May 6th

May 7th

May 8th

A note on Cliff and Luna bars. They do not appear to be compostable or recyclable. Cliff bar has a thing on their website about becoming 10% smaller.

May 9th

may 9may 9(2)

may 9(2)

May 10th

May 11th

May 11

May 12th

naan wrapper. I susually make my own bread, and it’s way better, but this week has been too busy. Two of the 4 things here cannot be recycled.

May 12

May 13th

Candy. I am a candy person. Aside from the issue of palm oil usually purchased in non-sustainable ways it has plastic film. Not recyclable. Also, diet coke. That is gross and uses up a lot of water. And, it’s gross. But at least I can recycle it. [better to not use at all they say, but…] In my trips to buy said candy and pop I took my zero waste bag! The bodega guys know I bring it every time and know to not give me a bag. Also, every now and again another customer asks about it. I suppose that’s good, right? Candy diplomacy?

I also wrote to REI and encouraged them to offer more varieties of non-plastic straw options. I hope they do it. If they do, we’ll all need to go get one.

May 5 – Plastic Tracking Month

After two plastic free days it ended. First, I was out with my Mom. We went to a winery and I got very hungry. There were no sans-plastic options. In New York City, at least the fork would be recyclable (I believe), but I’m not sure about Spokane. So I popped them both in a bin dubiously just titled recycling with no distinction and we’ll see… May 5

Later in the evening I was running a race on Sunday morning and I needed some headphones. There were no non-plastic options. I carried this around for a day before finding a plastic recycling bin. But, eventually that’s where it went.

May 5(2)

When buying things it’s really hard sometimes to avoid plastic. One counter argument made by plastic makers is that it is actually more eco-friendly than say glass that doesn’t have a recycling market, and some other options. The issues arise when the plastic is discarded haphazardly. A question for the podcast episode.

May the Plastic Tracking Month (3rd and 4th)

Ok, so I forgot May 1, and May 2. I mean I remembered; after I threw plastic away. However, I remembered May 3. I was on vacation visiting family so as it turned out May 3rd, and 4th were no plastic days. I needed to turn down plastic bags on about 5 different occasions. Mostly I carried my items. In one case, I had a backpack with me, and in one case I took a paper bag. There is a debate about whether plastic or paper bags are actually better for the environment. Question for the July podcast.

May – Plastics “free” month

Those of you who know me know that I have a straw obsession. Or rather an obsession with making them obsolete. While making up a small amount of our overall plastic waste in the world it is also absolutely unnecessary. I constantly watch people get a drink at a bar, take the straws out, and proceed to drink. That straw will almost without fail end up in the garbage. In fact, 500,000 straws are discarded every day in the US alone. Watch the turtle video once, and you’ll agree with me.

So, a few months ago I finally got in the habit of remembering to ask for no straw. I’ve become aware of the bars that only give them on request, or not at all. Partially because of my increased awareness, and partially because research for a paper helped me learn even more I determined to ‘track my plastic’ for the month of May. In June I’m going to see how little waste  overall I can create. All of this will culminate in two podcast episodes I’ll record in July.

First, during the research for a paper I learned that New York City is doing all kinds of things to achieve a zero residential waste goal by 2030. zero waste pledge.jpgIn short, they won’t make it. But, part of the journey is the goal, right? Online you can sign a pledge to reduce waste and they send you a free bag. My inner consumer took over, I signed the pledge, and here it is! As an aside the bag came in a padded envelope. Not recyclable…. Here is a link to get one too.

The city’s website says:

About a third of New Yorkers’ waste can be recycled through the City’s curbside recycling program; another third can be recovered through the City’s organics programs; and another 10% (textiles, electronic waste, harmful household products, and plastic bags) can be diverted through donations and take-back programs!

Instead of sending trash to a far-away landfill or incinerator, pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle!

News headlines from this week

Rising conservative voices call for climate change action

Today, a coalition of grassroots Indigenous groups from across Turtle Island joins the 121 First Nations and Tribes united by the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, to launch a new, integrated divestment campaign against the banks funding Dakota Access and the four tar sands crude oil pipelines currently proposed out of Canada.

Dakota Access Pipeline has a spill before it is fully operational.

Ohio EPA Fines Energy Transfer Partners over 18 Pipeline Spills

Thousands of gallons of oil dumped into East River from Con Ed transformer malfunction

In Ohio a natural gas pipeline has been put on hold after 18 leaks and a massive spill of drilling fluids into a pristine wetland convinced state and federal regulators to largely shut down the company’s construction of the project.

