Archive for political

A Bag Law We Just Can’t Support

You may have heard the Village of Atlantic Beach, NY passed an anti-plastic-bag law last week.

You might be surprised to hear we are not cheering. It calls for a ban on all except “biodegradable” checkout bags.

We’re sure the Village are well intended. It sounds great… except there is actually no such thing as biodegradable plastic, at least not as you might reasonably expect the word “biodegradable” to mean

This will cause more problems than it solves.

We honor the heartfelt campaign from locals Kevin Kelley and others for a fee or ban on all checkout bags. This “bio” option sounds good on the surface, until you think it through. You then realize it creates unintended consequences and eliminates little single use waste from going into our environment.

Why isn’t it good policy?

Merchants complying with it who care about the viability of, or prefer to avoid confrontation over “biodegradable” plastic bags will likely go to paper, which is worse for the environment overall, except that it biodegrades. It leaves them few good options and puts the problem on them.

Paper will bring merchants’ cost for a bag from 2-3 cents to 12-25 cents. These costs will be passed on to everyone, drastically increasing the current >hidden< bag tax. All shoppers pay, so some can take bags they’re going to throw away.

Increasing merchant costs like this creates financial incentive to not comply with the law. Instead, had they instituted a fee it would reimburse them ONLY for bags used, which people pay for as they take them. Capitalists used to call this “purchasing them” which is what happens under a mandatory fee for all bags. No one loses their freedom of choice. Some devout capitalists insist they’re entitled to a “free” bag everyone else pays for- go figure! The fee simply covers the merchant’s costs of storing and supplying the bag and administering the process as a partner in making a cleaner environment. To make it their problem is bad policy.

From our laypersons “legal” view, based on policy and what hasn’t worked elsewhere, this law provides no definition of “biodegradeable” which the Federal Trade Commission says cannot be used to market plastic materials. At best, it invites debate at the point of sale, skirting the law on the grounds of free speech as to what one might assert “biodegradable” means, or at worst, lawsuits from vested industry interests a small village may not withstand that would vacate the law and cost them to fight.

Bio-debateable.

I’m sure when you hear “biodegradable” any rational person would think that means it just “poof” melts(?) away and harmlessly disappears? Reality is, it just doesn’t. It’s greenwashing to present it as harmless or as a solution to plastic pollution.

From plasticbaglaws.org this week:

According to the FTC, the term #biodegradable can’t be used to market #plastic. It’s inherently misleading to customers because it has no commonly accepted test or definition. #Amazon⁠⁠ just settled a lawsuit & will stop selling those bags. #greenwashing☹️

https://resource-recycling.com/plastics/2018/08/15/amazon-settles-biodegradable-claims-case/

Key things to think about “biodegradable”:

  • How long does that breakdown take?
  • Where does that bag go during that time?
  • If it’s fast, or when it gets wet, what happens to a bag full of groceries in the rain?
  • What does it require the user to do (ie: bring to a special biodegrading facility)?
  • Must bag users separately sort it for a special “bio /composting” pickup (which our municipalities do not have)?
  • Will they just be thrown out if included in recycling? (yes)
  • Does it break down in landfill or must it be exposed to air, sun, and/or water (and blow around in the meantime? -most need that). What are you supposed to do, put them on a clothes line to turn into goo?
  • “..’bio-plastics’ fail to fully biodegrade in the natural environment, as they require processing by an industrial composting facility. A study by the 5 Gyres Institute that tested biodegradability in aquatic conditions shows that bio-plastic straws made from PLA (a plant-based plastic) did not substantially degrade in a 24-month time period at sea” (5Gyres, 2017). https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5522e85be4b0b65a7c78ac96/t/5acbd346562fa79982b268fc/1523307375028/5Gyres_BANlist2.pdf

The Solution

Once you realize there is no “away”, you cannot really solve any of those problems with a “throwaway” bag of another material. So the best policy also reduces non-plastic alternatives as well, and the solution pushes towards that goal. A fee or ban or both on ALL bags is key to promote the goal: to remove the opportunity for needless items to become pollution and for everyone to bring your own bag, instead.

The Village seem to have their heart in the right place. They also seem to have simultaneously ignored what nearly every environmental organization or good public policy group proposes based on what works elsewhere, sound policy, and scientific data. It concerns us why they came up with this novel idea instead. Is there a new “biodegradable bag lobby” or companies pitching this “solution” to municipalities without discussing all the issues involved? We hope not.

Of course, you can avoid all this yourself. Just bring your own bag Atlantic Beach – we know you got this!!

And the rest of you, too!

