100 years ago
Social activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett marches in Washington, D.C., with 5,000 suffragettes in a protest supporting women’s voting rights.
Read Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s biography >>
CHIEF SEATTLE’S LETTER to All Americans
“The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.
The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each glossy reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.
The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness that you would give any brother.
If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.
This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is to say goodbye to the swift pony and then hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.
When the last red man has vanished with this wilderness, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?
We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it, as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.
As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.
In 2009 it was reported that this was the amount of trash produced by Americans between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That is 25 percent more than we generate in a typical five or six-week period during the rest of the year … Consider what the numbers are today
**Find eco-friendly places to recycle your Christmas Tree
**Use less envelopes..use ecards or postcards for the Holidays
**Ecyclewashington.org … Washington State and is free for residents & small businesses. They will take 3 items per day…computers, tv, monitors
Do Something to Help Heal our Environment !
Be a Seed for Change
happening now 2017 … Tacoma, WA plastic ordinance starts 7/12/2017 and 2012 seems like eons ago
I have to include an 2015 update to what seemingly was a ban in 2012, was in reality. a choice to pay .5 – .10cents for plastic bags if you want them? The good news is that the transition to an actual ban on plastic as a choice is happening in some parts of Washington state! YAY I have been shaking my head for the last 2yrs when more often than not the checker goes into auto-reaction mode and grabs the plastic if the consumer didn’t bring their own. I am not sure what I expected, but having forgotten my own bags on several occasions the response or offer for a reusable bag was seldom or none and makes me wonder just how much of an impact is being made since the statistics are probably tainted with how many plastic bags are given out each day versus paper or offering a reusable bag. Now, in this year of 2015, no plastic bags are available at more grocery stores and if you don’t have your reusable some of the clerks actually say paper or you can buy one of ours …. finally.
In March of 2012, I heard that Alameda County California voted to implement their “ban” on single use bags not regulate them sometime around January 2013. It just so happens that at or around the same time things were being finalized in different parts of our beautiful state of Washington. Though it has been a long struggle for Washington State to move towards an ordinance that would “ban” bags at retail outlets due to big MONEY in the plastics industry. However, in late December, word was that the City Councils Zero Waste Initiative to “ban” plastic bags in limited and in graduated way realized after four years. In 2008, the Council banned Styrofoam and though they tried to regulate plastic bags they got serious push back from the industry, which spent about $1.4 million, collected signatures with rumors of leaving out some info … then had the ordinance repealed. It was nice to read about Council Bill 117345, a bill to protect Puget Sound, our marine wildlife and our Environment in general joining about twelve states and up to twenty nations. The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to implement the ban on plastic carry out bags.
After years of pulling out my small recycled bags for the checker to shove my groceries into, Washington State is joining the global movement to protect marine wildlife; the ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2012. It may be a cliché, but this ordinance is a change we can all believe in. I have to say, at first; in my experiences; checkers seemed a little annoyed at having to fight with the reusable bags. The word from most Checkers back in the day was, that plastic is just easier. Yes, the first reusable bags were too small, the dye ran the material was unforgiving, but as folks found better ways to make them; the cost came down and more people bought them including me.
Now, the bags not only cost a little bit more, they are bigger more stylish, last forever are definitely more flexible, and a highly recommended investment. The move to switch from plastic to” bring your own bag” will be difficult for some at first; I intend to carry a few extra to give away or sell; on my website because documented studies show that birds, sea turtles and other wildlife eat plastic bags and some are made with toxic chemicals that could be harmful. The time for a behavior change is now. We all know change is tough, but here we are in the 21st Century and that floating garbage circle, called the ” Great Pacific Garbage Patch“ discovered in the 90′s by Charles Moore, is only getting bigger. There will always be push back from the plastics industry, their supporters as well as environmental activists who all feel the government does not go far enough and they may be right, but we have to start somewhere.
It baffles me at how complicated people have made the effort to clean up our environment; we all know the need to reduce TRASH as a whole and it starts at home, although Seattle is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the nation, only 13 percent of plastic bags are recycled or re-used.
