Sisters Walking into the Lion’s Mouth

Stories about the Dakota Access Pipeline have been troubling my heart for some time now – this story by Victory Lonnquist especially moved me, brought me to tears, touched me on so many levels. Maybe it’s the moon, or my moon – or that water, the earth, women – are so powerful and yet, so repressed that we forget the power.

And of course, what’s happening in North Dakota right now is absolutely horrifying – and a huge civil rights travesty – not to mention an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

Here’s Victory’s story:

prayers-at-the-frontline
Women Praying at the Frontline – photographer unknown

Today I joined Starhawk and other women in a prayerful walk to the front lines. We held each other arm in arm, hundreds of us, bundled in jackets, wearing long skirts to show respect for prayer camp, silent. Absolutely silent.

We walked from Sicangu/Rosebud along 1806 to Oceti Sakowin, to the Seven Fire Council. Faith Spotted Eagle wanted to talk to the native woman leading us. She was concerned about us going to the bridge. There were questions on who gave blessing for this action. I heard Dallas’s name. The men murmured, increasingly agitated. I was concerned. Arvol had just said – no actions without the blessings of the elders. I have deep respect for this protocol.

One of the men started saying we needed to go back. The native woman in lead banged her drum in front of them and motioned us on. We started walking, hundreds of women.

I told the sister I was walking with I was concerned. It didn’t feel right, going forward without the blessings of those elders. I stepped away from the front. She joined me. “What elders? ” she said. “There are many elders. A native elder is leading us. ” This is why we are walking! Because too many times women are stopped, our power oppressed.” I nodded, and fell in with sisters who opened their arms with a smile, and walked ahead, trying to understand and feel all of this out.

strength-card
The Strength tarot card symbolizes inner-strength and determination to overcome obstacles, and self-knowledge and self-discipline, as only when we know ourselves and act in a responsible manner will we be able to deal effectively with challenging situations and overcome our difficulties successfully. Yet this card does not only represent physical strength – moral and emotional strength are included in the meaning. {Tarot del Imaginario – LA FORZA}

We neared the bridge, and I could feel the heaviness of the energy, the warning of danger. “What am I doing here? ” I thought. “I’m walking into the lion’s open mouth! ” Yet I would not leave my sisters.

The last time I was here, I was treating water protectors at night, dropping around me like flies. It was a place of violence and war by the police. Now, it was day. It was quiet. We came softly.

Men met us at the bridge, some stern. Male security guards that had made a line to stop us. Some telling us not to go forward. The native woman at lead banged her drum. Some of the women cried “Men! Do not tell the women what to do! ” Some pushed against the men. Some men were aggressive and dominating. A native elder (female) next to me muttered ” Why are they policing us? We have enough police here. ” Some women yelled “Men! Let us through! Stop blocking us! ” Some men looked helpless yet resisted. One of the men said “We are trying to protect you! “

I became aware that this struggle was the mirror of the world.

The women who are tired of men speaking for us. The women who want to walk peacefully without men telling us where to go or what to do. The men, who think they may be helping us, but are still oppressing us. The men who genuinely wish to help. The men, some of whom are learning themselves how to be. We are all learning how to be.

In the end, the men stopped us. A small group of elders were allowed through, which was good. They prayed there at the front lines with the police. We women sat down, kneeled, silently, as the female elders walked to the razor wire, as police with guns and large militarized vehicles looked on, fingers on triggers. The women looked so small against the large fence and weapons just on the other side.

They held ceremony. They smudged. They went to the river and prayed. Quietly we looked on, sage and copal smoke floating around us, only the sound of our “Mni Wiconi, Water is life” flags billowing in the wind.

When it was over, we walked back, silently. Hundreds of women, arm in arm, returning to camp united, in prayer.

Fear, Love, Gratitude and the Election

Letter I wrote the day after the election. 

Hi,

I don’t know what’s going to happen – and that is a scary feeling. Currently, it feels like all is lost – my spirit feels like it’s trying to jump out of my body – but the pit in my stomach is keeping it tied down. This morning, last night, I was struggling to find coming from a core place of love. I have to try. I have to do it – because coming from a place of fear is too hard.

