Saturday, June 9, 2018

March for Everything

Today is, in some ways, like every other day — we wake up and think of friends and colleagues and the concerns we share for the oceans and beaches. But, since today across the planet there will be thousands of people joining together for events and Marches for the Ocean, we feel a extra special affinity. We have received multiple announcements about Chris Jordan's Albatross screenings and the roll out of his extraordinary gift to the planet. We are grateful for his clear and deeply creative responses to the environmental crises we face. The mark he has made is oh, so, beautiful and oh, how it hurts. We bow in respect and rise in inspiration when we think of his steady and years-long commitment to making the film exactly right. And now, it is his time. We were excited to be witness to the power of his presence on the UN World Stage and since we could not be there we tuned in via WEBTV UN. 

Closer to home, in Fairfax, it was not just a March for the Oceans it was a March for Everything. From Grandson Jude with a pot on his head to the Marin Alliance for Marijuana Dispensary team with pot in their heads and along the way there was politics aplenty (Solidarity Sundays) and the politics of pleasure with dazzling hula-hoop routines. Politics?We affirm the reality of the TAO, that great philosophy of "Is you is or is you ain't, and even if you ain't, you is."

The Grand Marshalls were Pete and Pat Arrigoni. In 1975 the Marin Mammal Center opened in Sausalito due to the successful work of Pat and two friends, Paul Maxwell and Lloyd Smalley.  Pat then published the story:  “The Marine Mammal Center: How It All Began. Recollections of One of the Founders”. We're pretty pleased that our Ghost Net Monster at the Center was extended from a six-month stay to going on four years now. 

Fairfax is for us, out-of-the-valley "over the hill." When we say "going to town" we mean Fairfax. Along with having most everything we need — library, grocery, hardware/building supplies, in that order, the community has long been a leader in the sustainability movement. By passing a pesticide notification ordinance, forming the open space committee, limiting chain stores and adopting styrofoam-free and nuclear free ordinances, Fairfax is making a difference at our local level. When Richard moved to Cali in 1974 Fairfax was a musical Valhalla and a palpable garden of Eden. With six live musical venues you never wanted for entertainment and with the European tradition of planting fruit trees as a primary gesture of settlement, in summer and fall, you could walk the sidewalks picking all the overhanging pears, figs, apples and... you could stuff in your face...

The parade began with the siren call of fire engines and Jes Richardson's Ghandi had the last word: 


Tuesday, June 5, 2018


It's June 5, World Environment Day.
What did we do today?
We walked to VOTE and along the way we picked up plastic.

We have traveled the world talking about beach plastic, presenting exhibits and giving hands-on workshops. When we are inland, folks complain WE DON'T HAVE A BEACH, WE DON'T HAVE PLASTIC,  WE WON'T BE ABLE TO CREATE. Y'all are lucky to live close to the ocean (heard this in Dallas and in Houston). Don't despair! We describe how plastic navigates from street to beach, how it makes its way down the gutter, down the drain, down the watershed, down the creek, down the river, then out into the ocean then back onto the beach. When stuck in freeway traffic just take a look at the shoulder, at the median. There be PLASTIC. PLASTIC. PLASTIC. In Dallas we went for a stroll near the museum where we were doing a workshop and the question of "where does all this plastic come from?" was quickly answered with a 10-minute pick-up along the gutter.  

As we set out on our journey today we did what what we always do at Kehoe Beach — we took an establishing shot. Here is the scene in the pastoral San Geronimo Valley: rolling hills, blue sky, grazing horses, and blackberries in bloom.

Our sun dappled walking trail parallels Sir Francis Drake Blvd, taking us past fields and through wooded areas arriving at our Polling Place at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center. At our age the importance of keeping on the move is palpable so we don't "seize up". The daily step counter, now on our phone, has become a metric for a competitive matchup.

Although many people now mail in their ballots we love exercising (!) our right to vote in this public way. We appreciate the poll-workers who stand vigilant to make sure each vote is scanned properly as it is put into the ballot box and we get a soft thrill when they give us our I VOTED TODAY merit badge.

