Politics

August 13, 2012

CA Assembly Bill 298: Ban Plastic Checkout Bags

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I had plastic bags! You cannot travel anywhere without seeing one littering the side of the road or beach. I never take a plastic bag, but it can be awkward at times when family visits and brings one home from the store. Do I launch into my plastic bag tirade? If California Assembly Bill 298 passes and becomes law, I won't have to!

According to the Surfrider Foundation:

The California State Legislature is considering a bill the would ban plastic checkout bags at supermarkets, retail pharmacies and convenience stores statewide starting in 2014. Assembly Bill 298 would also require those retailers to provide reusable bags for sale and charge a fee for recycled paper bags as an incentive for customers to remember their reusable bags. California could be the first in the nation to pass a statewide plastic bag ban but it won't happen without your support!

What I don't understand is how I have been offered plastic bags in cities that supposedly have banned them? I've been told some stores are exempt.

If you live in California, please support AB 298. 2014 could not come too soon!

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Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 25, 2012

Earth Week Solutions: Better Than We Found It: Simple Solutions to Some of the World's Toughest Problems

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Better Than We Found It: Simple Solutions to Some of the World's Toughest Problems by Darrell Park is a very optimistic, hopeful book.

This book provides a straight forward and enjoyable approach to improving the world around us, making it clear how each of us can play a significant role in fixing those things that are broken. Better Than We Found It brings clarity to our problems and offers thoughtful solutions to fix what ails us. And, although some of these ideas carry big price tags like doubling the budget of every public school or expanding the Peace Corps to 100,000 volunteers, a surprising number cost little or nothing. Good government doesn't have to be pricey, and some ideas, like turning the Post Office into a bank for those without one, can even bring in a little revenue to our great country while improving people's lives. Other ideas such as the need to honestly assess our history and to fix the ten worst-performing states are painfully obvious, with not so obvious solutions. Some ideas, like training soldiers and aid workers together or preventing genocide by putting someone in charge of preventing it, can save thousands or even millions of lives, we just need to do our part to make it happen. Better Than We Found It will make you realize that America's problems can and will be fixed by ordinary people who care about their country.

So often, I hear people express their disillusionment with the United States and the problems we face politically, globally, and environmentally. Reading about simple solutions that everyday citizens can help to implement is refreshing and uplifting. This book is not all pie in the sky ideas. They might just be doable!

Park suggestions solutions to problems as grand and diverse as:

  • Ending homelessness by truly understanding it

  • Getting at-risk youth involved on positive community organizations

  • Using social media to prepare communities for emergency situations

  • Free electricity for every electric car

  • Ending poverty by recycling cans and bottles

I think it is human nature to read these ideas and think that couldn't work, or how why would my congress listen to my ideas. Park makes excellent cases for his ideas and leaves one wondering why our politicians don't think in similar turns.

20% of proceeds from this book are donated to charity.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 6, 2011

California Subsidizes Logging Industry $18 Million a Year

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In a time when California is threatening to close numerous state parks, logging industry subsidies are coming under hard scrutiny. The Sacramento Bee reports:

The key question before the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee was whether any of that subsidy is justified.

Owners of the state's 8.7 million acres of private forestland argue they provide public benefits including wildlife habitat, clean air and carbon sequestration - not to mention about 22,000 jobs.

Environmental groups counter that logging causes habitat loss and water pollution and that the industry should cover all of the state's cost to police those problems.


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Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 29, 2011

How are we going to feed the world without destroying the environment?

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 27, 2011

2012 California Ballot Initiative: Label GMOs

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In the signature gathering stage, the 2012 California ballot initiative to label GMOs is underway:

WANT TO HELP MAKE GMO HISTORY?
Getting an initiative on the California ballot is a timed adventure. Once we turn the language of the initiative in, the state has it for anywhere from 40 to 60ish days or so. Once we get it back, we have 150 days to gather 504,760 qualifying signatures. All experts tell us that we should count on gathering 750,000 - 800,000 to make sure we have enough that make it.

This is a grassroots movement to ensure safety in our food supply.
The issue of GM food safety was first discussed at a meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and biotech representatives in 1990. The "substantial equivalence" concept was proposed in early 1996. The adoption of the concept of substantial equivalence permitted marketing of new foods without any safety or toxicology tests as long as they were not grossly different in chemical composition to foods already on the market. [FDA GRAS proposal]

To decide if a modified product is substantially equivalent, the product is tested by the manufacturer for unexpected changes in a limited set of components such as toxins, nutrients or allergens that are present in the unmodified food. If these tests show no significant difference between the modified and unmodified products, then no further food safety testing is required.

Because these genetically modified food products have not been FULLY tested for their effects on our bodies or the environment, we demand that they be labeled. We have a RIGHT TO KNOW what's in our food.This is a campaign about the right to INFORMED CHOICE. We want Genetically Modified Food LABELED. We have a right to choose what we put into our bodies, and a right to choose to not participate in a live food EXPERIMENT.


It is ridiculous and reckless to rely on manufacturers to test for the safety of GMO crops. Consumers have a right to know!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 13, 2011

Will the USFWS Decide on 757 Endangered Species?

