Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 19th - Clean Seas Coalition Lobby Day

The Cleans Seas Coalition is, "a growing coalition of environmentalists, scientists, California lawmakers, students, and community leaders pushing California to strengthen laws reducing trash in California's seas and on beaches. The Clean Seas Coalition was formed to make the Ocean Protection Council's pollution reduction commendations a reality."

Thank you to Surfrider WLAM Chapter for helping me get there! I was proud to represent Surfrider. Denise Erkeneff from the South Orange County Chapter of Surfrider was there too.

This past Wednesday, the Clean Seas Coalition, Heal the Bay, and Seventh Generation Advisors gathered a group of people together in Sacramento to lobby for the bill AB1998.

Assembly Bill 1998 is written by Santa Monica Assemblywoman Julia Brownley and co-sponsored by Heal the Bay.

It asks that single-use plastic bags be banned at large retail pharmacies, and grocery chains by 2012 and by convenience stores by 2013.

If you forget a reusable bag you can buy a paper bag made from 40% post-consumer recycled material for as little as 5 cents.

Reusable bags will be available to purchase at the check out as well. These bags will go through a certification process overseen by Cal Recycle that will ensure that these bags are made from non-toxic materials, printed with non-toxic paints, and can be used at least 100 times!

Sound good? We think so. Below are some F.A.Q.s about plastic bags and AB1998 that you may be wondering about from, "Frequently Asked Questions on AB 1998" written by Heal the Bay.

single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

"Why not just increase recycling of plastic bags?

We cannot recycle our way out of this problem. Less than 5% of plastic bags are currently being recycled in CA today."

We use 6 billion plastic bags annually in Los Angeles County alone, even with the best recycling rate, which is a 2/3 rate, we are still left with 2 billion plastic bags entering our storm drains, and eventually making its way into the Pacific.
single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA


single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

We're not asking CA to go out on a limb. "China, Mexico City and at least 40 other countries and municipalities around the world have banned plastic bags (representing at least 25% of the world's population.)"

single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

"Will all plastic bags be banned under AB1998?

No. Bags used to carry produce, bulk items, raw meat, or other items to the checkout would still be available."
single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

"Single-use bags wreak havoc in our aquatic environment. Just a few weeks ago, a dead gray whale washed ashore in Seattle with 20 single-use plastic bags in its stomach."

My group for the day in Kevin De Leon's office, Assemblymember, Forty-Fifth District and co-author of AB1998.

From left to right: Kirstin James Water Quality Director from Heal the Bay, Keely Gerhold Staff Intern from Clean Water Action in San Fransisco, Angelica Salceda Legislative Aide to Kevin De Leon, me, and Nick Kline Canvasser from Clean Water Action.
Crystal Quezada Legislative Aide for Assemblymember Steven Bradford, Keely Gerhold from Clean Water Action, Kirstin James from Heal the Bay, and Nick Kline from Clean Water Action.
Ocean's Day April 2010 with Assemblymember Mike Feuer and Team Marine from Santa Monica High School.

We were in Sacramento for Team Marine's spring break last month to accept the Ocean Hero Award from the Clean Seas Coalition.

On Wed. our group dropped into Assemblymember Feuer's office to thank him for his continued support of AB1998. He was unfortunately busy, but I wanted to include this picture as a thank you for his support.
So why did we all go? Obviously to support AB1998, but also:

"That even the smallest actions count. Not only does every tiny action matter, but in the long run, it is the only thing that matters." - Roz Savage, British ocean rower, UN Climate Hero, Ambassador for, and inspirational woman.

Roz is rowing across the third leg of her Pacific Ocean crossing. If she can do that, we can go to Sacramento.