Plastic Bags as described by Jean-Michel Cousteau

This article written by Jean-Michel Cousteau is one with which Be Plastic Bag Free totally concurs:

They invade our homes, lurk in our back yards, wander our streets, swim in our oceans, float down our rivers and find shelter in our bushes and trees. They are found in the most populated areas and the most remote places on earth. They need no resources to persist and may outlive the human race. We cannot ignore them, we cannot escape them and we cannot destroy them.

The overwhelming prevalence of plastic bags on earth has created a problem so extensive that many countries around the world are taking action to prevent plastic bag distribution. As early as 1988 environmentally minded people realized the true costs of single-use plastic bags far outweighed the benefits. By 1998, thirty Alaskan villages banned the plastic bag. Now in 2011, multiple countries have banned or taxed the bag. Multiple cities including cities in the US have banned the bag.

There is clear eveidence that bans and taxes do reduce the amount of single use plastic bags in the environment.

Although battles are boing won at the local level, the opposition is not going down without a fight. Most cities have met with resistance from the American Chemical Council (ACC), the main proponent for single use plastic bags. A sub-section of the ACC, the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, and the Coalition to Support Plastic Bag Recycling have both filed and won lawsuits against the cities, claiming that the bans were passed without sufficient Environmental Impact Reports. While plastic bags bans enacted by Oakland and Manhattan Beach, CA are currently ineffective due to this complication, Fairfax avoided being sued by passing a voter initiative to ban plastic bags.

Small-scale successes have given us hope and the knowledge essential for large-scale change. Although California’s previous campaigns for a statewide ban have failed, defenders of the environment are not giving up. The movement away from single-use plastics and towards sustainable practices is continually gaining speed.

Education programs and recycling programs are steps in the right direction, but statistics have shown they are not enough to change shopper’s behavior. Experience is telling us that in order to get results, the plastic bag has to be a valuable commodity or get rid of it.

At Ocean Futures Society we support banning single-use plastic bags because we stand behind the principle, “There is no waste in nature”. This means that in nature everything is recycled in one way or another. Even the harmful chemical defenses of plants and animals are naturally broken down into harmless raw materials that become available for reuse. We strongly believe it is crucial to stop producing disposable plastic bags that create waste that neither humans or nature can adequately dispose. There are more environmentally friendly materials that can be used to carry our groceries and belongings. We are not against the use of durable plastic for long-lasting products, it just does not make sense to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes and then throw it away, liberating it to linger on our planet for thousands of years. We should be smarter than that. But it takes willingness to create change. We need to rise to the challenge and support those companies and cities that are moving in the right direction; the direction we need to follow so we can all enjoy a sustainable future.

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A Savvy Seagull Saves Marine Life

Sullie Saves The Seas
When Sullie the Seagull, Goffinet McLaren`s new super-hero, sees that plastic pollution is destroying his precious Turtle Beach, he calls his friends to action.

Sullie and his Secret Society of birds create a fun filled, exciting, adventure that takes aim at specific thoughtless humans who are causing environmental damage to the beach and to Sullie`s ocean pals.

Chapter by chapter, Sullie`s clever schemes deliver a delightful tale that you will enjoy sharing with your children and friends. McLaren`s story targets 8 – 12 year olds, but kids of all ages will laugh with, learn from, and love a savvy seagull`s schemes to save his ocean.

Sullie makes excellent points throughout the book about how humans are the scoundrels that cause marine life to die. With our oceans so polluted from mankind’s waste, Goffinet points out that “it is a holocaust of ocean life”.

UNEP, the environmental arm of the United Nations, has pointed out that there is now 46,000 plastic particles for every square kilometer of the ocean.(1) The U.N.’s Plastic Ocean Report states: At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish.(2)

Where does that marine debris come from? The Report further states that around 80% of marine debris is from land-based sources. In other words, we humans litter and then that litter gets into our rivers which flow into the oceans.

Last year, the European Commission stated that there are now some 250 billion plastic particles with a combined weight of 500 tonnes floating in the Mediterranean Sea alone.(3)

I think “Sullie Saves the Seas” is very timely and Sullie points out what humans can do to stop the ocean pollution. This is an excellent book to use in the education of our children about marine debris and teach the youngsters how to be strong environmentalist. And I agree wholeheartedly with what Sullie said: “I want all you birds to take a pledge of allegiance to the conservation of the ocean and to everything that lives in it.”

Get a signed copy of the book, “Sullie Saves The Seas”, signed by the author, Goffinet McLaren, by sending an email to: sullietheseagull@gmail.com.  The cost is only $10.

References:
(1)  UNEP-IUCN Report, 2006
(2) UNEP Plastic Ocean Report
(3) European Commission, 2011

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ReuseThisBag.com Unveils Awesome Info Graphic: The Truth About Plastic

++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
Truth About Plastic
Source:Reusable Bags

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Hormone Disruptor: BPA

Scientific America recently published the following information about BPA:
“In recent years dozens of scientists around the globe have linked BPA to myriad health effects in rodents, mammary and prostate cancer, genital defects in males, early onset of puberty in females, obesity, and even behavior problems such as ADHD. Also reduced sperm count and sexual function in human males.
The weight of evidence keeps growing. A study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual meeting linked BPA exposure among pregnant mothers to heightened risk of childhood asthma in babies.

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The iMatter March

Hello!

Please check out the next generation’s efforts to help the planet and themselves from this polluting era of corporations. You will be really impressed. Visit the kids at: imattermarch

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Toxic Chemicals in Babies by the Environmental Working Group

December, 2009

Laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group have, for the first time, detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen, in umbiblical cord blood of American infants.

