Oakland’s Lake Merritt – first flush on 16 October, 2016

Click on the words above “Oakland’s Lake Merritt – first flush on 16 October, 2016” to see this entire post.

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Being somewhat learned about trash, and less so about water, I called the guys at the boat store where I buy my kayaks in Oakland, California Canoe & Kayak last October just as a huge storm was bearing down on us.

“Where will I find the trash.” I asked?

“Lake Merritt!” , was the reply, without hesitation.

So off I went, cameras, umbrella and rain gear packed.

Not only does the first big rain of the year make roads slick with oil, it also scours the streets and drains of all the trash left by humans in the wrong place, carrying it to wards the sea. Or, in this case, Lake Merritt.

The inlets that bring storm drain run off from the streets of Oakland to Lake Merritt look a swirling pools of detritus.

Imagine walking 4 miles down South Beach after a storm, compressed into three-hundred square feet.

This is where much of the 8.5 million tons of plastic that we humans dump into the oceans each year (and growing) comes from.

We need to fix this. Soon.

Maybe TOTUS (Twit Of The United States) has some answers on ow to make Lake Merritt fabulous again?

Sure glad Tomales Bay looks nothing like this.

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Crab fisherman on strike for $3 a pound, should hold out for $6! Seafood tax a healthy idea.

Click on the text above “Crab fisherman on strike for $3 a pound…” to see this entire post.

Another crab season is upon us, like last year it is far from “normal”. But then again, with respect to the global environment, normal is undergoing radical changes.

Last year the season was delayed for months due to toxic levels of domoic acid in crab flesh (along with many other sea creatures).

This year the agency tasked with regulating crab fishing, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has sequentially opened small regions of the California Coast to fishing as domoic acid levels drop below safe thresholds.

Instead of one price negotiation at the beginning of the season, wholesale buyers have decided to hold new talks for each region that opens up for fishing.

Bodega Bay fisherman are none too happy about this and have gone on strike. Fisherman want $3 a pound, buyers are offering $2.75 a pound.

Crab fishing is a boom and bust proposition, a few good years followed by a few not so good years. Fisherman try to offset these declines with a good salmon season, though “good salmon season” is a bit of a contradiction in terms of late.

Humans have for decades damned rivers, denying these ancient fish the spawning grounds they need, diverted water from rivers to give farmers water so they can grow almonds, cotton, pistachios and other high margin crops in what was originally the California desert. Pesticide and Herbicide use, clear-cut logging and creek-side construction have further degraded the environment to the point of near extinction for many historically huge salmon runs.

Both Salmon runs and crab populations are under attack, by humans!

Instead of asking for $3 a pound, I advocate crab fisherman hold out for $6.

Give fisherman $3 for each pound and put the other $3 into a fund used to undo the damage we humans inflict on the sea with our insatiable appetite for, well, damn near everything.

Think of it like a carbon tax. The new crab tax.

Set aside money for people like myself and the legions of others that walk our beaches picking up the mess of plastic ropes, plastic bait jars, plastic foam floats, crab traps left on our beaches each crab season to be ground in to a plastic soup by wave action. A soup that becomes part of the food chain of the planet See this post from two years ago for images of what crab fishing does to Point Reyes National Seashore each year.

Human trash collected from Point Reyes beaches during six visits

Research on how to collect crabs without endangering whales could be funded with this crab tax.

Humpback Whale entangled in crab fishing gear Photo: E. Lyman/HWS and NOAA

Humpback Whale entangled in crab fishing gear

Thankfully California has for the first time enacted a law that allows crab fisherman to collect abandoned gear after the season closes to reduce these horrible entanglements (and often deaths) caused to whales and other sea-life.

Reports of recent entanglements:

After huge blue whale gets tangled in crab lines, Californians struggle with elaborate rescue mission

Daring rescue of whale off Farallones

While we are thinking clearly and proposing that human harvesting activities pay the true cost to the planet, let’s double the price of salmon and oysters, clams and mussels. Set aside money to be used to clean up the messes we have made, and then figure out how to stop making new messes as we feed ourselves.