Coral Reefs Generate Half of Earth’s Oxygen … and They Could All Die Off by 2050

USGS has just confirmed that three million Americans are at risk from human-induced earthquakes caused by wastewater disposal, a process in fracking, in 2017.


Nike, Starbucks, and Gap Urge Trump to Stay in the Paris Climate Deal

More than 360 businesses and investors called on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and world leaders on Wednesday to continue to support agreed curbs on global warming and to speed up efforts to move to a low-carbon economy.

In a statement addressed to Trump, U.S. President Barack Obama, members of the U.S. Congress and global leaders, the group, called 360+, reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climatechange.

The 360+ group includes companies such as DuPont dd , Gap gps , General Mills gis , Hewlett Packard hpq , Hilton hlt , Kellogg k , Levi Strauss & Co., L’Oreal USA, Nike nke , Mars Incorporated mars , Schneider Electric sbgsy , Starbucks and Unilever ul .

The Paris Agreement, aiming to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions this century, came into force on Nov. 4 and now has backing from 110 nations including the United States.

The Nov. 7-18 meeting in Marrakesh is where U.N. officials and government representatives are trying to work out the details of the pact. However, Trump‘s victory in the U.S. election last week has overshadowed the event.

Trump has threatened to tear up the U.S. commitment to the accord.

The 360+ group called on U.S. leaders to continue to participate in the Paris Agreement, support the continuation of U.S. commitments on climate change and continue to invest in low-carbon solutions at home and abroad.

“Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk. But the right action now will create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness,” the group said, in the statement presented at U.N. climatetalks being held this week in Marrakesh, Morocco.

“Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement will enable and encourage businesses and investors to turn the billions of dollars in existing low-carbon investments into the trillions of dollars the world needs to bring clean energy prosperity to all,” the group added.

Four ways to adapt to climate change

In February 2016, Cyclone Winston, the second strongest storm ever recorded on land, severely affected Fiji’s population and infrastructure. The EU bank is now helping rebuild a more reliable power supply system on Viti Levu, the largest island of the Fijian archipelago. Check out how this and three other EIB projects are making a difference in the Pacific and the Caribbean. “Sometimes it’s really a question of continuing the life of people as they know it,” says in this video Angela Marcarino Paris, Asian and Pacific Operations, EIB.


News Roundup – November 23, 2016

Here is a round up of interesting news stories.

Climate Change:

Rockefellers give Exxon Mobil lashing over the environment. The Rockefeller Brothers Foundation recently divested from Exxon Mobil. They have now written an editorial, which can be found here, that blasts Exxon Mobil for covering up research that showed as early as the early 1970s that climate change was a threat to the planet.

Coastal Floods Beginning


The largest solar panel project to date set to begin in South Carolina. Illustrating that local solutions are possible to address climate change.

Sweden has scraped a solar energy tax in an effort to achieve their goal of running entirely on renewable energy by 2040.

A pipeline burst in late October. The spill leaked 55,000 gallons of oil into the Susquehanna river, which had previously been declared the third most endangered river in the US by American Rivers, an NGO.

The pipeline is managed by Sunoco Logisitics. There pipelines, according to the article, have reported more than 200 leaks since 2010. Sunoco Logistics were behind a major spill in Pennsylvania near Murrysville, PA in 2008.

The pipeline was built by the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Sunoco is a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners Limited, the company that also owns the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

Mark Mill’s outlines why the energy sector to job growth is not viable. He discusses that energy is defined by productivity. The sector, including oil and gas, only makes up 3% of the work force. It is interesting, and forces us to evaluate the narrative we want to pursue in convincing people that in the short term clean energy is in all of our interests.

Ta’u in American Samoa has installed solar panels from Tesla and Solar City that provides the island with nearly 100% of the island’s energy needs.

China wants to turn Chernobyl into a solar panel. Chinese clean energy giant Golden Concord Holdings Limited (GCL) announced the construction of a solar plant within the exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Construction will begin in 2017.

Canada announced it will be phasing out the use of coal-fired energy. Across the country, only Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia still burn coal. Together, the coal-fired power plants account for only 13 per cent of the electricity sector’s capacity, but 70 per cent of the sector’s emissions — and 10 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions.


The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the most well known, but there are five gigantic clumps of trash in the world’s oceans. Now, a visualization by NASA shows how all the litter people around world carelessly toss onto streets and sidewalks travels on ocean currents and settles into those five gross globs of drifting detritus. The journey a single-use plastic bottle of water takes as it floats on the waves can’t be tracked with a satellite, so NASA visualized how discarded rubbish moves with the next best thing: buoys. See the visualization here.