Three months ago two large grocery stores in Australia banned plastic bags. It has lead to an eighty percent reduction in plastic bag use in Australia. Read about it here.
In England retailers are reporting a 90% drop in plastic bag use after a bag fee was introduced in 2015.
Businesses can take leadership and help make enormous changes to help our Earth. Call on Target to help. Here is a petition you can sign to get Target to ban plastic bags. Petition to Target
We can all make a difference also! First you can always bring your reusable/washable bags with you shopping. Make bringing bags a habit. Next, lets get Target to take leadership and ban plastic bags in their stores. Sign the petition, but also ask them to ban plastic bags when you visit their stores. Petition to Target
July, Plastic Free July, is almost over, but it’s not too late to set goals to reduce your plastic use. Start now!
For many of us the past few days have been sad and disappointing. We so want decision makers that we can trust, and who see a vision of justice and respect for all. There is much work to do so we have to jump out of our sadness and work for a better world. Our world still depends on how we each live our life everyday.
The next month is crucial to talk to those running for elected office. Candidates will be everywhere, at your door, at community events and hopefully having debates. Tell them what you expect and what is important so get your one minute speech ready. Take action on the issues that matter to you.
Candidates for office need to hear us say how important clean water and clean air are to us. They need to hear us say that we need plastic bag and Styrofoam bans. They need to hear us say we need easier recycling and organic compost. They need to hear us say it needs to be easier for everyone to vote. They need to hear us say there are too many guns on the street, and of course women’s health care and women’s right to choose. What is important to you? What is your one minute speech? The quality of our world still depends on how we each live our lives. Get out there make things happen: Vote and get others to vote, be healthy and stop using chemicals, pick up trash, and everyday work for zero waste. Our world depends on how we each live our life and there are many people out there doing magnificent things.
“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, …courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. To live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” –Howard Zinn
This is my occasional series of good news stories. It’s a look into what the future will be. These stories deal with some of my favorite topics: Clean water, renewable energy, banning plastic bags, and opportunities for girls.
First. whales are coming into New York City for dinner! After working hard to get the Hudson River clean, there is good news. Whales have returned to the New York Harbor for the first time in a century. Read about it from NPR
Second, Even though the United States has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, many U.S. Mayors Endorse 100% Renewable Energy Goals, Read it here.
Third, Electric cars: Volvo Cars announced all of its new models will be electric or hybrid by 2019. France intends to end sales of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. Norway and India will go to all electric cars in the next decade. General Motors is rolling out the Bolt, and Tesla is building a more affordable electric car. Hopefully, charging stations will catch up to the demand! Read more at electric.
Fourth, the historical land of windmills is leading the charge in wind energy development. As of January 2017, Holland, the land of windmills, has powered all public transport trains by wind power. Read about it at Future.
Fifth, The island country of Australia knows the damage plastic is doing to our oceans. The two biggest supermarket giants, Woolworth and Coles, both announced plans to phase out single-use plastic bags over the next twelve months.
Woolworths stated that from July 1 next year, its customers will need to bring their own bags when they go shopping, or purchase re-usable ones in-store. Shoppers in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia will be affected by the ban.
South Australian, Northern Territory and Tasmanian governments have already implemented state-wide plastic bag bans, and a ban in Queensland will come into effect next year. Read at plastic bags
Finally, a very happy story, the girls robotics team from Afghanistan was allowed to come into the United States to compete in robotics. Read at Afghan girls.
This is a message to Minnesota Governor Dayton asking him to veto the legislation that takes away Minneapolis’s plastic bag ban.
Below is my letter to the Minneapolis http://www.startribune.com/ It was published a few months ago. It is ridiculous the Minnesota legislature is trying to take away Minneapolis’ right to ban plastic bags. Why should the plastic industry have the right to say which rules the city of Minneapolis should enact???
To the editor,
Today as I drove north out of Minneapolis on 35W, I was sad to see waste plastic bags hanging from fences and decorating plants and trees. I thought of the op-ed by the manufacturer of plastic bags telling us how wonderful his bags were. (Facts Don’t Support Columns Call for Ban on Plastic Retail Bags)
We all observe many bags with purchases leaving our stores, but only .06 percent are recycled. Plastic poses a serious threat to our wildlife that eat and become tangled in this trash. Plastic takes many years to decompose and releases toxins into our soil and water during this long process.
The Minnesota Legislature is trying to ban Minneapolis’s hope to reduce plastic bag use which goes into effect later this year. Governor Dayton should veto this silly legislation, and all Minnesotans should take personal responsibility to recycle clean plastic bags at grocery stores, and reduce their use of this harmful litter.
Call #Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (651-201-3400) and tell him cities should have the right to ban plastic bags. VETO SF 1456!
This shouldn’t surprise me, but I am upset to read about the plastic trash in the Arctic Ocean. Plastic trash is now so ubiquitous that researchers have found hundreds of tons of it floating in the Arctic Ocean. Read the whole story here.
