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!

5Gyers Call To Action!

While we wait (after directly contacting our local politicians, of course) on the hanging-in-the-balance California Bag Ban legislation's (AB 1998) peristaltic movement through the Cali-legislature, some of us are busy back at the ranch-gyre...

Look at this: the "JunkRide" and "JunkRaft" team, 5Gyres, is building two new vessels to grab needed attention to the persistent pelagic plastic pollution problem (5Ps?). Read below and do what you can! (click to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bottled Water = OIL (French?)

With all this talk about filthy oil lately... From the Tapped movie people - a nice reminder that each water bottle comes pre-loaded with a 1/3 volume of petroleum - yummy-yum-yum! So, remember to keep your toothbrush and dispersant handy if you buy bottled water...

On the lighter side...comedian Jim Gaffigan reminds us of the ridiculous folly of bottled water, and how the French may be behind not only this whole, sick bottled water conspiracy...but they may also be to "blame" for the homogeneous nature of Mexican Food as well...quel/que catastrophe/lastima!
Jim Gaffigan - Bottled Water
Futurama New EpisodesUgly AmericansFunny TV Comedy Blog

Eat 'em up!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Recycling Myths 4 U

I'm sure you've heard this "argument": "It's OK to buy those plastic water bottles, because, I RECYCLE THEM!" (Usually followed by an unvocalized "YAY 4 ME!"...) The concept in our heads - as placed there, to a large extent, by plasti-manufacturers - See: Misconception #5! - versus the reality of what actually happens to stuff you toss into a recycling bin are separated by a wiiiide-a** gap.

FunFact/Misconception #2: "Curbside collection will reduce the amount of plastic landfilled". Plastic items don't come back as those same items. Those that actually make it into a recycling bin (and truly end up at a plastics renderer...) come back as un-recylable they end up in the dump (or your surf break) eventually...

Find this helpful & informative list here - SEVEN Misconceptions About Recycling and FIVE Strategies to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Plastics. Pretty slick - show it to your parents (no matter your age)!

Today was a good day at my local break - One CapriSun (the Devil's drink) mylar 'pouch', one Pooh toy part, a plastic shopping bag, and a couple of bottle caps. Yesterday was GnArLyer: One CapriSun (the Devil's drink) mylar 'pouch' [I guess I didnt get them all this day], Two water bottles, one full (though empty) Happy Meal set, some unhappy plastic toy parts, one 'travel-size' shampoo bottle several plastic straws, and four bottle caps...all gathered on my short walk from the water to the parking lot - maybe 60 yards of beach to traverse - and this was AFTER the city's "beach-grooming" contraption had made its passes. D'ya see why we have a problem with plastics around here? DAMN!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Schwarzzi's On Board - How About =====> U?

Check this out - Arnold Schwarzenegger, the King of the Land of Fruits & Nuts (insert his odd pronunciation of the state's name here...), is ready, willing and able to sign the California Bag Ban bill, AB 1998 (fact sheets here), as soon as it gets through the senate (it has already passed the Assembly). Check this bold, concise, and bulgingly-muscular statement from Der Governator:

I commend the Assembly for passing AB 1998, which would make California the first state in the nation to ban plastic bags. This bill will be a great victory for our environment and I applaud Assemblywoman Brownley for working on this effort.

AWRIGHT! DOOD! There's no question about his stance on the issue! Now it's the electorate's chance: have your zip code ready and go sign the Action Alert AND call your assigned politician's office - I did mine and it took less than a minute. Believe it or not, this direct contact really works.

Git On It!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Welcome To Your World [Stop-Action Video]

Ask any whale, and you'll get a terse, "Been there, done that." :(

[From our HARDCORE friends over at the Plastic Pollution Coalition - check them out and DONATE!!!]

Stop [Plastic] Motion from Taina Uitto on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

CA Bag Ban Update

Though Californians can't yet start singing "Ding-dong, the witch is dead!", they can start crossing their fingers for a enviro-happy ending. AB 1998, the state's bag ban bill, passed the Assembly yesterday and now has just two remaining hurdles: 1) the State Senate and 2) Der Governator.

Experts say step two will be a breeze, and with grocers backing the bill, step one...well, I don't wanna jynx the forward momentum - and THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP & SUPPORT. We shall keep you posted if we are able to fashion a new Action Alert for local state senators - those are easy and effective.

Time schedules can vary for bills passing through the circuitous CA state legislature, but our teams are monitoring progress closely, so stay tuned for more good news...!