Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why We Must All Fight Pollution

Don't you just love walking on a beach? It is so peaceful by the ocean, serene ... But, wait! What the hell is that? I was thinking another balloon, off a cruise ship, but no. This time the offender turned out to be a chunk of blue foam. But where did it originate? How did it get into the Atlantic? How many bits had broken off during its voyage and been swallowed by ocean fish? Suddenly I felt overwhelmed by this toxic mess we humans have created, environmental pollution that is seemingly omnipresent in our lives. I have been trying to spread the word through this blog, and through Facebook ...

Last week my younger daughter told me, "I may have to un-friend you, Maman. What you post is stressing me out too much."

It's true that the flood of information on harm done to the planet is pretty depressing. I would prefer to share positive stories, like the CSI episode on hydro-fracking, broadcast two weeks ago, created by a team of environmentally-aware writers. Seems I'm not alone in this effort to spread the word. Sensible citizens everywhere are getting it. Green bloggers have begun to unite. Check out the collective energy throbbing at Ecocentric, a new blog about food, water, and energy. Every day a new petition arrives in my in-box. But we must do more than sign petitions, like the one against hydro-fracking or the one at Living Green, Living Well to stop genetically-engineered salmon (both of which I urge you to sign).

I'm heartened that there is movement on the plastics front, too. You can read about it in a HuffPost article by Jennifer Schwab, Director of Sustainability for Sierra Club Green Home. Over at Fake Plastic Fish, Beth Terry has been considering a blog name change to reach a larger audience. And, Los Angeles County banned the plastic bag last month.

What's more, people are buying books like No Impact Man and applying eco-policies to their lives. Consumerism may not be dead yet, but it is certainly undergoing a reality check. Baby bottles containing BPA remain on store shelves, unsold. More and more people are saying no to toxic chemicals and endocrine disruptors. Even Facebook has teamed up with the EPA to offer a game that will educate users and encourage real environmental action.

What bothers me is that our Congressional leaders and President Obama lag behind. It would be so easy for Michelle Obama to set an example, recycling the White House plastic, for instance. We must all fight pollution together.

What have you done today to stem the toxic chemical tide?