Four damns are soon to come down on the Klammath River, opening up over 300 miles of historic spawning grounds to a salmon run completely wiped out 80 years ago. Let’s restore the natural river habitat that nature found worked, instead of trying to use science to build fast growing salmon.
Another view of this troubling news here.

In a few months the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife will be holding a meeting to discuss Best Management Practices (BMP) for oyster growers in California. A long needed set of common sense rules for an industry that has historically been operated in a “wild west” sense, with lax or little oversight. Please watch this space for an announcement on where and when that meeting takes place so you can voice your support for common sense rules in all leases for use of public lands/waters to profit by private companies. Send me your email address if you’d like to be notified.

Let’s make sure that Tomales Bay looks more like this

Great and snowy egrets in flight. Tomales Bay, mouth of Walker Creek.

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Instead of this

abandoned plastic trays

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Welcome China, please listen up.

Please click the above words “Welcome China, please listen up” to see this entire post.

Welcome China!

Lately my website logs show a huge increase in visits from readers in your country (as well as many other countries around the globe) to my post about Wang Jiuliangs’ film “Plastic Kingdom“. Or this page about a screening of the latest cut of his film.

I met Jiuliang a few years back while he was filming this important and disturbing documentary showing the environmental damage done by the horrible recycling practices of your country.

Prior to this increased interest in my post about Wang’s film, virtually every visit from your country was from someone trying to hack my website in order to conduct nefarious business.

After months of trying to stop this nonsense, I gave up and decided to block nearly all of China from visiting my blog.

This decision did not come easily, as I am well aware that much of the cheap plastic garbage that shows up on the western shore of North America comes from China. Denying access to the maker of so much single-use stuff that ends up being tossed seemed wrong. But every time I left access open to China, your citizens continued trying to hack my blog for their own interests. My simple blog is one of millions of WordPress blogs under siege every day.

With the election of our new president (please note: I had nothing to do with Mr. Trump becoming president), as well as the increased interest in the film “Plastic Kingdom”, I decided to temporarily allow China access, given The Donald’s yuuuuuuge fascination with China (especially Formosa, err I mean Taiwan).

With this newfound access to my most important blog, I ask that you please stop trying to peddle porn, store illicit software or otherwise compromise what I pay for to share my thoughts with my fellow global citizens over the free Internet.

Further, I ask that you:

please treat your people fairly

have a free press

leave Tibet alone

acknowledge and accept his holiness the Dalai Llama

stop producing cheap plastic single-use items (garbage) to export

Thank you.

Please vote yes on proposition 67 and vote no on proposition 65

The video below shows a Camel Gastrolith photographed by chris jordan.

There are 500+ plastic bags in this mass pulled from the gut of a dead camel.

Don’t let the manufacturers of plastic bags stop the ban of these needless toxins in California.

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Read what Chris Jordan (creator of the above video) has to say about this piece here.

See a much larger version of this video here.

Vote yes on prop. 67 Vote no on Prop. 65

Everyone please vote yes on Proposition 67 to keep the statewide ban on plastic bags in place.

Please vote no on Proposition 65, a red herring put forth by the manufacturers of plastic bags to confuse you.

Share this message NOW!

Wouldn’t you rather see the feathers of these stunning White Pelicans blowing in the breeze than a bunch of plastic bags?
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White Pelicans over Tomales Bay

White Pelicans over Tomales Bay

More info…

Competing revenue provisions

Proposition 67 and Proposition 65 contain conflicting provisions regarding how revenue from the state-mandated sale of carryout bags would be distributed. Proposition 67 would allocate revenue from the sales to the stores themselves, permitting them to use the revenue in three ways:[5]

(1) To cover costs associated with complying with Proposition 67.
(2) To cover the costs of providing the recycled paper or reusable bags.
(3) To provide educational materials encouraging the use of reusable bags.

