOW. As the selfish, narrow-minded, non-local ACC (bag manufacturer LOBBYing assn based in Virginia & Washington DC) tries to convince YOUR California politicians (hmmm…money, meals, & “special services” anyone?) that their profits are more important than your neighborhoods and the earth’s environment, it is time for us to contact our representatives and let them know how we feel.

The vote on California Assembly Bill AB 1998 should finally come up in the next couple of weeks. The ACC has been able to toss extra hurdles in front of the bill by somehow (wink-wink) convincing our local reps to require the bill to pass thru yet another committee before coming to a general vote on the senate floor. The ACC lobbyists are trying to delay, delay, delay until it becomes difficult to move the bill forward, those selfish little @#$%&*s!

Californians, take this time to use Surfrider’s handy state senator letter-writing gizmo to punch a letter of AB 1998 support out to your senator – click this link to DO IT! Don’t let some out-of-state greaseballs dictate your state’s future. (better yet, CALL the representative – the Surfrider tool will display your local rep’s phone number – mine is: Rep Christine Kehoe, Phone:(916) 651-4039 Fax:(916) 327-2188)

Meanwhile…check out Ed Begley Jr & Kate Conner's little video about good reasons to GO REUSABLE on your bags (the scenario in the van should look and feel familiar).

Buried in Plastic PSA Plastic Pollution Coalition from Dianna Cohen on Vimeo.

It’s Hammer Time!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Holiday Video Round-Up!

A few vids to ease back into the work week - all dealing with the scourge of single-use plastic bags:

1) California State Assemblywoman Julia Brownley announcing (fairly) recent progress of her Bag Ban bill currently working thru the legislature (it's a bit further along than when this vid was produced). Be on the look-out for favorably lit hot celebrities!

2) Actor Ed Norton and National Geographic team up for this Strange Day On Planet Earth anti-bag ditty. Oh man, this one reeeeally hits the spot - and who can argue with NatGeo? I mean, really.

3) An Israeli PSA (I think it's a PSA...?), reminding all Hebrew-speakers to bring their own reusable bags to the store. Plastic bag trash is just not's a dang fashla gadol! ;)

4) House cats can be terrorized by single-use plastic bags (or maybe it's the Don Henley music?)...good for them, their owner-friends have hands with fingers & opposable thumbs and can come to the rescue. Wild animals ain't so lucky... :(

5) Saving the BEST for last. With first-"person"[bag] narration by famed film maker Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man; Aguirre, the Wrath of God; The Wild Blue Yonder; etc!), this one laments the sad life of a single-use plastic bag. It's a film by Ramin Bahrani called "PLASTIC BAG" made for Futurestates TV - take time to check them out. Live it up and go FULL SCREEN - and tell your friends about this one! [Note: this Futurestates full episode is 18+ minutes long...just so ya know.]

NOW - take time to roll down to the next blog-post here at The RAP Blog to sign the action alerts, contact your state senator(s) and help support Assemblywoman Brownley's AB 1998 Bag Ban bill!! Thanks a heap.

Friday, July 2, 2010

CA Bag Ban - What's Next??

Ok…well…”What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is going on with the California Bag Ban bill?”, I ask myself everyday. To assuage my confusion of CA state government, I've contacted the experts, have sussed it all out, and, employing my superior desktop/spreadsheet/ninja-nerd skills, have created this handy matrix’d cheat-sheet (current as of July 2, 2010) - Click it to enlarge:

So, checking the smart-indicator color-keyed image – it looks like we may be more than half way there. It now sits in the trembling hands of the California State Senate. This is where YOU come in: this is the time to contact a California state senator to let them know that you support The Bill, The Ban and The Environment. Nice!

Here’s how you do it:

Click here to choose your senator.

Click here to sign Surfrider’s Action Alert.

Click here to explore Heal The Bay’s legislator contact options.

Click here to use Environment California’s Action Alert senator-contact tool (with example letter!).

Take your time, mix & match, tell yer ma to do it, but just do it - NOW IS THE TIME.

Meanwhile, for your "Friday-Lite" reading pleasure, our good friends over at the Plastic Pollution Coalition have compiled a list of supporters and opPOSERS of the bill. I have taken that list and eliminated crazeee environmental groups, and/or businesses that could make money on the ban and/or businesses who may lose money due to the ban and...the remainders are below – there are a few surprises (Steven Bochco Productions?)…cheque it out!!

