On January 25th, Transition Palo Alto (TPA) kicked off a new tradition, Fourth Friday. Fourth Friday, is now TPAs regularly scheduled monthly evening for an event. Everyone please make your calendars and join us on the fourth Friday of every month for something current and fun.
This month we featured the film, BagIt, and a speaker from the City of Palo Alto, Julie Weiss. The movie, taking a humorous approach to a close-to-the-heart topic …our lifestyle, was about a regular guy that went on a mission to reduce his plastic bag use, but discovered so much more about plastics and their role in our lives, environment and our world. Plastics are ubiquitous, and due to that fact, the chemicals used in making plastics hard, soft, squeezable etc. have made their way into our bodies …our blood. One eye opening moment of the film was when he shared “before and after” blood tests performed to show the chemical change in his blood from consuming food contained in plastic and cans (they are plastic lined). The results were shocking. Another ah-ha moment came when he followed the plastic collected from our curbside recycling programs to China where adults and children, trying to earn a living, sorted the plastics in a less than sanitary and just manner.
Julie Weiss, Project Manager from the City of Palo Alto, addressed the group about the upcoming City Council action of banning plastic checkout bags from all retail, and instituting a fee on paper bags. She conducted an informative Q&A. Palo Alto already has a ban on plastic checkout bags at grocery stores. This next action will expand the plastic checkout bag ban to at ALL retailers (e.g., pharmacy, department, hardware, restaurants etc). There will also be a small fee if shoppers choose to take a paper checkout bag when they shop. According to Weiss, the ban on plastic checkout bags is a pollution issue, since all the plastic that ends up in our creeks, streams and Bay and eventually the ocean, originates on land. She showed a map, with over 300 pictures, of “plastic bag sitings” around Palo Alto. She also showed a compelling photo of a bird in flight, photographed in the Palo Alto Baylands, with a plastic bag around its neck. The plastic bag ban issue goes to the City Council, February 11th, 2013. The issue is not a done deal, so if you have an opinion one way or the other, you can attend the Council meeting or email the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a great first Fourth Friday event and we look forward to many more. I think seeing the film, BagIt , made quite the impression on us all and I feel many of us will go forward in ways to make our lives “less plastic”!