Proposition 65 would allocate the revenue into a new state fund, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund, which could be expended to support drought mitigation, clean drinking water supplies, recycling, litter removal, wildlife habitat restoration, beach cleanup, and state, regional, and local parks. Stores would not keep the revenue from a state-mandated sale of carryout bags.
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Should Proposition 67 pass and Proposition 65 be defeated, then revenue from the state-mandated sale of carryout bags would go to stores to be used for covering costs and education.

Should Proposition 67 be defeated and Proposition 65 pass, then there would be no single-use bag ban. Furthermore, should California legislate a bag ban, all revenue from that ban would be allocated to an environmental fund.

Should both propositions pass, but Proposition 67 by a larger margin, then revenue would go to stores.

Should both propositions pass, but Proposition 65 by a larger margin, then a statewide single-use bag ban would go into effect and the revenue would go into an environmental fund. The Legislative Analyst’s Office also notes that Proposition 65 might prevent Proposition 67’s bag ban depending on how court’s interpret the propositions.

Should both propositions be defeated, then there would be no single-use bag ban, nor a requirement for how revenue be distributed should California legislate a ban in the future.

More information here and here if interested:

Action Alert – Transparent, honest coastal protection under attack – write now!

The California coast bears no resemblance to Atlantic City, thankfully.

For good reason.

To keep it this way you need to write governor Brown and chair Gonzalez NOW, see below for details.

For over 40 years, the California Coastal Commission has been tirelessly working to protect this priceless gem from selfish development.

Earlier this year State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced SB-1190 to prohibit private, off-the-record communications with Coastal Commissioners that could influence decision-making.

This important and needed piece of legislation has been shelved by way of some political BS-ery.

Please write Governor Jerry Brown and committee Chair Lorena Gonzalez and tell them you want:

– SB-1190 to be passed

– A ban on ex-parte discussions between anyone and Coastal Commissioners

– Transparency on all Coastal Commission matters

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR PUBLIC SERVANTS

Governor Jerry Brown Phone: (916) 445-2841

Chair Lorena Gonzalez Phone: (916) 319-2080
Twitter: @LorenaAD80 with #saveyourcoast

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon Phone: (916) 319-2063

Please act now!

Download (PDF, 1.93MB)

If you want the California coast to look like this, do nothing:

Used under Creative Commons license, photo by Bob Jagendorf

Used under Creative Commons license, photo by Bob Jagendorf

If you want the California coast to look more like this, ACT NOW! It won’t protect itself.
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Read more about this important matter in the LA Times.

 

Save our planet – Stop Nestlé from taking our water and wrapping it in plastic

Dear Readers,

Nestlé thinks it can buy its way to a positive public image. So the corporation is mounting a major misinformation campaign in Southern California. From billboards to newspaper spots to ads on popular local websites, Nestlé is scrambling to convince the people of California that it’s a good steward of the environment. But with your help, we can fight back with educational ads of our own, ensuring people know the truth: Nestlé needs to be stopped for the public good.

Our campaign against Nestlé is already making waves. On April 25th, I’ll be representing the more than one million members of the Story of Stuff Community in a federal courtroom as our lawsuit to hold Nestlé accountable for its unpermitted withdrawal of water from the San Bernardino National Forest goes before a judge. Along with with our partners Courage Campaign and Center for Biological Diversity, we’ll argue that the U.S. Forest Service should turn off the spigot on Nestlé’s continuing, illegal extraction of water from these drought-ravaged public lands.

But we know Nestlé won’t go away quietly, which is why we’re asking you to help us fund a full-page ad in the San Bernardino Sun newspaper to raise publicity about Nestlé’s illegal actions, and help more people get engaged.

Help us show Nestlé and the U.S. Forest Service that the public wants our water to stay in the mountains, not in Nestlé’s bottles.