I acknowledge that I am afraid, I acknowledge that fear makes me feel separate and that feeling of separation is anxiety-inducing, I acknowledge that I am sad. I acknowledge that there is an awful pit in my stomach. I acknowledge that I am deeply disappointed. I acknowledge that I feel incredibly vulnerable.

I also acknowledge that I love my life and I love this planet and I love making art and doing yoga and riding my bike and reading good books and writing stories and making love. I love the mountains and the air. I love the time we have had together so far.
i-am-the-change_chip-thomas-street-art-holly-troy-10-2016
Street Art by Chip Thomas aka Jetsonorama

I acknowledge that I have the right to be here and to live in joy.

I hope that my visit with Leslie tonight will be helpful – making plans to create – creating, is very helpful, has always been helpful.
I prefer that my friends are peaceful and loving. I am grateful that my friends are peaceful and loving. I acknowledge that we are all feeling some form of fear/disappointment/anger.
It’s going to take a little bit of work, and it’s worth it. I want to feel safe and loved and joyful and valued even with all of this insanity – the misogyny, bigotry, sexism, racism, climate change – that our country seems to be ok with. Steps I can take now:
– renew my passport now before Trump takes office (it expires in August 2017)
– remember I am love: check in, check in, check in with myself
– give love
– have gratitude

My friend Merk has a good plan she shared today. I found it helpful.

From Merk:

Friends, I just posted this on my business page and I think it’s worthwhile to share here as well:

Many people are suffering today under the weight of overwhelming negativity. In my own household, I woke to two highly sensitive teens who are taking on emotions that are compounded by others in their sphere.

In a community of compassionate people who seek to make their lives better, I know that there are many people here who feel as if hate and injustice have been given the upper hand, and are searching today for ways to feel better.

I’d like to help you with some techniques to bring your center back to a place of love. Because love is the way through. It is always the way through, as it is the greatest force in the Universe.

1) List as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for. Take some time to feed your brain and your nervous system with positivity. We all have much to be thankful for in this moment and our focus needs to be there. Go back to this list and this activity as often as necessary over the next week, but certainly do it at least once a day.

2) Be generous. Try to give a small gift to someone each day for the next week. It doesn’t need to cost much at all, but go out of your way to help make someone else smile.

3) Write one thank you card each day for a week. Imagine how good the recipient will feel when they receive it as you are writing it.

4) Clean out a drawer, cupboard, closet or room. Clear through things that no longer serve you and are stagnant in your life and release them by donating them to a worthwhile organization. Create flow and usefulness in your space.

5) Meditate. I can’t stress this enough. Find your center and let love and compassion flow through you so that it can be the filter through which you see life around you.

When our focus is on love and compassion, we can see what possibilities and opportunities exist around us. When we see life through fear, we block that ability and halt any progress that we otherwise would have made.

And if you are already feeling great, and not negatively affected by the news in the world, please have compassion over others who are experiencing fear.

Take a moment right now to feel the love that I have for each and every one of you. Accept it into your heart and pass it along.

With gratitude for a community of beautiful souls,
Merk

Shine a light on your fear

Fellow Jersey-girl Marie Forleo has some great advice about dealing with criticism.

She says:

  1. Everything that you love is disliked by somebody.
  2. It’s a whole lot easier to critique a thing, than to make a thing.
  3. Do not give anyone the power to make you feel worthless.

Watch the video on a great technique for vanquishing your own inner-critic.

I took a short break from painting since the Matter(s) Collective Mama Terra opening at b.e. yoga about a week or so ago. I’ve lately had a lot of visitors passing through – which means I’ve been needing to catch up on rest. Picked up my work yesterday – and it feels great. (pic of me in my studio from last fall)

me in the studio © 2015 Holly Troy

Constantly juggling work, cycling, and creating. Sometimes you just need to stop and look around. I took a break to see this a few nights ago.

sunset from the studio © 5:13:15 Holly Troy

Baby steps on the next piece – an hour or so of work here and there after 9 hours a day at my day job is what I can do right now. So glad I took the time to get this going – Monday night Magic.

showin my work © 5:15:16 Holly Troy

Have a beautiful day! And don’t let the critics get ya down – let yourself shine!