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The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is developing a new agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to decide on 757 imperiled plant and animal species they've been stonewalling on for years, many of which are running out of time. The Good Human reports on the deal:

The agreement in question forces the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to make initial or final decisions on whether to grant some 757 imperiled plant and animal species protection under the Endangered Species Act over the next six years. In exchange, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a leading advocacy group devoted to animal and plant conservation, will withdraw its legal opposition to a May 2011 agreement between USFWS and another conservation group, Wildlife Guardians. CBD argued that the agreement with Wildlife Guardians was too weak, unenforceable and missing key species in need of protection. The new agreement, if approved by the U.S. District Court as submitted in July 2011, would make many of the provisions of the old agreement obsolete.

It's a shame environmental groups have to do such deals to get the government to do their job in evaluating and protecting species.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 6, 2011

Support the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011

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The cosmetic industry is largely unregulated in the US. Women and young girls apply thousands of chemicals to their faces every day. The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 needs support to protect us from harmful make up products!

The Breast Cancer Fund explains:

Formaldehyde in hair-straighteners, heavy metals in makeup, phthalates in perfume and parabens in lotion. Chemicals linked to cancer don't belong in our everyday cosmetics, yet current law allows it.

That's why the Breast Cancer Fund has been rallying for major change in the cosmetics industry for six years, on behalf of people affected by breast cancer and as a founding partner in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Now we--and you--have a voice and a vehicle in Congress for truly safe, nontoxic cosmetics. On Friday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This bill (H.R.2359) would give the FDA the authority it needs to ensure that personal care products are free of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, infertility and other serious health problems.


Contact your representative and help move this important bill through Congress.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 28, 2011

Will Congress Limit Antibiotic Use in Livestock?

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The overuse of antibiotics is a real health concern as disease resistance becomes more common in humans. The use of antibiotics in dairy and meat are also of concern, as living conditions of factory farms are so unhealthy animals need regular injections to stay "healthy".   Finally, Congress is looking at the problem.

Treehugger reports:

It's a problem that's only getting worse with the expanded overuse of antibiotics. It's this practice that a Senate bill is looking to limit with the re-introduction of The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).

According to Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the primary sponsor for PAMTA, reported on Civil Eats. "[t]he effectiveness of antibiotics for humans is jeopardized when they are used to fatten healthy pigs or speed the growth of chickens. This is a basic food safety initiative that would phase out the misuse of these drugs so that food in supermarkets across America will not spread strains of drug-resistant bacteria."...

According to the FDA, 80 percent of the antibiotics produced in this country are used in animal agriculture. This amount is estimated to be more than four times the amount of drugs used to treat human illness.


Wow, that's a crazy statistic!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 26, 2011

Maine Towns Enact Local Food Freedom Laws

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In what can only be a response to the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, communities in Maine are enacting "local food freedom" laws to supersede federal laws (only it doesn't actually work that way in the Constitution). Treehugger reports:
Blue Hill, Maine will be one of several towns in Maine to recently enact food freedom laws declaring that the federal government doesn't have the right to intervene in local food matters, according to a story on Natural News. The bill allows this rural community of around 2,500 people to decide what foods that they buy and sell locally as well as exempting all direct sales of local food products from complying with state and federal inspection requirements.


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Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 5, 2011

North Carolina Bill Attacks Natural Health Providers

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Have you ever seen an herbalist, naturopath, homeopath, or midwife? Under a proposed bill in North Carolina, these alternative, natural health practitioners could face felony charges. Organic Consumers Association explains:

Alternative health practitioners in North Carolina (NC) and their patients need your help to defeat a stealth bill that flew under the radar of most everyone in the natural health community. Senate Bill 31, which clarifies the penalties for the "unauthorized practice of medicine," essentially criminalizes the practice of unlicensed forms of medicine, which includes the work of many naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, aromatherapists, and even some midwives in the state. The bill was adopted by a judiciary committee in early March, and it recently passed the NC Senate. Now, the NC House is set to vote on the bill tonight, and unless NC governor Bev Perdue vetoes it, the practice of natural medicine for many in NC may soon become a more severe criminal offense.
 

SB 31 states that anyone who practices medicine or surgery without having been first "licensed and registered to do so" will be guilty of a Class I felony. Class I felonies in NC are the least severe kinds of felonies, but they do include things like burning crosses on private or public property, and sexually exploiting children. So if passed, SB 31 will essentially make those who practice alternative medicine without an official, state-sanctioned license and permit, criminals of the likes of sexual predators and cross burners.

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Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 18, 2011

Congress Spends $760,000 on Bottled Water a Year

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Bottled water is bad for the environment and not any healthier than tap; however, the United States Congress spends $760,000 a year on the stuff. Food & Water Watch reports:

Bottled water cost Congress $190,000 in the first quarter of 2010 alone! Rather than waste public dollars on a privatized resource, our members of Congress should support investment in the nation's drinking water infrastructure so that we all have access to safe, clean, affordable tap water.

Speaker Boehner proposes cutting this unnecessary expense.

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