California Grocer’s Association
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Association of Communities United of South Los Angeles
California Association of Environmental Health Administrators
California State Lands Commission
City of Burbank
City of Del Mar
City of Long Beach
City of Newport Beach
City of Pasadena
City of San Buenaventura
City of San Clemente
City of Solana Beach
City of Ventura
Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association
East Bay Municipal Utility District
Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market Inc.
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors
Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County Solid Waste Management Committee/ Integrated Waste Management Task Force
Marin County Board of Supervisors
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
Monterey Regional Waste Management District
Neighborhood Market Association
Planning and Conservation League
PW Supermarkets Inc. (San Jose)
Rite Aid
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
Save Mart Supermarkets
Solid Waste Solutions Inc
Alameda County Waste Management Authority
Steven Bochco Productions
Super A Food Inc. (Commerce)
State Lands Commission
Washington Elementary PTA
Western States Council of the United Food & Commercial Workers
WinCo Foods Inc.
Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists
Youth Opportunities for High School and Associations of Communities United of South Los Angeles

Californians for Extended Producer Responsibility
Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Corona Chamber of Commerce
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce

Have a trash-free July 4th beachy weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oil Spill Prevention Starts at Home...!

This from cartoonist/realist David Horsey:

I think our subject is also wearing those annoying Crocs - perhaps petroleum-based? Do I see inorganic cotton clothing items as well? Something to think about during your normal, daily goings-on - a LOT of what we "do" as humans nowadays is rooted in petroleum use/abuse - ESPECIALLY IF IT INVOLVES PLASTIC! Show this to yer mom too - some moms think that this stuff comes from plastic (and meat and Croc) trees... :(

The original posting site is here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

LA Times Hates Plastic Bags!

Well, maybe hate is too strong a word, but yesterday the LA Times took an Op/Ed stand in favor the California Bag Ban Bill, AB 1998. NICE! They state all of the known points about why we advocate squelching the flow of the nearly useless trash into our world, and go on to suggest that a fee on all bags (a similar, but weaker variation on what’s being proposed in AB 1998) could be a better plan of action, due to that idea’s resounding success elsewhere…but, in the end, the LA Times Op/Ed’rs embrace Brownley’s bill as being a “good compromise”.

Citing the low cost to business of the actual mechanics of the proposed ban and the fact that the California Grocers Assn wholeheartedly supports it, The Times goes on to call AB 1998, “the easiest and most effective step Californians can take toward cleaning up plastics pollution.” So that’s some great news! Let’s hope that the politicians considering the bill have taken time out to read the opinion – contact your CA state senator and give ‘em the Op/Ed link. GO!

On a whole ‘nuther front…and on the same day, in the same daily…a blog entry, essentially paid for by plastics manufacturers (“american chemistry council”…google it), touts a “study” that claims that reusable bags test positive for bacteria!! LIONS/TIGERS/BEARS/OH-MY! Just so ya know, the ACC always finds ways to (re)issue the findings of this elaborate science project in municipalities that are considering bans…so we’ve seen this before… ZZZzzzzz... :( The entertaining comments immediately following that spurious blog/report are worth the time you waste reading the blog entry itself, so go for it!

Jeez – I hope grandma knew about this cRaZeE bacteria “problem” back before plastic bags were unleashed on us – she might have died of BACTERIA POISONING (luckily she succumbed to old age before bacteria had a chance take her down - whew!). Well…frankly, bacteria resides on just about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, including your face. Crops would not grow if not for the bacteria in the soil, and w/o it you can forget about vinegar, yogurt, cheese, etc, etc, etc…it even helps to break down oil spill pollution.

Really, if you're that worried about threats from bacteria, you should avoid using the grocery store shopping carts - EEEW! Just to be safe, do like me: always refrain from fishing things out of the commode with your reusable shopping bags, and you’ll probably be OK. ;)

Please take time to sign the Surfrider Action Alert supporting the ban bill.

Have a good 'un!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kids Get It - AND Give It

Today, a couple of stories about how news of plastic pollution is inspiring kids to create awareness projects. Great news, as kids effectively "up-teach" their parents...the ones that can actually "vote with their dollars" to reduce plastics.