 

 

The (R)Evolution Will Not Be Televised

Get out there. Talk to your neighbors. See what’s going on. Talk about stuff that matters to you. Really matters. What’s going on in your heart? Do you know? Can you speak it?

Make something. Make some art. Plant a garden. Plant a seed. What do you wanna grow?

How are your relationships? What’s happening in your community? Your city? Your country? The world?

Look around you. What’s going on?

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gill Scott-Heron

Thank you, Young Turks.

do it, be it, live it with love

I needed to see this today, and I can bet I am not alone.

Excerpt from the film, Angel-A, written and directed by Luc Besson.

My friend Bradley Olsen shared the video. He is a beautiful writer as well as a psychotherapist with a “particular interest in Jungian Analytical Psychology and Mythological Studies“. He wrote: This is what’s missing in our culture right now; genuine, deep, frightening, painful, vulnerable love. Love of others and of self. I’m afraid we’ve mistaken narcissism and inflated egos for genuine love. What a lovely film clip.

Our culture is in a sad state. A boy died at the university where I work yesterday. He was shot and killed by another boy. I wrote this to a friend: At first when I heard the news I went into a spin about how kids are being turned into numbers/consumers who are taught how to be automatons trained to produce and consume in a disconnected world rather than human beings who are [loving] creative critical thinkers – and how maybe that is why there is so much more violence on campuses (and in general in this country).

This disconnect really comes down to love. It is this simple beautiful thing that is taught out of us, starved, beaten, bankrupted, neglected, withheld, smothered, abused, sexualized, homogenized, marginalized, advertised, commercialized, trivialized, sterilized, dehumanized out of us.

We have to stop hiding it. We have to let love out so we can let love back in.

Giving and receiving love is our birthright.

Thanks so much for reading and viewing.

Have a beautiful, peaceful, love-filled day (and life)!

Holly

I took this photo a few weeks ago while visiting the spot where I spread my sister's ashes. I'd been feeling so much grief, so much weariness, so much loss over the last few months. Finally, I let the space embrace me. The trees, the grasses, the earth, the stones - and my sister's spirit, too - all there offering support. If you have no one to hug, hug a tree. Hug the earth.I took this photo a few weeks ago while visiting the spot where I spread my sister’s ashes. I’d been feeling so much grief, so much weariness, so much loss over the last few months. A lot of crying, a lot of cleansing tears.

Finally, I let the space embrace me. The trees, the grasses, the earth, the stones – and my sister’s spirit, too – all there offering support.

If you’ve got no one to hug, hug a tree. Hug the earth. A little love goes a long way.

Sister/Brother Giant 2015 – Engaging Expansion and Awareness in a Democracy at Risk

Occupy Tucson Sign (c) 2011 Holly TroyI did not go to Sister Giant this year – but it is an inspiring and amazing event that I would recommend to anyone who cares about the state of our planet.

Check out my post from my 2012 trip to Sister Giant:  Sustainable Politics through Love – thoughts on Sister Giant (part 1).

Love restores the bottom line, and not the other way around. ~Marianne Williamson

In notes from my experience at the 2012 Sister Giant, I wrote:

There were moments at Sister Giant where I was incredibly uplifted, and moments where I felt myself plummet to the depths of darkness as I relived how my own life has been affected by poverty and homelessness and fear and violence and sexism and racism and invisibility—and how I am not alone, not today nor in the history of our country! I also felt the relief of light shined on those dark aspects of our collective history, the “dirty little secrets” that are not secrets (sexism, racism, poverty, genocide, hunger, classism, etc.), by the voices of courageous women and men who are taking a stand for humanity—and calling all of us to do the same! I felt myself sweat and squirm, I laughed and cried, I felt the gravity of our collective and individual situations, and I experienced the capacity to love humanity and our potential to bear witness to our struggles and to be light for one another.

Our stories are powerful!