Nestlé knows that the public support behind the Story of Stuff Project and our partners has the potential to put an end to its bad behavior, which is why Nestlé spends millions of dollars on vague advertisements claiming it has a strong environmental record. But the facts couldn’t be further from the truth. The water level in the stream from which Nestlé is taking water in San Bernardino is at 10% of a 90-year historic average, and similar abuses are occurring worldwide.

Nestlé’s ability to suppress public debate is powerful. In fact, a billboard company that operates near the San Bernardino National Forest refused to do business with us in part because they fear losing out on Nestlé’s advertising dollars. So we’re buying a full-page ad in the San Bernardino Sun that will reach tens of thousands of local residents to set the record straight.

It’s time to show both Nestlé and the public that citizens around the world stand in solidarity with local efforts to protect the forest and its water. Please help us fund our full-page ad.

Donate to help us fight back against Nestlé’s misleading advertisements with a newspaper placement calling out their abuses and explaining how people can join our campaign.

Our lawsuit and your pressure have already had a significant impact, persuading the Forest Service to begin reviewing Nestlé’s expired permit for the first time in almost three decades. As the date of our hearing approaches, our opportunity to curtail Nestlé’s illegal water grab in San Bernardino is at an all-time high. We know that millions of people around the world support our efforts, and we want to bring that message directly to San Bernardino, where Nestlé employees AND Forest Service officials charged with protecting this forest will see it.

With your help we can deliver our message in the most commonly read newspaper in San Bernardino. With enough funds, we’ll buy more strategic ad space elsewhere in the region. It’s time to set the record straight and let local folks how they can get involved in our global campaign to hold Nestlé accountable.

Preview the ad text on our donation page, and contribute to make it a reality!

Together we can show Nestlé that our planet’s people and ecosystems aren’t for sale. With the water level in the National Forest’s Strawberry Creek now far below historic averages, the plant and animal life that depend on the water don’t have time to spare.

Thanks to your support our campaign is growing, and we’re starting to see Nestlé react. We know that if we keep the pressure up, amazing change is possible!
Are you in?

Yes, I’ll pledge $10

Yes, I’ll pledge $25

Yes, I’ll pledge $50

Yes, I’ll pledge $100

Yes, I will pledge another amount

In Solidarity,

Michael O’Heaney
Executive Director
The Story of Stuff

Save our planet – Let’s send Nestlé a message

Dear Richard,

California is experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history. Lakes and rivers are drying up, and cities are instituting water rationing. Meanwhile, Nestlé Waters’ bottling plants are operating at full volume, taking water from cities and National Forests alike.

Take Action, sign this petition.

Nestlé’s unethical actions are part of a trend – for years Nestlé has been working around the world to privatize community water resources, selling it back to people at significant markup and trashing our planet with plastic. It’s clear that Nestlé won’t change its practices without significant public pressure. But if enough people – and businesses – stand together to say “enough is enough,” we can start to change things around.

Sprouts is a grocery chain that operates 212 stores around the U.S., many of them in California. Sprouts says it cares about our environment – so why is it selling Nestlé’s unethically sourced Arrowhead Springs water? We’re organizing green retailers, starting with “sustainable” grocery chain Sprouts, to let Nestlé know that its refusal to conserve water is unacceptable.

With California drying up, the state can hardly afford to waste water. Tell Sprouts Farmers Market to stop selling Nestlé’s illegally sourced Arrowhead Springs water!

In one particularly egregious example, Nestlé is pumping water from the San Bernardino National Forest in California for their Arrowhead Springs brand using a U.S. Forest Service special use permit that expired over 25 years ago. The company pays only $524 each year to profit off of this public land. Legal pressure from The Story of Stuff Project and our partners at the Courage Campaign and Center for Biological Diversity has convinced the Forest Service they should begin to review the expired permit, but there is no reason public citizens should stand idly by in the meantime.

Nestlé is giving the people – and ecosystems – of California short shrift. It’s time to send a message to Nestlé that exploiting California’s National Forests for water is unacceptable.