First off – renowned photog Chris Jordan keeps plenty busy with his Running the Numbers and Midway series images, and recently, the revelations illuminated by his work have done more than open a few people’s minds to the plastic-gyre problem. Seattle's Bertschi School 2nd graders have gone on to create their own representative art, and the two artists meet in this video.

Next up – An endearing video created by school children, of The International School of Monterey, about how, well…we are trampling the planet – but they have a savior: The Ocean Guardian! My mind's eye sees single-use-plastics manufacturers drowning in their own tears as they watch this one...prepare to bust out the un-bleached, recycled cotton/hemp towels. WARNING - Cuteness Factor: HIGH!

Enjoy summer vacation!

[OH YEAH, don't forget to contact your CA senator to tell them that you want them to pass AB 1998, the California BAG BAN Bill! Please sign Surfrider's AB 1998 Action Alert as well - it's crunch time!]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BBC: Hip to the Tip

Another report from the UK's BBC2 on the oceanic plastic pollution problem. Documentarian Simon Reeve has made a couple of ace short reports of his trips around the world, exploring the dodgy, pear-shaped state of the world's natural environment (what there is of it, such as it is...), and this is his latest and it's quite stonking - in it, he really takes the biscuit and reminds us that it's time to stop faffing around.

Tell your mum that it's naff and to give it a look - that British accent has a way of calming and focusing the viewer - and frankly, RAP's essentially NorthAmerica-centric campaign right fancies any and all international insight and raised-awareness. Fab, indeed.

Stay spot-on and get gobsmacked - watch it on your telly, it's totally brill!

Tara (TTFN!)!

[OH YEAH, don't forget to contact your CA senator to tell them that you want them to pass AB 1998, the California bag ban bill! Please sign Surfrider's AB 1998 Action Alert as well - it's crunch time!]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Walmart...Getting a Head-Start on the Bag Ban in California

Well, well, well...hello to progressive retail, from...Walmart? YEP! Walmart, the largest grocery retailer in the United States, AND the largest private employer is starting to kick the single-use bag habit. Three Walmart stores in Norther California are conducting a pilot program in which they are operating as if the pending state bag ban had been passed. According to reports, things are going well, with the biggest "complaint" being the usual "I never remember to bring my reusable bags with me..." - but in this case, shoppers w/o bags find that their only option is to buy bags at checkout.

Pretty astounding? Well, yeah, but really it's just smart business - especially if the pending ban ban legislation being considered becomes law this year. Businesses can either grump and complain, or...get into the spirit of the movement and make it a positive change for themselves AND their customers...either way, Mother Nature will be grateful...!

Be sure to contact your CA state senator to tell them that you want them to pass the bag ban , AB 1998. It's now in the hands of the state Senate, having passed the Assembly earlier this month. Do what you can!!

A couple of articles on Walmart's progressive action:

Fast Company & Good Magazine.

The video embedded in the above articles probably won't work for you [youtube wants the ad revenue ;)], so here is the direct link for that.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Santa Monica Posts Its Bag Ban Environmental Impact Report!

Looking for a little summer reading? Well, the City of Santa Monica is dishing it up - 246 pages worth! Enough to choke a horse - OR an American Chemistry Council (ACC) attorney - KhHACK!

Ever wonder what an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) looks like?? I mean, we hear about 'em all the time, we know their function, but have you ever looked under the hood? This is the real thing - all killer, no filler.

For background, the City of Santa Monica (near Los Angeles, CA), attempted to ban single-use plastic bags a couple of years ago, and were clothes-lined by the non-local and obtusely un-neighborly ACC, who legally forced the city to produce an expensive (~$300,000) EIR to prove that the expected increase in the use of paper bags would not harm the environment...and no one is debating whether the ACC cares about the environment, because, never mind. Riiiight. ;)

The bottom line is, no city of this decade is in the position to spend the $$$,$$$ to produce the EIR - but Santa Monica accepted the mission and have produced the doc.


What's the next step? Expect the hanging legal debate to restart, with this new (draft) EIR as "Exhibit A". Stay tuned here for subsequent updates - and meanwhile, watch the Bag Monster at the SM city council meeting back in Feb 2008 when the whole shebang was just starting - NICE!