I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of the Sister Giant conference this year. I may post more about it – and also – continue to respond to my experience from a few years ago.

Marianne Williamson herself ran as an Independent for Congress in 2014. While she didn’t win the race, she still made an impact. Williamson says,

And the cause was always bigger than one woman winning one Congressional seat. I know many people who were part of the campaign, and supported it, are now doing amazing things to continue the work of peaceful revolutionary change. For myself, it’s time to create a new platform, harnessing the same conversation and in service to the same goal: political change in America aligned with the angels of our better nature. . . . This isn’t a time to whine. It’s a time to engage. For the cause of peace. For the cause of democracy. And for the cause of love.

Issues discussed at Sister Giant are:
Democracy at Risk
Mass Incarceration
Our Food Supply
The Economy
War and Peace

It is clear that our politics and our country are in crisis. We need to be engaged now, and not expect that common sense and compassion will prevail on their own. What small and not so small actions can you take to be involved in shaping your community and the world at large?

sometimes you are helpless

Humid

Breath is pulled from my lungs.
My throat goes hollow
every time a howling
fire truck wails down the street.

My throat goes hollow,
I could swallow those anxious faces peering
from the fire truck wailing down the street.
It would be safer in my mouth—

I could swallow those anxious faces peering,
despite (my) pounding temples and blurred time.
It would be safer in my mouth—
I could shout a warning.

In spite of pounding temples and blurred time,
every time there’s a howling
it’s a warning
that’s been pulled from my lungs.

* * * * *

Yesterday, when I read the news that there was a gas leak explosion in the neighborhood that was my home of twenty years, New York’s East Village, I gasped. Three buildings caught fire and collapsed. This bullet point in the Daily Mail headline haunts me: Nicholas Figueroa, 23, who was on a date at a sushi restaurant and Moises Lucon, who worked there, have been reported missing.

east village coffee shop (c) 2009 Holly TroyFire was one of my greatest fears when I lived in the city. There is nothing like the sinking feeling of walking home and seeing firetrucks on your block, or a friend’s block. How quickly fire can spread on those tenement buildings pressed up against one another.

Of course, fire is a big issue here as well. I’ve experienced two forest fires, and both times, have had friends whose homes came close to being swallowed up. Last year, when I first started dating my boyfriend, I helped him evacuate his home. The landscape was eerie and strangely beautiful, overcome with the haze of smoke and (not so) distant glow of fire.

I wrote the poem above in response to 9/11. After the attack, walking by a fire station was like walking through a pocket of sorrow – the weight of sadness in the air was palpable. So much loss. Whenever I’d see a firetruck, I was overwhelmed  by the faces of the men inside. Just, oh – I wish 9/11 never happened.

Live Long and Prosper

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner having a breakLeonard Nimoy has always been cool. Sad to see him go – but glad he spent time on the planet.

I had a secret crush on Spock when I was a little girl. I always felt like an “alien” myself – and I tend to be analytical – so I could relate to his character.

For a girl born into a mormon household in the 70s – Star Trek helped make Science interesting and normal – nothing “illogical” about it.

Nimoy made the world a better place.

I think “Spocking” would have made Leonard Nimoy smile. I suspect he had a cheeky spirit.

R.I.P. and Thank You, Leonard Nimoy.

Ban the Bag! My Letter to Flagstaff City Council

peaks (c) 2015 Holly TroyIf you have been following my blog, you may already get that I am awed by the beauty of Flagstaff. The landscape and the people here are special, and they are in my heart. A recent city council proposal has come up to ban plastic bags, so I wrote a letter. If you are a resident of Flagstaff, I urge you to write a letter to the city council as well. (council@flagstaffaz.gov) If you live somewhere else, I urge you to start up a conversation in your own community. My letter includes a list of cities across the United States that have already banned the bag – I hope it inspires you.

Think Globally – Act Locally! 