Sprouts Farmers Market is a large company that cares about sustainability, stating “Responsible retailing for Sprouts is… partnering with suppliers and vendors to ensure that the products we sell are responsibly sourced; reducing waste and our environmental footprint.” Yet Sprouts carries bottles of Nestle’s Arrowhead Springs, the same water being taken unsustainably from the National Forest in San Bernardino!

Nestlé’s Arrowhead Springs is not a sustainable product – quite the opposite, in fact. Tell “sustainable” grocery chain Sprouts to stop carrying Arrowhead Springs today!

Selling Nestlé’s Arrowhead Springs water contradicts Sprouts’ principles of sustainable sourcing and minimizing waste. This is a product that is draining a unique ecosystem dry AND trashing our planet with plastic! If retailers like Sprouts refuse to continue supporting Nestlé’s bad practices, it will grab Nestlé’s attention and force the company to change.

Story of Stuff Community members who recently attended an organized hike with our Campaigns Director in San Bernardino, California want to launch a campaign calling on Sprouts to stop selling Nestlé’s Arrowhead Springs water immediately. In doing so they plan to impact Nestlé’s sales directly while also educating fellow public citizens who shop at Sprouts about Nestlé’s actions. You can help their great idea sprout by signing our petition today.

The truth is that Nestlé’s operations in California have worldwide ramifications, as does our response. While Nestlé makes millions of dollars exporting water from a federal drought disaster area, our waterways fill with plastic, and our ecosystems pay the price. If we’re going to live sustainably on this planet, we all need to pitch in and do our part.

Ask grocery retailer Sprouts to stop selling Nestle’s unsustainable Arrowhead Springs water today!

Thank you for all you do!

Emma Cape, on behalf of The Story of Stuff team

Source
Sprouts Farmers Market, Responsible Retailing

Save our planet – Our Water, Our Future – No to Nestlé

Dear Readers,

If you’ve been following The Story of Stuff Project this last year, you probably know that it’s high time Nestlé changes how it does business. All around the world, Nestlé has been a leader in the effort to privatize our public water, and sell it back to us in little plastic bottles. But more brave communities are starting to fight back. One group in Cascade Locks, Oregon is doing something truly historic, and we need your help to spread their story.

The more people who learn about this campaign against Nestlé, the harder it will be to ignore. Nestlé puts millions of dollars each year into advertising, trying to convince people around the world that bottled water is good for people and our planet. Upon discovering that The Story of Stuff Project planned to release a new film about Cascade Locks, Nestlé even tried to preempt us by releasing a misleading video of their own. But we know the truth: a sustainable society and a healthy planet requires protecting water as a public right, NOT as a source for corporate profits!

We may not have Nestlé’s financial resources, but our community of a million supporters worldwide is a force to be reckoned with. With your help, we can spread this story even farther than Nestlé’s advertising dollars.

Will you help us share this story with your friends and neighbors?

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We’ve already gotten Nestlé’s attention; now we need to keep up the pressure. Nestlé thinks it can continue expanding its water bottling operations indefinitely, until public springs run dry and our oceans fill with plastic. We need to let Nestlé and communities know that a better alternative exists.

We’re standing with the people in Cascade Locks as they defend their community against the influence of Nestlé and other bottling corporations. Our demands are simple: we want clean public water for everyone, and we want Nestlé to stop bottling in communities like this one, where citizens are protesting the privatization of their resources. This Story belongs to everyone, and you can help write the ending. By sharing our new video, you can help us increase public pressure on Nestlé AND connect with more communities making a difference.

When enough people act together, we can change the way corporations do business – for the better. To challenge global giant Nestlé, we need your help growing this movement, from coast to coast and country to country.

Will you help spread the word by sharing the story of these brave changemakers’ campaign to defend their public water from Nestlé on Facebook?

Thank you for all you do!
Emma Cape, on behalf of The Story of Stuff team