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» Protest vs participation; Tools and techniques to become a real environmentalist

Environmentalists, to my perpetual astonishment, do not see the tremendous opportunities they have by simply staffing local boards. Want to stop a wetlands from being drained and filled for a parking lot? Volunteer on your conservation board and deny the damn permit. Want to create a sustainable city? Join your planning board and help write a 20-year comprehensive plan that creates smart growth in the downtown. Want to stop a Walmart from expanding? Change the local zoning by-laws to restrict lot size.

great post by michael (climateadaptation).

» Bananas! A documentary about Bananas! & Corporate Responsibility


Back in 2009 a Swedish filmmaker made a film documenting a lawsuit in which Dole (yes, the fruit company) was accused of using chemicals to spray on their banana crops which they knew were harmful to human/workers health. These chemicals, manufactured by Dow Chemical, were pulled off the market by Dow when research showed that they were unsafe for banana workers/humans and had serious health implications, including sterility. Dole apparently knew this, but continued to use these chemicals that they had already purchased from Dow on their crops. Here is a link to the full Documentary called Bananas!

But, the story doesn’t end there. Just before the filmmakers were about to premiere Bananas! at a film festival in Los Angeles, they were sued by Dole for attempting to show a fraudulent documentary.  Lucky for us, they are filmmakers, so they continued to document their whole experience and legal battle against the corporate giant. It is absolutely amazing what these filmmakers go through! Here is the trailer for the second film they made called Big Boy’s Gone Bananas!

“We have a media that is corrupted by power. You have corporate ownership from the top, you have corporate advertising coming in from the side… we have a media where money and corporate influence is really the mother’s milk.”

When watching these films, I just can’t stop thinking about responsibility — personal and corporate — and how every thing we do, or don’t do makes a difference. Spread the word, learn and think about what you are buying and what companies and practices you are supporting. 

We start using something before we understand whether it’s safe. We begin to discover it’s not safe. Industry obscures the science and viciously battles off regulation for as long as possible, forecasting economic doom. Lots of people get sick and die while they do so. Finally some regulations are put in place. The costs of complying turn out to be lower than anyone predicted. The benefits turn out to be much greater than anyone predicted. The pollutant turns out to be more harmful than originally thought. Despite all of the above, industry continues battling efforts to further reduce the pollutant, while claiming credit for the benefits of reducing it as much as they were forced to.

Over and over and over, this story plays out. Yet with each new pollution fight, it’s as though we’ve never had all the previous ones. (See: chlorofluorocarbons, mercury, smog, phthalates, etc.)

— Dave Roberts on Kevin Drum article: New research finds Pb [lead] is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. motherjones, 01.2013. (via kateoplis)
» New plastic bag ban receives mixed reactions from customers, storeowners in Oakland


On January 1, Alameda County’s Reusable Bag Ordinance went into effect, banning businesses within the county from distributing single-use bags to customers and requiring store owners to offer reusable or recycled paper bags for a 10 cent fee.

The regulatory agencies involved in passed the ordinance last January as a means of reducing the amount of pollution produced by plastic bags. Businesses affected by the new law include liquor stores, pharmacies, grocery stores and other establishments that sell packaged foods, alcohol or both; restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops are the only exceptions.

oaklandnorth, 03.01.13.

comment on fb:

San Jose just saw a 50% decrease in the amount of plastic bags in their local creeks 1 year after their ban went into effect. Let’s hope we can get similar results here.

yay SF and East Bay~

» Greenpeace works to detoxify fashion

Greenpeace activists protest outside Levi’s headquarters in San Francisco create a ‘river’ out of non-toxic foam, as part of a series of Greenpeace activities held in over 80 cities worldwide, demanding that Levi’s commits to eliminating the use of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain. The foam simulates the toxic water pollution caused by the Mexican textile factories that have been found to have links to brands including Levi’s. Photo: George Nikitin, Greenpeace / SF

According to the Greenpeace release, “Levi’s will begin requiring 15 of its largest suppliers, each with multiple factories in China, Mexico and elsewhere, to disclose pollution data as early as the end of June 2013” — an important development in nations without strict reporting requirements.

…Other substances Greenpeace found included benzotriazoles, tributyl phosphate and trichloroaniline, all toxic to aquatic life. At the Kaltex plant, Greenpeace said it found hexa (methoxymethyl) melamine (HMMM), which is moderately toxic to aquatic life, and two trichlorinated benzenes. The environmental group said that while these two persistent toxic chemicals are used as solvents and dye carriers, they are not exclusive to textile manufacturing and may have come from other sources.

"In studies of the textile industry in Mexico, Greenpeace found that Levi’s suppliers have the worst water pollution," said Pierre Terras, a Greenpeace toxics campaigner in Mexico quoted in the report. According to Greenpeace, Mexico is the fourth-largest supplier of textiles and apparel to the U.S. market..

sfgate, 30.12.12.

Mercury in seafood: Where does it come from?

..according to a giant new report called “Sources to Seafood: Mercury Pollution in the Marine Environment,” mercury pollution near the ocean’s surface has more than doubled as a result of human activities over the last century.

grist, 14.12.12.
Zara commits to go toxic-free!

Zara, the world’s largest clothing retailer, today announced a commitment to go toxic-free following nine days of intense public pressure. This win belongs to the fashion-lovers, activists, bloggers and denizens of social media. This is people power in action.

read more: greenpeace, 29.11.12.
i didn’t see any of this mannequin-protesting when i walked past the zara in SF on black friday, but yay at least the the rest of the world cares?
and check out this “detox fashion” anime video. it’s actually pretty good.and the mannequin video. man, greenpeace is cool. and awesome. 
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