 

Dear Flagstaff City Council,

I love Flagstaff. Coming from New York City, I’m aware that most people from back east don’t even know Flagstaff exists – unless they come out here to visit the Grand Canyon. Every day that I look up and see the peaks and feel the sun shining on my face, I am grateful for this place. We have an ecosytem that is not only unique, but exquisitely beautiful. If people can’t wrap their minds around the environmental damage we suffer from plastic packaging, then, plastic bags and other trash marring the loveliness of our landscape alone should be enough to make people think twice about utilizing single-use plastic bags at the grocery checkout.
 
While the people of Flagstaff have diverse political backgrounds, I think most of us care about the environment. Banning bags seems like a simple way to begin to protect our surroundings. One shop that I frequent, Natural Grocers, has already done away with using bags at all. Instead, Natural Grocers reuses the boxes their packaged food is shipped in. Brilliant and simple! The shop has a lot less box recycling to deal with and customers make it home with their groceries intact.
 
I was interested in finding out which cities in the U.S. have banned single-use plastic bags, so I did a little research. First of all, more cities than I thought have banned plastic bags! Some of those cities are pretty big, too – San Francisco (California), Los Angeles (California), Chicago (Illinois), Austin (Texas), Dallas (Texas), and Portland (Oregon) all have bans. Many of the cities have a $.10 to $.25 fee for reusable bags and paper bags. The first person to comment on Eva Putzova’s Special to the AZ Daily Sun, Would A Ban on Plastic Bags Do Much Good? Yes suggests a fee for bags and to “let the market decide.” OK, but make fees expensive, like Brownsville, Texas has done, and charge $1.00 each for reusable plastics and paper bags.
 
Below is a list of cities in the United States that have plastic bag ban ordinances. The cities in blue have links to their ordinances. The years listed after the cities are when the plastic bag bans went into effect, not when the ordinances were drawn up. 
 
Alaska

Bethel 2010
Homer Bay 2010

Arizona
Bisbee 2014

California
Arcata 2014
Belmont 2013
Belvedere 2015Brisbane 2013
Burlingame 2013 

Calabasas 2011

Calistoga 2015
Campbell 2014 
Capitola 2013
Carmel-by-the-Sea 2013
Carpinteria 2013
Chico 2015/2016
Colma 2013
Culver City 2013
Cupertino 2013
Daly City 2013
Dana Point 2013
Danville 2016
Davis 2014.
Desert Hot Springs 2014/2015 
East Palo Alto 2013
El Cerrito 2014
Encinitas 2015

Fairfax Fairfax adopted its ban on plastic bags August 2007. After a legal challenge by the plastic industry, Fairfax voters overwhelmingly adopted a plastic bag ban by initiative in November 2008.

Fort Bragg 2013
Foster City 2103
Glendale 2014
Gonzales 2015
Grass Valley 2015
Greenfield 2015
Half Moon Bay 2013
Hercules 2015
Huntington Beach 2013
Indio 2014/2015
King City 2015
Lafayette 2015
Laguna Beach 2013
Larkspur 2014
Long Beach 2011/2012
Los Altos 2013
Los Angeles City 2014

Los Angeles County 2011/2012

Los Gatos 2014

Malibu 2008

Manhattan Beach The Manhattan Beach City Council voted to ban plastic bags in July 2008. The CA Supreme Court overturned a legal challenge to the ordinance in July 2011 and the bag ordinance went into effect six months later. The council modified the ordinance in 2012 and again in 2014.

Marin County 2012
Marina 2014
Martinez 2014/2015
Mendocino County The County Board of Supervisors adopted a plastic bag ban with a ten cent paper bag charge on June 12, 2012. Effective in large stores in January 2013, and all other retailers in January 2014. Amendments to expand the ordinance to restaurants was adopted February 25, 2014, effective August 12, 2014. Unincorporated County areas only.
Menlo Park 2013
Mill Valley 2013
Millbrae 2012 in all retail establishments, except for restaurants, non-profits, and dry-cleaners
Monrovia 2015 
Monterey 2011
Monterey County 2014
Mountain View 2013
Napa 2014
Nevada City 2015
Novato 2014
Ojai 2012
Pacific Grove 2015
Pacifica 2013
Palm Desert 2015
Palm Springs 2015
Palo Alto In 2013, the Palo Alto City Council adopted an expansion of a 2009 ordinance to include all stores and restaurants under its plastic bag ban. Paper and reusable bags would be available with a minimum charge. Previously, the ordinance only applied to plastic bags at large supermarkets.
Pasadena 2012
Pico Rivera 2016
Pittsburg 2014
Portola Valley 2013
Redwood City 2013
Richmond 2014  
Ross 2014
Salinas 2014
San Anselmo 2015
San Bruno 2013
San Carlos 2013

