Much time has passed since the last report, but I’ve also got a fair amount done, including starting two new projects. Because a significant portion of my efforts has consisted of signing petitions and sending letters, I’m going to keep those parts of the update succinct and to the point. They’ll also be listed last, as they can get a bit repetitive.
- Began planning fight for “bottle bill” in Michigan. Behold, my newest and most ambitious project yet. Though it warrants multiple posts on this blog, I’ll touch briefly on it here. In Michigan, there’s a law that says a ten cent deposit must be collected for every soda & beer bottle/can, which can be reclaimed by returning said bottles/cans for recycling. This gives consumers an incentive to either cut down on their consumption of disposable drinks or a reason to recycle those containers. Either way, the environment benefits. The flaw in this bill is that it doesn’t apply to sports drinks, iced teas, and worst of all, bottled water. I know of families who only drink bottled water, which equates to hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic water bottles used per year by each family alone. And sad to say, most of those bottles go unrecycled. So my latest project is to campaign for an expanded bottle bill in Michigan, one that requires a deposit on disposable water bottles. A handful of states already enforce such a law and they’ve seen remarkable drops in the amount of plastic wasted. I’m still in the research and planning phase of the campaign, but make no mistake, this improved bottle bill will be passed.
- Picked up 60 cigarette butts, among other litter. Anyone who says they want to serve the environment but don’t know where to start is lying. The simplest and easiest thing a person can do is to go outside and pick up litter. I visited one of my local parks and spent about 45 minutes collecting cigarette butts (which are notoriously bad for ecosystems) and other trash that had been left lying around. I used old plastic grocery bags that my family had accumulated and filled about two of them with litter. It won’t singlehandedly save the planet, but every piece of trash that gets taken out of the woods is a tiny step forward.
- Joined the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club in its quest for clean energy. I reached out to one of the coordinators for MI’s Sierra Club and asked how I could be of assistance to them and he gave me ways that I could help out. The two main ones were to call local legislators and urge them to vote on particular bills that pertain to clean energy, and to write letters to local papers about the necessity for developing clean energy systems. I’ve been drawing up talking points for the past few days, so tomorrow I plan on making some calls and drafting those letters.
- Listened to Love Song to the Earth 12 times. You know the deal. If you don’t, read this.
- Signed a petition to increase safety measures and education opportunities at the Hanauma Bay Nature preserve and coral reef.
- Signed a petition to Congress asking them to ban neonicotinoids in order to save bees.
- Wrote a letter to select Senators asking them to vote NO on a bill that would allow Monsanto to hide GMO information on labels.
- Signed a petition to various decision-makers to ban deforestation in the United States (extremely vague, I know, but the idea is good).
- Signed a petition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service about continuing to support the red wolf species (which actually worked!)
- Signed a petition to the Governor of California (Gov. Jerry Brown) requesting that he outlaw the sale of wastewater from fracking & oil drilling for irrigation. Kind of messed up that that’s allowed.
- Sent a letter to the USDA asking them to improve animal welfare standards on farms. Love me some bacon, but only if it has a big enough cage.
- Sent a letter to the US Forest Service telling them that I oppose any mining on the Apache land of Oak Flat. So many reasons for this, one of the main ones being that we’ve mistreated Native Americans so much in the past and it’s high time we start respecting them.
- Sent a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers, asking them to revoke or change Nationwide Permit 12, which allows them to fast-track oil and gas pipeline reviews without giving them proper environmental evaluation.
- Sent a letter to President Obama asking him to expand the borders of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Beyond that, I actually emailed the petition/letter to three friends and had them sign it as well.
- Sent a letter to my senator asking them to support Senator Merkley’s bill for increasing pollinator habitat, among other pro-bee stipulations.
- Signed a petition to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee telling them to declare the Sundarbans a World Heritage Site in Danger, in order to prevent the building of a coal plant in the forest.
- Signed a petition to divest the Vatican from fossil fuel investments. Kind of surprised that this hasn’t already happened, considering Pope Francis’ environmental bent and the publication of Laudato Si’.
- Signed a petition to the EPA asking them to create stronger rules governing the reduction of haze & the improvement of air quality, specifically in our National Parks.
- Sent a letter to the EPA asking them to strengthen their enforcement of water permits for dirty power plants.
- Signed a petition to the EPA asking them to ban neonicotinoids in order to save the bees. Seriously, save the bees already.
- Sent a letter to President Obama, the Secretary of the Interior, the Bureau of Ocean Energy, and the Bureau of Land Management asking them all to stop leasing out public lands and waters to fossil fuel companies for FF extraction.
- Signed a petition to the Democratic party asking them to make climate change a priority on their platforms for the upcoming election cycle. The more they openly commit to green actions, the more likely they are to follow through. We hope.
- Same thing as above (petitioning the Democratic party for green platform planks), but through Friends of the Earth instead of 350.org
- Sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management asking them to stop leasing land in northeastern Utah to fossil fuel companies, in hopes of protecting habitat and natural beauty.
Like I said, I’ve been fairly busy. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that signing all these petitions will yield any change, but we’ve got to start somewhere, right? And it always warms my heart to see successes come out of these petitions and letters, as it did with the red wolves in Carolina. Thankfully I have the day off from my wage job tomorrow, so I should be able to crank out some more posts and get some solid environmental work done.