It's not just the problem with the Russians trying to influence our elections, We are concerned about voter turnout and the purging of voter rolls. Attempts to disenfranchised voters, long lines at the polls, cyber-security, laws requiring people to show ID are just few of the problems. 

At our poll, you state your name then sign for your ballot — no photo ID required. It might help that most everyone knows everyone but it still reminds that there are places where there are attempts to block legitimate voters by requiring a government ID.

Along the way we collected a bag full of plastic- we were curious to see what items on our hit list we would find road-side. Our efforts did not disappoint. It just goes to show ya, we do vote with our pocket books.

It can be done. Change is afoot across the planet. Just one little chunk of pernicious-ness has been eliminated: The 3"x1/2"x1/8" piece of red plastic is now gone from Kraft Handi-snacks. Insignificant...yes, but on our one stretch of beach, over the years, we found 563 of those little devils. Vote with every means necessary. There are forces who would like to see democracy weakened to favor the oligarchical banditos. Don't make the mistake of thinking you are insignificant. 

El pueblo unido jamas serĂ¡ vencido

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Geeze, after 20 years of our being in the Plastic Pollution biz, you'd think there'd be no need for that National Geographic Planet or Plastic? shouldn't even be a question. Oh! The infinite ways of hubris! Let's see, where did we leave that magic wand? But at least this latest Nat Geo has got everybody talking and is having a big impact way beyond our "plastic people community." 

Thanks to Janis Selby Jones for amping up the blue in this pic of the magazine cover with a background of blue plastic collected from North County beaches in San Diego.

Check out Mandy Barker's photo spread (pages 76-77) of Coca-Cola caps. In the bottom left-hand corner, Kehoe Beach is named. Those are our caps from "our" beach. We were thrilled to be included in such a powerful visual explication of consumer culture, that shows Coca-Cola the international impact of their bottles and caps in the ocean and on beaches. Sorry to single out Coke, 'cause Lord knows, after a couple of hours toiling in the garden, there's nothing like a tumbler of Coke on ice (with a glass straw—keeping a modicum of virtue intact). Just wondering how Coca-Cola will respond?!?

It seems that Kraft has responded. We had heard that the red cheese spreaders are gone from their Handi-snacks. After collecting over the years, just under 600 of the little red sticks from Kehoe Beach, in 2010 we had a dialogue going with Kraft to get them to replace the plastic sticks with bamboo or avail. A recent stop at the market to check on the product confirmed the change. Nabisco is touting their environmental stance. However, we were astonished to find on the Internet blowback from some consumers "as loyal white cracker enthusiasts" who are petitioning via for Kraft to put the red sticks back. They are longing for the traditional - they really do miss those red rectangles. Doesn't anything stay the same any more? And they complain about how hard it is to get a butter knife into the small square cheese compartment. YIKES. What happened to convenience? An ongoing Ritz Facebook page is the place to voice your pro or con complaints.

June 5 is World Environment Day and June 8 is World Ocean Day so, with all the awareness and action building events and fun, we should be feeling the blue wave. This year the WED theme is #BeatPlasticPollution. World Ocean Day the action focus is to prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean. 

Yeah, lots of blue yammering and promises for the ocean along with the red Coca-Cola caps and some interesting news from Kraft about white crackers makes our personal theme this year is BLUE, RED and WHITE.

We are angry and feeling unpatriotic as the Trump administration's EPA continues to roll back important environmental legislation. Next up are fuel efficiency standards. United States standards were on pace to become by 2025 the most aggressive in the world. What happened to the US being an exemplar, leading the charge for the health of the planet? Fortunately, the powerhouse of California is ready to fight the fight. Attorney General Xavier Becerra has vowed to meet in court any attempts to revoke California’s clean air waiver. 

Judith, remembering the choking smog in Southern California during her college days in Claremont, when the air was so thick that you couldn't even see across the street, lungs aching with every ozone-infused breath, cries out, "what are these people thinking?" 

Hey, GOP what about states rights?

Where is the conserve in conservative? Roger Scruton in this long essay in a search for an answer takes up the call to think local, think small while recognizing the importance of thinking beyond our time by consulting "the interests of the unborn and the dead."