We made the news, and the editorial board agrees

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Our team member and Lynbrook team leader, Susan is helping residents realize just how much plastic bag pollution each person creates in a year. There’s a Nassau proposal to deal with that waste but it’s not even being allowed to be discussed. Does your County Legislator know how YOU feel about it? If not, you need to tell them it’s time to eliminate needless single use checkout bag pollution. It’s easy- just Bring Your Own Bag Nassau.

In response, all editions of the LI Herald ran an editorial this week in favor of action on checkout bag pollution!  Click that link to read it.

 

 

Checkout Bag Bill Proposed in Nassau Legislature

 

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With the proposed Nassau checkout bag legislation being kept from even being discussed at the county legislature, our team joined other groups to speak out to let the issue be heard.
So proud 6 volunteers from the All Our Energy team went to speak! Thanks to Susan, Joanne, Karin, Shelley,Lori,Leslie and Mara!

Thanks To Sea Cliff Village Trustee Epstein for joining us, too!

Click these links for the reports about that

News 12
Newsday
Hear what everyone said at this link for the video of the mtg:  http://nassaucountyny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx

Help Rockville Centre transition to a reusable bag culture!

All Our Energy’s Bring Your Own Bag Rockville Centre team have been very active to transition Rockville Centre to a reusable bag culture.

Now, you can sign the petition and share it here: allourenergy.com/rvcbags

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Our volunteers Shelley and Randy and the whole team have been visiting merchants in Rockville Centre and getting much agreement that a transition to reusable bags would benefit the Village of RVC!

Now it’s time for you to sign the petition and take the pledge, too! Help make it a no-brainer for officials to make the change!

Next, we we show “Bag It” at the Rockville Centre Public Library. heres the facebook event:https://www.facebook.com/events/1658656800859309/

Come check it out!

Use your words: help stop off shore oil and gas drilling!!!

Help stop off shore oil and gas drilling!!!

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Great turnout and rally last week! Now its time for you to take the next step!

Thank you to our volunteers, friends and the numerous organizations who attended last week’s hearing in Smithtown and spoke out! Special thanks to Assembly Members Engelbright, Pellegrino, and D’Urso who brought it all together to give Long Island a voice. Without them, the only hearing on offshore drilling in New York would have been 186 miles from the coast, in Albany.

YOU MUST MAKE YOUR COMMENTS HEARD NOW!

The Trump administration wants to open all offshore ocean areas, as close as 3 miles, to off shore oil and gas drilling leases. The comment period is open now for oil and gas exploration environmental considerations.

Leave your direct comments by the March 9, 2018 deadline:
https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=BOEM-2017-0074-0001

And find instructions here:
https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Comment/#submitcomments
Click here for our testimony from the hearing:

Make your voice heard!

 

Event: 2017 Team Build Talk

To start the year, on Wednesday 1/4/17 at 7pm we will hold an informal talk at Long Beach Public Library
RSVP Here

Find out how together, we will support each other in the current political climate. Then, we will strengthen your ability to act, and be the solution to the issues at hand. Teams are forming now that will define our work this year- be a part of it!

Be part of the talk as we team up to discuss how to make our advocacy count this year with your volunteer help.

Help establish our media / quick response team to address the media as well as attacks on social media and other teams.

Work to help Long Beach eliminate single use bags, advocate for renewables-maybe even start our own project, fight bad investments in fossil fuels that can block renewables, and insist leaders take climate action.

We will talk of advocacy in the new bullying atmosphere, as environmental gains brace for attack. Instead, let’s build your power and organize around a message that makes the most impact.

All Our Energy Forward 2017

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Thursday 12/15/16 @ 7pm
111 West Park Avenue
2nd Floor Auditorium (elevator access available)
Long Beach, New York 11561
Event on Facebook

Now is the time, the danger to 40+ years of environmental gains is real, and we can’t allow them to be taken away.
Join and support our grassroots efforts to act on climate change, fight for a renewable energy economy, and protect who and what we love.
Together with you, we will lead the way and meet the challenges to come, head on: socially, environmentally, and politically.
It’s all Interconnected.
Let’s talk about how, let’s talk about 2017, and let’s empower everyone to take action.
The only way is forward, together!

Climate Underlies It All

Climate and the environment are the root of all we do.  Solutions are what we can do NOW.

At All Our Energy, just because we are focused on the solutions: renewable energy and stopping pollution in all forms; whether it be an LNG Port, an unnecessary fossil fuel power plant, or the needless waste of single use plastic bags- doesn’t mean we should forget what drives our actions.
Climate change and the degradation of air, land, and water for human livability is where we spring to action from.

