Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why isn't NYC water the Official Water of the New York City Marathon?

On Thursday, one of NYC's free daily papers (AM New York? Metro? one of them) was wrapped with a huge shiny ad for Poland Spring, the Official Bottled Water of the New York City Marathon. The ad announced that Poland Spring water is "Born Better". From the ad, and also on the very fancy website:
Keeping the land around our springs clean and sustainable is also important. It's good for the environment and also contributees to the high quality of Poland Spring water. Which is why we work so hard to carefully select our sources and monitor our watersheds. So far we've preserved over 14,000 acres around our springs in the U.S.

While I am happy that Poland Spring is preserving acreage and protecting "their" watersheds from pollution, this text galls me. Just this week, Chesapeake Energy decided not to drill in New York's watershed, because the ruckus being raised by environmentalists and NYC politicians was more trouble than it was worth. Whew. But this isn't over yet- unless the state moves to protect it, some other company could come along and try to drill in the future. Read more details here, at the NY Times.

So reading that bit from Poland Spring about 'we carefully monitor and protect our watersheds' seems a bit like a taunt. As in 'if you lot don't get your act together and protect your water source, you can always buy safe clean water from well over 100 times the price'.

Wouldn't it be nice if New York City, in an act of civic pride, insisted on serving up crisp delicious New York water at the marathon?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bottle caps

My photo for the International Day of Climate Change shows bottle caps picked up in my neighborhood. This video shows bottle caps picked up in a different neighborhood: by albatross chicks at Midway Atoll, in the North Pacific.

The photos were taken by Chris Jordan, who traveled there with a group of artists to document the affect of plastic waste at Midway. He explains:
The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.
As a child in the 70s, I remember a big public push to get rid of, or at least cut up 6-pack rings, because they were killing marine life. I wonder if Chris Jordan's photos will do the same thing now for bottle caps? Perhaps 6-pack rings were unfairly targeted, because people missed the forest for the trees. The rings were part of a much bigger picture, the problem we still have today: plastic pollution.

It is hard to miss that both items are made from plastic.


Tomorrow, October 24, is the International Day of Climate Action, expressed by a number: 350. Why? 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit of CO2 for the earth's atmosphere. Right now, mostly because of our use of fossil fuels, we are at 387, which is why the polar ice caps are melting.

The mission of International Day of Climate Action is to
...inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

One action is to creatively express the number 350 and send a picture and caption to My photo is made of plastic bottle caps picked up from sidewalks near my apartment.

Please check out There will be plenty to do, even after October 24. It sounds a bit melodramatic, but the future of our planet really is at stake. World leaders are meeting in Copenhagen in December to discuss what the world's governments plan to do about global warming. It is vitally important that they know we are paying attention and that we demand action from them- ESPECIALLY the United States.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Say it aint so, Bo!

Can somebody tell me what is wrong with this picture?

[Photo: Pete Souza/Flickr]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Who needs M&Ms?

Since learning there's no such thing as plastic free M&Ms, I've been meaning to make a batch of cookies and take some to work for an afternoon treat, instead of heading for the break room vending machine.

Behold: oatmeal cookies made with several ingredients purchased from bulk sections using my cloth bags: oatmeal, walnuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. Now all I have to do is not eat the entire batch before Monday.

...add "delaying gratification" to the list of skills needed for a life with less plastic. Other skills include willingness to change habits and planning ahead. This less plastic experiment is teaching me things I had not planned on learning!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Plastic Free Penne!

I finally made a trip to the 4th Street Food Co-op, to check out their bulk selection. What on earth took me so long?!!? Not only do they have penne in bulk but at least 3 other kinds of pasta, including a gluten free variety. They also have several other things in bulk that are not carried at other bulk sections in town (Fairway, Integral Yoga's store, etc.). They have loose spices so you can fill your own container, as well as olive and a few other cooking oils, and liquid soaps.

I am SO PSYCHED. The co-op is in the process of phasing out plastic bags, and have cloth bags for sale, and are selling inexpensive bio-bags as well-- you can bring them back to re-use and recycle (they take them to the Lower East Side Ecology Center for recycling).

I purchased some new cloth bags- could use some more, and these have the tare weight printed on them which my others do not- as well as chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins... and PENNE. That last thing makes me a very, very happy girl.