Posts Tagged ‘exxonmobil’

polluting your backyard

In the effort to combat climate change, we carpool, scale back our utility use, purchase carbon credits, and do our best to source our power from clean technologies. Yet, if we pay tuition, donate to non-profits, or have a stock portfolio, we may still be contributing to dirty energy. Many universities, local governments, and religious institutions have endowments or investments that benefit financially from fossil fuels. Seeing the support of coal companies, oil giants, and mining projects as antithetical to their moral and political proclivities, organizations across the nation are divesting from these markets.

The Fossil Free campaign helps to organize and support those who wish to give non-renewable resources the boot. Over 300 colleges have already started their own campaigns, including Brown University who is slated to vote on axing 15 coal and mining companies from their endowment this month. Major cities, such as San Francisco have decided that exacerbating climate change was not in the best interest of the planet or the Bay. Those interested can visit the website and either begin a petition or join an already existing call to action. In addition to hosting a platform to collect signatures, Fossil Free also provides relevant articles, charts, and studies to help make a strong and well-informed case.

As a strategy, taking away a source of revenue may be one of the quickest and most effective ways to halt fossil fuel infrastructure. Seeing as much of the industry has bought influence in Congress and around the world, pulling money away from conglomerates is one of the most powerful means of stopping a number of pipelines and mountaintop removals at one time. While it is true that companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal make billions of dollars and that the dissent of only a few small institutions may not at first make a huge dent, it is important to back up beliefs with concrete action. Not only igniting discussion and creating a PR nightmare, large endowments are responsible for billions of dollars themselves, and can make their voices heard if they decided to gather together to send a message and hit polluters where it hurts. Money could then be apportioned to back renewable energy and bolster a healthier, greener economy that would not only ease the burden of climate change, but give birth to a vibrant new market that benefits more small businesses and communities.

The time has come to tell the fossil fuel giants that carbon is so very last century.

You see them everywhere they are not supposed to be.  Plastic bags  have become an irritating part of the landscape, lining the highways, caught in tree branches, floating in the ocean.  The buggers jam recycling machinery, block drainage systems, languish in landfills, and are mistaken for food by wildlife.  Fashioned from petrochemicals, these bags are highly resistant to degradation.  While some can be collected and recycled, and all can be re-purposed as garbage and storage bags, these seemingly convenient plastic sacks generally wind up as fodder for the dump or become one of the main ingredients for marine pollution.

While the plastic bag has its friends in high places, such as the American Chemistry Council, ExxonMobil, and Dow Chemical, cities across the country are beginning to let the flimsy film know that it is not welcome.  A quarter of the world’s countries have either restricted, taxed, or outlawed single-use plastic bags, and the United States is slowly starting to follow suit.  San Francisco began the trend in 2007, and was copied on the local level by other cities including Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.

San Luis Obispo is considering a bag ban with an additional tax for plastics, but has experienced opposition from well-funded lobbying groups and those that believe a bag restriction comes as an infringement to freedom of choice and as a burden to business owners.

One of the simplest and most effective methods of reducing your plastic footprint is to bring your own cloth or sturdy reusable bag with you to the local supermarket, restaurant, or retail store.  Here at Bambu Batu we carry cloth totes and Blue Lotus reusable produce bags for conscious shoppers.  All of your purchases from the store are bagged in recycled paper, and we are always enthusiastic to see customers bring their own backpacks, purses and satchels.

What do you think?  Should San Luis Obispo ban the bag?  Tax plastic?  Recycle reusables?  Are cities overstepping Constitutional boundaries when imposing levies on these products?  Are environmental risks enough to consider outlawing single use bags altogether?

 

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