So you want to see what climate change “looks like”?
Earlier this year, the alarming “climate spiral” visualization was released, showing the months of the year represented as a circle, with recorded monthly temperatures added in, over time. It clearly shows the spiral getting larger then dramatically larger, representing higher temperature, as we reach the present.
The original was scary enough, showing the dramatic increase and acceleration in global warming up to the present day. This new projection shows the unprecedented temperature spike we are in now…. and takes us where it leads.

heres a 3-d representation:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cVt6ximM4hE

Here’s a graph that shows “yes, this is how quick (climate change) is happening“.

No one is coming to save us. No magic carbon vacuum is coming that costs less than the immediate “benefits” of fossil fuels. The free market isn’t coming. Its been nearly 30 years since James Hansen sat in front of congress imploring action on climate. Nothing has changed. We can not afford to wait. Maybe, too, we can not afford to be so focused solely on solutions. Maybe this focus on solutions hurts our public awareness by skipping the first step of the discussion: “we have a problem- something must be done- you can continue as part of that problem, or decide to become the solution”.
We need to make that change now. We have no time to wait for polluters and their employees in the field, in their law offices, or in government to “change their mind” or agree to some watered-down version of what needs to be done: a concerted, citizen-powered changeover to 100% renewable energy, with as much transportation, heating and cooking switched to clean, renewable-generated electricity ASAP.

To survive, we must transition to a renewable generated economy that values workers, the environment, local communities and empowers all to take part however they can, to foster that transformation of our society and ensure livability of the planet for future generations. Germany did this and produce more solar than the US in a fraction of the size and the solar resource. Denmark did this and got massive amounts of wind energy (and the leading international wind industry that goes with it).

The good news: we here on Long Island are finally have the potential to lead a massive switch to renewables in the form of our potential 35000 megawatts, (with realistic expectations at about 10,000-15,000) of readily available off shore wind power.
The bad news: this process, without encountering resistance(just elected), technical issues, policy or leadership changes(just changed), or any of a multitude of potential delays, has been decided to take at least 5-7 years, with reality possibly longer. This is only for the first wind farm. Policy has rendered commercial scale off shore wind development for the entire US to merely BEGIN operations in 2022-2025. It could be another 10-20 years after that for full deployment.
This is time we just don’t have. We have much to do now to avoid new fossil fuel and dangerous nuclear from being added, before we can offset any need for them.  tick-tick-tick.

Event: TPP- WHAT IT REALLY MEANS FOR OUR LIVES & WHY IT’S SUCH A BIG DEAL. 

tpp1028

10/28/16 – 7pm Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau,

223 Stewart Avenue,

Garden City, NY
RSVP Here

The Administration & Lobbyists are pushing for a vote on TPP right after elections. But what they’re not telling the public is–the Trans Pacific Partnership is NOT just a Trade deal! It’s a corporate wish list that will affect every aspect of our lives–from environmental protection, to access to medicine, to personal financial stability, to the sovereignty of municipalities and nations to make and enforce laws. Why are so many human rights groups, leading economists, environmental, and faith groups actively opposing it? How is this a social justice issue? Join us for a presentation on the TPP, which will include a PowerPoint and expert speakers.

 

Your Representatives in Congress have a key vote! Find out where your representative stands and learn what YOU can do to help!

 

Guest Speakers: Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer of Food & Water Watch NY; Michael Gendron, Exec. VP of Communication Workers of America 1108; Stan Bergman, Pres. LI Chapter of Alliance for Retired Americans; George Povall, Organizer of All Our Energy; Jane Fasullo, Group Chair of Sierra Club LI.

NY Renews Long Island Town Hall

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NY Renews Town Hall Meeting
Yes We Can Community Center
141 Garden St, Westbury, NY 11590
Facebook event here.

On Thursday 10/13/16, coalition members New York Communities for Change, Long Island Progressive Coalition, and All Our Energy are holding a Town Hall event on Long Island, part of a series we’re doing across the state to engage communities and hold our elected officials accountable.

Want to learn more about the coalition and our policy platform? Want to come together with diverse constituencies from across LI dedicated to climate justice?

RSVP now for the NYRenews Long Island Town Hall on October 13th!

At this first town hall meeting, find out about the climate policy platform NY Renews is trying to pass in Albany, and who’s in the coalition. We’re bringing together climate activists, economic justice advocates, and labor voices from across LI to talk about a statewide ‘just transition’. State officials will be in the room and our goal is to keep them accountable by demonstrating our people power and having them hear from community members. Find out about upcoming NYR activities on LI and how people can take action locally to support the statewide campaign.

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