Nine of 10 randomly selected samples of cord blood tested positive for BPA, an industrial petrochemical produced by the millions of tons annually to make polycarbonate plastics. BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral problems, endocrine system disruption, diabetes, asthma and obesity.

In all, the tests found as many as 232 chemicals in the 10 newborns. While the sample is too small to project national trends, the cord blood supply study, commissioned by EWG has produced hard new evidence that American children are being exposed, beginning in the womb, to complex mixtures of dangerous substances that may have lifelong consequences.

Scientists and health experts are pressing for stronger measures to protect pregnant women and infants from BPA and other environmental pollutants that disrupt the endocrine system. In June 2009, the Endocrine Society, comprised of 14,000 hormone researchers and medical specialists in more than 100 countries, warned that “even infinitesimally low levels of exposure to hormone disruptors may cause endocrine or reproductive abnormalities.

And in November 2009, the American Medical Association approved a resolution that called on the federal government to minimize the public’s exposure to BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The measure was advanced by the Endocrine Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the  American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Environmental Working Group believes that any chemical found in cord blood should be given highest priority for tough regulatory action to protect public health.

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What is inconvenience? Goffinet McLaren

On Saturday April 30, I had my portable ‘Be Plastic Bag Free’ display at a booth on a belated Earth Day event in North Charleston. The goal was to collect signatures from citizens who agreed with the notion of banning plastic shopping bags. Overall, the response was terrific with many comments from people saying they hated plastic bags. At one point, there was even a line of people waiting to sign the petition. Out of all the visitors with whom I spoke, I received only two negative responses. One from a gentleman who worked for a chemical company but very politely declined to sign and the other from a lady who said that plastic bags were too convenient to give up! I pointed out all the negatives about plastic bags, not the least of which is the danger to birds and animals. The lady looked at me with distain and reiterated that carrying her own shopping bag was just too much of an inconvenience.

After the event, as I drove back home along Hwy 17, I pondered the woman’s attitude to inconvenience. What is inconvenience? It seems to me that real inconvenience is being dragged from the comfort of your home and family, dressed out in a hot uniform with a 400 pound back pack to spend months  in 120 degrees of hot humid desert in order to protect your country. Carrying your own shopping bag in order to make a contribution to protect the planet is not my idea of inconvenience.   Goffinet McLaren

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The following four letters were submitted by fifth-grade students in Teresa Dionisio’s class at Waccamaw Elementary.

Dear Editor,

We are concerned about sea turtles. These magnificent creatures need to be protected. They could be the next animal at the top of the endangered species list if we don’t act now.

There are numerous reasons why these breathtaking animals are dying. The oil spill in the Gulf has affected sea turtles in large numbers. It is polluting their waters and shortening thier food supply. Locally, we also have a problem with trash pollution. Recreational boaters dump their trash into the ocean and don’t think it’s going to affect anything. If you see someone dumping their trash, you should report them.

How can we help sea turtles? Just like there are so many problems there are a lot of solutions. One of the ways we can help save the sea turtles is by recycling. Local beaches set up recycling bins all along the beaches, but that is not enough. We all need to volunteer as beach cleanup crews to save these fantastic anamals! If we all pitch in we could save all of the sea turtles!

Another way would be to stay out of the sand dunes along the beach. Climbing on the sand dunes may also destroy sea turtles’ habitat. We need to protect their habitat in order to protect them.

We strongly think that sea turtles should be protected. After reading this letter we hope you agree too. Save sea turtles’ lives. This problem needs to be dealt with before it is too late.

Submitted by Alexandra Riotto, Olivia Howell, and Austin Cartrette

Dear Editor,

Have you ever thought about the horrific treatment that poor, innocent, everyday animals receive, even though they didn’t do anything terrible to deserve it? Would you let that continue to happen? These animals are suffering and dying from being abandoned, abused and starved. Just look around. It’s everywhere. You may not know how it feels to be treated this way but the animals do.

We have seen animal abuse for weeks and we have sobbed seeing the horrific scenes. We believe that animal cruelty laws should be harsher. We have interviewed a police officer and veterinarians, all of which agree animals shouldn’t suffer any longer. Please help spread the word about animal abuse and neglect.

Submitted by Madison Atwater, Finley maclver and Britton Swontek

Dear Editor,

We need a recycling law and should make it illegal not to recycle. We want to make it a law because industries are dumping things in swimming areas like oceans, lakes and streams. Earth’s balance on health has become an issue because states and counties don’t have recycling as a law. Pollution has been harming the earth for centuries.

Recycling has become a big concern for our society and environment. The earth’s natural resources are being consumed because of pollution and if we don’t stop polluting, the earth will pay the consequences. Society should take part in being green and saving the planet. If we do recycle, it helps the earth tremendously. If we don’t, then it harms the earth tremendously.

If we can recycle every month in schools, then we should be be able to recycle at home. If everyone contributed to recycling, then it would help our society very much.

When we recycle, we save energy to manufacture new products than to just create a new product all together.

Submitted by Sam Towe, Nick Farro and Juventino Arias

Dear Editor,

We need to stop the abuse of animals in Horry County. Poor animals that are never loved or cared for are put on the side of the street and left to die.

The people who think that killing an animal is fun, or that throwing a dag out of a speeding truck window is easier than just taking it to the pound where they could at least have a chance in a caring home are cold and heartless. We have witnessed people beating and starving animals, along with them being in unsafe and inhumane environments.

We are deeply concerned for these helpless animals. People need to step up and stop animal abuse. Police enforcement needs to step up and take a stand to stop the cruelty of animals. We understand that we cannot stop abuse in the whole world but if we work together, we can stop the abuse in Horry County.

Submitted by Dallen Johnson, Jameson Copeland and Sallie McVicker

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