San Francisco 2007

San Jose 2012
San Luis Obispo County and City, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach 2012
San Mateo City 2013
San Mateo County 2013
San Pablo 2014
San Rafael 2014
Santa Barbara City 2014
Santa Clara City 2014
Santa Clara County 2012
Santa Cruz City 2013
Santa Cruz County 2012, 2013
Santa Monica 2011
Santa Rosa 2014
Sausalito 2014
Seaside 2014/2015
Solana Beach 2012
Soledad 2015
Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (Sonoma City and County, Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Windsor) 2014
South Lake Tahoe 2014
South Pasadena 2014
South San Francisco 2013
St Helena 2015
Sunnyvale 2013
Tiburon 2014
Truckee 2014
Ukiah 2012
Walnut Creek 2014
Watsonville 2012
West Hollywood 2012

Colorado
Aspen 2012
Boulder 2013
Carbondale The Carbondale Board of Trustees approved an ordinance in October 2011. Like Aspen’s ordinance, it bans plastic bags and places a 20 cent charge on paper bags in grocery stores with 3,500 square feet or more. A referendum placed the ordinance on the ballot in April 2012 and voters in Carbondale affirmed the Trustees’ decision. Effective May 2012.
Fort Collins 2015
Telluride 2011

Connecticut
Westport 2008

Washington, DC
Washington The District of Columbia Council voted June 2009 to require retailers to charge a $0.05 fee on all carryout bags. 

Hawaii
Hawaii County 2012
Honolulu County 2012
Kauai County 2011
Maui County 2011

Illinois
Chicago Passed April 30th, 2014.  Effective August 2015 for retailers of more than 10,000 square feet. The ban will extend to smaller chain stores and franchises August, 2016. Small independent or non-franchise stores and restaurants will not be affected. 
Evanston 2015

Iowa

Marshall County 2009

Maine

Portland In 2014, Portland adopted a 5 cent charge per single-use bag in grocery stores. Effective April 15, 2015.

Maryland
Montgomery County The County followed the example of the neighboring District of Columbia and passed a 5 cent minimum price requirement on single-use plastic and paper bags in May 2011. It is effective January 2012. Applies to all retailers.
Chestertown 2012

Massachusetts
Brookline 2013
Falmouth 2016
Great Barrington 2014
Manchester  2013
Marblehead 2015
Nantucket 1990
Newport 2016
Provincetown 2015

New Mexico
Santa Fe 2013
Silver City 2014

New York
East Hampton Town 2015
East Hampton Village 2012
Hastings-on-Hudson 2015
Larchmont 2013
Mamaroneck 2013
New Paltz Village 2015
Rye 2012
Southampton Town 2015
Southampton Village 2011

North Carolina
Hyde, Currituck and Dare Counties The North Carolina Legislatures banned plastic in the Barrier Islands in June 2009. The ban was extended to all businesses in the three counties in 2010.

Oregon
Corvallis 2012
Eugene 2013
Portland 2013

Rhode Island
Barrington 2015

Texas
Austin 2013
Brownsville 2011
Dallas 2015
Fort Stockton 2011
Freer 2013
Kermit 2013
Laguna Vista 2013
Laredo 2015
Port Aransas 2016
South Padre Island 2012
Sunset Valley 2013

Washington
Bainbridge Island 2012
Bellingham 2011
Edmonds 2009
Issaquah 2013/2014
Lacey 2014
Mukilteo 2013
Olympia 2014
Port Townsend 2012
Shoreline 2014
Thurston County 2014
Tumwater 2014

The above list may be found on Californians Against Waste – National List of Local Plastic Bag Ordinances

