Category Archives: Plastic

What is Earth Day, and what is it meant to accomplish?

by Kathleen Rogers, president, Earth Day Network

On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.

In the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly and evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants.

The global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and President Nixon responded quickly. In July of the same year, they created the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many.

One billion people

Earth Day is now a global event each year, and we believe that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.

Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, has chosen as the theme for 2018 to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate primarily single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics. EDN is educating millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that plastic waste is creating serious global problems.

From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival….

read more at Earth Day Network

A Paddleboarder’s Quest for Cleaner Water

by Wendy Backtold, Sierra magazine, 3/5/19 [what one person can do, and inspire others to do!]

Lizzie Carr goes the extra mile to get rid of plastic pollution

In 2013, Lizzie Carr was working at a creative agency in London and living what she calls a fairly normal life. Then she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She had just turned 26. After an emergency thyroidectomy and radiotherapy, Carr went to her father’s house on the Isles of Scilly, off the UK’s southwest coast, to recuperate. There, she tried paddleboarding, hoping to regain her strength. Out on the water, she says, she experienced an unexpected peace of mind. She was hooked.

When she recovered, Carr found herself craving a larger purpose. Back in London, she took to the city’s many waterways to figure things out. As she paddled, she was disturbed by the ubiquitous plastic trash she encountered, and she could see the impact it was having on wildlife. (Once, she saw a bird’s nest made entirely of plastic.) Other people, she decided, needed to be aware of it too.

In May 2016, Carr loaded a borrowed board with camping gear and set off to paddle the length of England (400 miles) by river and canal. For 22 days, she photographed every piece of plastic she saw⎯mostly bottles, bags, and wrappers⎯then geotagged it and charted it on an online map. She picked up what she could.

Carr shared the images on social media, and several news outlets carried the story. She attracted a following of people eager to get involved. That summer, she organized paddleboarding cleanups in areas where she’d found high concentrations of trash. About 250 people participated; since then, about 1,000 more have taken part in her plastic patrols….

keep reading at Sierra magazine

Living plastic-free: One activist fights a rising tide of pollution

By James Rainey, NBC News, Feb. 16, 2019

From her front stoop to coffee shops, dry cleaners and markets, activist Dianna Cohen is fighting to rid her life, and the world, of plastics.

LOS ANGELES — Dianna Cohen is on alert. From the newspaper on her front stoop each morning, to the clothes she will pick up at the dry cleaner, to the lunch she’ll eat, to the shelves at her seemingly eco-friendly health food store — Cohen’s nemesis appears everywhere.

The world seems to be wrapped in plastic — and Cohen is not buying it. She is fighting to lead a life free of plastics, and to get others to do the same.

The Los Angeles native has taken her campaign against plastic waste — an annoyance of her youth and later the medium of her work as a visual artist — and made it her life’s cause.

She co-founded the Plastic Pollution Coalition a decade ago, to bind together environmental groups trying to reduce the amount of plastic that goes into landfills and streets and then into streams, rivers and oceans. Her crusade includes changing consumer behavior — beginning with her own — in an effort to not only reduce waste today, but also to get companies to offer more products in reusable containers in order to slow the waste of the future….

read more at NBC News

Against single-use plastic bags

from Sierra Club., Mass. chapter:

“Regulating the Use of Plastic Checkout Bags:
Background information on laws and bylaws proposing a ban on checkout bags.”

Download pdf here: plastic_bags_massachusetts_2018

Noteworthy quotes:

“…the environmental expense of plastic bags far exceeds the cost retailers are currently paying to provide them….”

“The over 100 billion plastic shopping bags used each year in the United States are made from the estimated equivalent of 439 million gallons of oil….”

West Chester Friends students are behind borough’s ban on plastic bags

by Bill Rettew, Daily Local News, Sep 20, 2018

WEST CHESTER — Borough shoppers can soon say goodbye to single-use plastic bags.

At Tuesday’s work session, council asked its solicitor to draft an ordinance to forbid distribution of single use plastic bags in stores and shops. Borough Manager Mike Perrone told the audience that a ban is likely.

Although they won’t be able to vote for more than six years, Quaker Leadership Team’s sixth-graders — former West Chester Friends School students — were instrumental in successfully lobbying for the ban. The students met eight to 10 times during the summer.

Council President Diane LeBold was pleased with the student input.

“This gives me hope for the future,” LeBold said.

“Borough council’s unanimous vote to create a transition plan for our businesses and draft an ordinance to ban single-use HDPE plastic bags in the borough is yet another demonstration of West Chester’s environmental leadership in our region,” said Mayor Dianne Herrin. “These bags are simply terrible for the environment, they clog our storm drains, and many end up as part of a monstrous plastic stew in our oceans, destroying wildlife and the very ecosystems on which we all depend for life. They are a temporary convenience we can all do without, and there are better alternatives.”…

read more at Daily Local News