Why shouldn’t I be surprised by this? The “local control” advocates, in the Minnesota legislature are trying to derail Minneapolis’ plastic bag ban from happening later this year. I have just returned from a road trip to Washington, D.C. and I found only a few places to recycle along the way, most on college campuses. I could go on and on about what I see throughout the world in regards to plastic trash. A sad story about a whale collecting all this plastic . Our earth has a massive problem!
Where are the companies that manufacture and make a profit on this plastic and Styrofoam when it comes to clean-up?
The oceans belong to all of us. No one has the right to pollute and trash the ocean or the rivers or lakes.
What can you do? Have plastic-free shopping trips by bringing your own containers, and never purchase products on Styrofoam trays. 2. Encourage your community to put up and maintain recycling containers. 3. Pick up trash on your walks. 4. Recycle everything you can. 5. Always bring your reusable bags shopping.
Last, a remote Pacific island has become a reservoir for the waste of the world as it piles onto this pristine island.
To make the world a better and safer place we must generate positive energy. This is another round of amazing news stories that tell us in what direction the future is moving. I congratulate these countries and communities for their sustainable goals and effort. This is my occasional series on great news stories. Renewable energy, managing trash and gender equality are some of the positive energy stories of the past week!
1. In September Kenya is going to ban plastic bags. Read about Kenya here.
2. Georgetown, Texas, a conservative town in oil country is fueled by wind. Wind power saves them money over oil energy. Read about it at Georgetown
3 Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality, the Nordic nation’s government said on International Women’s Day. Read about it at Iceland
4. The United States installed a record-smashing 14,762 Megawatts (MW) of solar power in 2016 — a 97 percent jump over 2015, according to data just released. For the first time ever, solar was the number one source of new generating capacity, beating out wind and gas. Read about it at solar power.
5. A water wheel is cleaning up Baltimore’s harbor picking up plastic and other trash. Read at Baltimore
6. Sweden is on target to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2040. An amazing goal for this dark northern country. Read about at Sweden.
What sustainable exciting things are happening in your community?
Today I’m starting an occasional series on good-news events. Three stories have made me happy this past week, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. *First, this is amazing. New Delhi, India, banned plastic bags and single use plastic. It will make a difference for our oceans, and Delhi’s air quality. A plastic ban will not be easy to implement, and I wish them luck. Read about it from Independent News, and from Ecowatch. ** Second, Solar energy added 73,615 new jobs to the U.S. economy over the past year while wind added a further 24,650. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. Read about it from Forbes
*** Third, PBS did a marvelous story of an American woman making great efforts to educate girls in Liberia. Watch on PBS
I do the majority of my grocery shopping at food coops, but when I visit regular grocery stores I am appalled by the number of plastic bags leaving with purchases. I know most them aren’t recycled. My city will put fees on some plastic bags in 2017, and I can’t wait!! It will be a fabulous education tool for many people!!
Below is from Earth911.com, and contains some information I didn’t know, how the below businesses have reduced plastic bags. Please shop retailers that protect our earth. I haven’t shopped at all these retailers so please let me know if this information is accurate???
From Earth911.com: “Did you know that studies have shown that about 12 million metric tons of plastic debris, including plastic bags, has accumulated in our oceans around the world? Due to this pollution, more than 100,000 marine animals die each year due to plastic entanglement! That is a startling number – and one that doesn’t show any signs of slowing its growth.” Read the entire article here.
These are the retailers to patronize!
COSCO, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
Local Coops Earth 911 gives a shout out to New Pioneer in Iowa City. I shopped there while traveling this summer and recommend shopping there if you are in Iowa City or traveling along Interstate 80 through Iowa.
I was traveling through Eastern Europe when I read on Ecowatch.com that Macedonia had banned plastic bags. Macedonia was our next stop and I couldn’t wait to see if it made a litter difference.
As we took the bus into Skopje, Macedonia we saw people carrying purchases in plastic. We were disappointed. I interviewed 3 people that could speak English. They claim an effort had been made to ban plastic bags, but “It didn’t work !’ They say the bags they now use are eco friendly. They couldn’t explain what that meant. No one was paying a fee for the plastic bags, and I never saw a paper bag. Macedonia is a poor country with high unemployment and a terrible litter problem. Before a bag ban could work an enormous amount of public education would be needed. I don’t think the economics of store owners nor the public is ready for such a big project to be successful .
Thousands of plastic bottles were floating down the Vardar River to the Aegean Sea.
Could this be an eco bag ?
As I have said before on these pages, the manufacturers of plastic need to be responsible for the recycling and clean up of their products. Many countries don’t have the resources to do what is right for our earth, even though it should be a top priority.
Bottled in Macedonia I hope environmental groups will take Macedonia off their bag ban list. Being accurate is so important.