To go even further, I decided to see where bags are banned around the world. This is just a partial list from The Surfider Foundation

INTERNATIONAL 

Australia – The Government of South Australia enacted a ban on plastic checkout bags effective May 2009 while the Northern Territory has a similar ban effective since September 2011.  The Australian Capitol Territory passed and enacted their plastic bag ban in 2011 also.  Woorabinda is the first city in Queensland with a plastic bag ban, effective November 2012.  Fremantle was the first city in West Australia to ban thin plastic bags in January, 2013.  Tasmania passed a plastic checkout bag ban in 2013 that is effective November 2013.

Bangladesh – In 2002 Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags, a big reason was that littered bags exacerbated flooding.  Results have been mixed due to a lack of enforcement.

Cameroon – In August 2013, authorities in Cameroon have begun rolling out a campaign to eliminate non-degradable plastic bags by early 2014.

Chile – In June 2013, Pucon became the first city to address plastic litter with a plastic bag ban.

China – In 2008 China banned the manufacture or use of the thinnest types of plastic bags. They also prohibit supermarkets, department stores, and grocery stores from giving away thicker varieties, requiring them to charge customers for the bags.  The government claims big reductions while others claim more enforcement is needed.

Haiti – Haiti’s government ordered a plastic bag and foam foodware ban effective October 2012 but early reports claim a lack of enforcement as alternatives are sourced.

India – Efforts are underway to ban plastic bags in various parts of the county but there are no solid reports of effective programs or legislation to date.

Ireland – One of the first plastic bag reduction programs on a large scale started in Ireland in 2002 with their plastic bag fee.  The latest figures (in 2013) suggest there has been a 20-fold decrease since the levy was introduced in 2002.

Italy – In 2011 the Italian government announced a nationwide plastic checkout bag effective March 2012.  Merchants must discontinue the use of traditional single-use plastic bags in favor of bioplastic bags that are biodegradable and compostable or meet other specific requirements.

Ivory Coast – The Prime Minister announced a law banning the production, use and selling of plastic bags in the Ivory Coast effective December 2013.

Mali – The Malian government will ban the production, importation, possession, sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags, under a law passed in 2012 and effective 2013.

Mauritania – “Mauritania has banned the use of plastic bags to protect the environment and the lives of land and sea animals.  More than 70% of cattle and sheep that die in the capital, Nouakchott, are killed by eating plastic bags, environment ministry official Mohamed Yahya.”

Northern Ireland – The Northern Ireland Executive passed the Carrier Bag Levy in 2011 and it is effective April 2013.  Retailers in Northern Ireland charge at least five pence for each carrier bag handed out to customers, as part of a drive across the province to reduce plastic waste.

Pakistan – The Islamabad Capital Territory passed a plastic bag ban that takes effect on April 1, 2013.  This law bans conventional plastic bag but allows for ‘oxo biodegradable’ bags, which allows bags to degrade into plastic pieces quicker.  Not the best solution.

Phillippeans – The Philippines financial capital of Makati has banned disposable plastic shopping bags and EPS foam food containers starting in June 2013.  The law is partly to help deal with increased flooding from plastic litter.

Rwanda – A countrywide ban on plastic bags was enacted in 2008 with positive reports through to late 2013.

South Africa – A countrywide levy on plastic checkout bags went into effect in May 2003 with proceeds intended to fund a national recycling program.  Reports have been mixed:  plastic bag consumption is down and litter is likely down but there is no data to accurately report on litter.  A 2010 analysis concluded that the levy was too low to be truly effective.  

Tanzania – A countrywide ban on plastic bags has been urged by the federal governemnt since 1996 with minimal results.  Pembra Island has been successful in curbing plastic bag litter according to a 2012 news story.

Wales – The Welsh Government has introduced a 5p minimum charge on all bags (including paper bags) effective October 2011.

* * * * 

Flagstaff is a special, beautiful place. Let’s keep it that way. Ban plastic bags.

Thank you for your consideration and time.

Best,

Holly Troy (Flagstaff resident since 2007)