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It's a simple idea. One day without plastic. Just a day. Think you can do it? We do.

Here's what's at stake: your health and the future of the ocean.

So, live like you love the ocean. Make June 8th, World Ocean Day or September 19th, International Coastal Cleanup Day YOUR Day Without Plastic.

Or pick your day, tell us how it goes.

And get a pluckfastic.org sticker for your reusable water bottle now!

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

L.A. City Council votes for ban on plastic shopping bags

The council plans to ban plastic carryout bags in the city's stores by 2010, unless the state imposes a 25-cent fee on those who request them.

By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 23, 2008

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to ban plastic carryout bags in the city's supermarkets and stores by July 2010 -- but only if the state fails to impose a 25-cent fee on every shopper who requests them.

Council members said they hope an impending ban would spur consumers to begin carrying canvas or other reusable bags, reducing the amount of plastic that washes into the city's storm drains and the ocean.

"This is a major moment for our city, to bite the bullet and go with something that is more ecologically sensitive than what we've ever done before," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents such coastal neighborhoods as Venice and Playa del Rey.

Tuesday's vote comes as the plastic bag industry, formally known as the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, is fighting efforts to regulate its products. The group filed a lawsuit last week challenging a Los Angeles County plan to reduce plastic bags about 30% by 2010.

Still, a lawyer for the coalition said that as long as the council's decision remains a policy and not a law, he sees no need for a legal fight.

"Why challenge it?" asked coalition attorney Stephen Joseph. "It's not an ordinance."

The council also voted to require city agencies to stop purchasing polystyrene food containers starting next year.

The plastic bag ban was hailed by environmental groups, including Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation. Opponents warned the policy will have a devastating effect on the region's packaging companies.

"When we start banning things and closing factories, where are the blue-collar workers going to go?" asked Anatolio Riegos, a Highland Park resident who works for Pactiv, a packaging company in the city of Industry that has roughly 1,300 workers.

City officials estimate that Los Angeles consumers use 2.3 billion plastic bags each year. An estimated 5% of plastic bags are recycled statewide, according to the city's Bureau of Sanitation.

The ban was proposed by Councilman Ed Reyes, who called plastic bags "the graffiti of the L.A. River," which passes through his district.

Although the plan originally called for the bag ban to go into effect in 2012, council members Janice Hahn and Richard Alarcon persuaded their colleagues to embrace an earlier deadline.

Alarcon said the council would eventually pass a law regulating plastic bags. But for now, the council's vote is designed to persuade state lawmakers to impose a fee on them.

"If they don't do [a fee], then we do a ban," said Alarcon, who represents the northeast San Fernando Valley. "So yes, at some point there would be an ordinance."

david.zahniser@latimes.com

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bottlemania!

Water on the Brain
Author Elizabeth Royte chats about the bottled-water boom and backlash
BY MICHELLE NIJHUIS
18 Jul 2008

Journalist Elizabeth Royte drinks tap water, but she spends a lot of time thinking about the bottled kind. In her new book, Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, Royte investigates the causes and consequences of the bottled-water industry's astounding growth.

With her refillable water bottle in hand, Royte travels to Fryeburg, Maine, where a water-pumping operation for Nestle's Poland Spring label divides the town. In the course of her research, she also tastes fancy bottled waters with a water connoisseur, monitors her eight-year-old daughter's water intake, and conducts an informal poll of friends and acquaintances, asking whether they know where their tap water comes from. "Most people, even those who knew exactly how many miles the arugula on their plate had traveled, had no idea," she writes. Royte's own tap water comes from the famously high-quality New York City system -- a network of reservoirs that, with the blessing of the U.S. EPA, makes up the largest unfiltered water supply in the nation.

Grist recently caught up with Royte to talk about hydration myths, anti-bottle mayors, and water snobbery.

READ MORE

Sunday, July 6, 2008

OpEd: Do we need sea turtles?

OpEd: Do we need sea turtles?
Santa Cruz Sentinel
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Article Launched: 07/06/2008 01:34:54 AM PDT

In 1996, I was on the first team to attach a satellite transmitter to the back of a sea turtle and track her migration across an entire ocean. Her name was Adelita, after the daughter of a local fisherman. Over the next 368 days, she swam some 7,000 miles from Mexico to Japan, the country where she was born. Adelita swam her way into computers and newspapers and, soon, into the minds and hearts of millions who followed her epic journey.

Earlier this month, the Great Turtle Race II expanded on Adelita's journey. Eleven leatherback turtles navigated the high seas. Thousands of turtle fans monitored their progress online. The race winner and first to cross the International Dateline, traveling almost 4,000 miles, was Saphira, our Santa Cruz hometown favorite.

In a recent New York Times blog covering the race, journalist Andy Revkin dared pose the question, "Do we need sea turtles?" The responses have been passionate and thought-provoking, but inconclusive.

For me, Revkin's query misses the point, begging more important and more provocative questions: Do we need all-you-can-eat shrimp dinners and swordfish steaks that kill so much ocean wildlife? Are endangered sea turtles worth saving at the cost of a few luxury items? How much do we really need?

As a scientist, I understand we know little about the ecological roles of sea turtles. The turtle populations we study are a mere tenth of their former abundance. Stories

from before the age of synthetic nets and outboard motors read like science fiction: clippers cutting through seas full of floating sea turtles, fish being raked into boats and psychedelic reefs exploding with life.

In ways we will never fully appreciate, each lost species weakens us all, but the loss of sea turtles goes far deeper than the loss of a single thread in the fabric of life.
For the Seri Indians of Mexico's Sonoran coast, sea turtles are life itself. To them, leatherback turtles are ancestors. They are at the heart of their songs, stories, dances, ceremonies and, lately, ocean conservation efforts. An ocean away, the Kei Islanders believe that their ancestors gave them the leatherback as a source of food to be hunted by hand from open boats. Always to be shared, but never sold. In Costa Rica, where leatherback turtle numbers have crashed hard, former egg poachers now protect turtles and lead ecotours -- a transformation bolstered in turtle hotspots around the world by Ocean Conservancy's SEE Turtles project.

On a recent flight, soaring high above the ocean, my row-mates described personal connections to sea turtles. "They changed our lives," they said. "Swimming with them, seeing them, on their terms, was the best thing we've ever done."

Thinking of them and pondering the question, "Do we need sea turtles?" I can only imagine the look on the faces of the Seri and the Kei Islanders and the millions of kids tracking turtles online, of a Mexican girl named Adelita, those Costa Rican turtle guides and a few strangers I met on a plane. Each would smile gently, shake their heads and laugh at the very question.

If you would like to ensure a world with sea turtles, visit oceanconservancy.org or seeturtles.org to plan a turtle-friendly vacation to see them in the wild, or join the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup to gather trash that threatens turtles, and, while you are at it, join Ocean Conservancy and become an outspoken advocate for sea turtle protections.



Wallace J. Nichols is senior research scientist at Ocean Conservancy and founder of the SEE Turtles conservation tourism project SEETurtles.org. Visit OceanConservancy.org for more information.