We owe it to our next generation…
Grocery stores, as well as food service outlets owe it to consumers and the environment.
It took quite sometime and we’ve come a long way from fighting the plastic industry to now finding that Indeed some Grocers feel the same way by eliminating plastic bags period ~ 2015
stay tuned in … who are the enforcers?
repost from 2013
first posted – Nov.2011
What’s the Problem?
Washingtonians use more than 2 billion single-use plastic bags each year, and Seattle alone uses approximately 292 million plastic bags annually and only 13% are recycled. Too many plastic bags end up in Puget Sound where they do not biodegrade. Plastic bags break down into smaller and smaller pieces that remain hazardous as they are consumed by filter-feeders, shellfish, fish, turtles, marine mammals, and birds. PCB levels in Chinook salmon from Puget Sound are 3- to 5-times higher than any other West Coast populations.
In 2010, a beached gray whale was found to have 20 plastic bags in its stomach!
How would the plastic bag ban work?
by Mike O’brien
It’s simple – retailers are prohibited from offering plastic carryout bags to customers. Paper bags may still be provided to customers for a minimum of five cents – stores keep the nickel to help cover the cost of providing bags. Everyone is encouraged to bring and29 use reusable bags.
- Banned Bags Include: plasticbags provided at checkout of all retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from non‐renewable sources).
- Exclusions: bags used by shoppers in a store to package bulk foods, meat, flowers, bakery goods or prescriptions; newspaper, door hanger bags and dry cleaning bags.
- Where the policy applies: all retail stores including but not limited to grocery stores, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies, department stores, farmers markets, restaurants and catering trucks.
- Where it’s not applicable: for take‐out food where there is a public health risk if a bag is not provided.
What about paper?
- Retailers may provide paper bags made of at least 40% recycled paper for a minimum 5 cent pass through cost that retailers keep to offset the cost of providing bags.
- Low income customers who qualify for food assistance programs shall be provided paper bags at no charge.
Joining cities on the West Coast and around the world
Seattle would join cities along the West Coast, hundreds of cities across the country and twenty nations worldwide that have already taken action to reduce the use of single use plastic bags.
- San Francisco, CA – Banned plastic bags in 2007.
- Los Angeles County – Banned Plastic bags November 2010; includes a 10 cent fee on paper bags.
- Portland, OR – Banned plastic bags in summer 2011.
- Edmonds, WA – Banned Plastic Bags in 2009; law was implemented in August 2010.
- Bellingham, WA – Banned plastic bags in 2011, in the model outlined in this document; legislation to be implement in summer 2012.
- Washington DC – Implemented a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2009; reduced disposable bag use by 80% citywide in first year.
Background in Seattle
Approximately 292 million disposable bags are used in the City of Seattle annually. In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance that would have placed a 20 cent fee on disposable plastic and paper bags at grocery, drug and convenience stores in an effort to reduce waste. The ordinance passed the Council in a 6-1 vote and then opposing parties collected enough signatures to refer the ordinance to the ballot, where it was over-turned by the voters (53%-47%) in the November 2009 primary election. The American Chemistry Council spent over $1.4 million opposing the law during the ballot measure campaign.
Today, as the ban on plastic bags is implemented and or enforced most checkers are asking if you would like to buy a cotton bag because there were no flimsy plastic available. Now, after finally getting those flimsy bags out some stores, others such as the Dollar store and Safeway came up with or possibly the plastic industry came up with a heavy-duty plastic supposedly reusable bag. I was at a Safeway and needed another bag. I honestly did not want to spend $5 and while I was looking around, I spot a heavy-duty plastic Safeway logo inscribed bag with pretty colours. This was a disappointing find on so many environmental official statewide ban levels though i admit it can be reused, it is quite large and was only .25 but they tear easily. I bought one to see how it would hold up and it lasted about 2hours … so, the next question for king county is if they actually have folks checking in on stores selling heavy-duty reusable plastic bags
What plastic bags? ugh