Author Archives: Nathaniel

“Recycling is supposed to be the last resort” – Why our recycling system is broken

by Paige Vermeulen, West Chester Green Team, 7/6/19

The US Recycling System Is Garbage (Sierra Magazine, 6/26/19, by Edward Humes) details the many issues in the US’s current recycling system. Most of what you put in the bin doesn’t actually get recycled, and recycling is now coming as a cost to our economy – and it’s all because China stopped accepting our dirty plastics.

Since about 1992, the US has been selling our plastic waste to Asia, namely China, because it is easier and less costly than processing it here. Then, the plastic would be processed under lax environmental conditions, along with much of it being dumped into rivers.

Prior to this offshoring, the US actually had a fairly healthy recycling system. In the ’70s and ’80s, US consumers would clean their recyclables and separate the materials. After we started shipping away this waste, the system deteriorated, as we no longer had to deal with the problem. Nowadays, consumers will throw anything into the recycling bin – from dirty food containers to old furniture. …

read more at West Chester Green Team,

June 29 Organic Food Garden Tour in West Chester Borough

West Chester borough is full of beautiful and vivacious gardens you may not even know about! Come along June 29th for a tour of the organic gardens of West Chester, sponsored by the West Chester Green Team and West Chester University’s Office of Sustainability. A food garden from every ward of the borough will be featured, including West Chester University’s vegetable gardens, plus a rain garden installed by the Borough.

A sample of one of the gardens you will get to visit on the tour, growing here (all organically!): Asparagus, lettuce, kale, beans, and much more.

You will have the opportunity to meet greeters with information about each garden, and ask any questions you may have. If you’re looking for inspiration or help with your own gardens, this is the tour to go on!

The event is taking place June 29th, 11am-3pm. The tour route is posted below so that you can walk, bike, or drive to the gardens at your own pace. Or, hop in one of our vans! The event is 100% FREE. Courtney Bodle, an organizer of the event, says “this is a casual event… a day full of fun and light gardening education. A day to meet like-minded people, talk about green ideas, and work towards a sustainable future…. “!

See more info and a map with addresses here.

We only have 12 years to save the planet

Letter, Washington Post, 1/14/19. See the calendar for Richard Whiteford’s presentation on climate change in Downington on June 17.

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions surged 3.4 percent in 2018, but that doesn’t stop climate change deniers from peddling their “climate change is a hoax” snake oil [“U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked 3.4 percent in 2018,” Politics & the Nation, Jan. 8]. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Assessment reports late last year made it clear that the world must cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 45 percent in 12 years to preserve any hope of maintaining a livable planet.

Twelve years. All of humanity should be tackling the climate change problem as though their lives depend on it — because they do. Do climate-change deniers not have children and grandchildren? For what reason are they willing to forfeit the welfare of future lives?

Two immediate needs are to convert energy systems from fossil to clean-energy technology and to tax fossil fuels at their source. Converting world energy from fossil to clean energy would stimulate economies and negate the need for developing countries to rely on fossil fuels to build their economies.

Richard Whiteford, Downington, Pa.

The writer is a climate change adviser and board member of World Information Transfer, a nonprofit organization promoting environmental health and literacy.

June 27: “Plastic Crisis – How a Shopping Bag Can End Up in Your Food & What We Can Do About It!”

Thursday June 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm: “Plastic Crisis – How a Shopping Bag Can End Up in Your Food & What We Can Do About It!”

Thursday June 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm, in Room 101, West Chester University Business and Public Management Center, 50 Sharpless St., West Chester 19382. Park if needed across the street in Sharpless Parking Garage. All welcome.

Sponsored by Plastics-Free Please Action Group and West Chester Green Team.

The growing plastic waste that we produce daily is becoming a real threat to our environment and civilization. We will learn how plastic can affect our body, what West Chester is doing to reduce the usage of plastic in the Borough and what changes you can make in your daily life to reduce plastics.

Doors open at 6:30 so come then for environmental and community group exhibits. No refreshments but you can fill up your refillable water bottles. Program starts at 7 p.m.

1) The Impact of Plastics on our Environment and our Bodies, by Carol Armstrong, PhD, Expert in Watershed Restoration, Master Watershed Steward with Penn Extension, Neuropsychologist

2) Update on Efforts to Ban Plastic Bags and Straws in the West Chester Area

3) Tips and Ideas on How You Can Reduce Plastic in Your Daily Life

4) Q&A

More info about the program: cit331@gmail.com

Monsanto slammed with a $2 billion lawsuit: Another hit in a string of cancer cases

by Paige Vermeulen, Don’t Spray Me!, June 3, 2019

For the third time in a year, Monsanto has been found culpable by a jury for contributing to or causing cancer in long-term users of the product Roundup. Alva and Alberta Pilliod both were diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after using the product Roundup at their home over the span of 40 years. After a 5-week trial, the jury awarded the couple $1 billion each for damages, to be paid by Bayer, the owner of Monsanto and producer of Roundup.

Roundup is the most popular weedkiller in the world, used widely by gardeners, groundskeepers, and homeowners across America. The key ingredient of Roundup, glyphosphate, is the chemical under question. While Bayer and the EPA continue to insist that glyphosphate is not harmful to humans, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found the chemical is “probably” carcinogenic to humans….

read more at Don’t Spray Me!

Maryland becomes the second state to ban plastic foam containers

US PIRG, May 24, 2019

In less than a month, Maryland joins Maine in passing historic legislation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s statewide ban on polystyrene foam cups and containers will officially go into law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. In March, Maryland became the first state in the country to pass a foam ban through its state legislature. Following Maine’s lead earlier this month, Maryland is now the second state to have a foam ban on the books.

Polystyrene foam — commonly referred to as Styrofoam — is one of the most common and hazardous forms of single-use plastic. Less than 3 percent of it is recycled, and once in landfills or the natural environment, it persists for hundreds of years.

In a single year, Americans throw out 25 billion polystyrene foam cups, part of the 8 million tons of plastic dumped in waterways every year. A recent study found that of all the polystyrene and other plastics ever made, 79 percent currently exist in landfills or in rivers, lakes and oceans. …

read more and see links at US PIRG. And how about it, Pennsylvania?