108 Days of American Sentence – Day 18

Cold wet weight crushing old limbs already heavy with sap, springtime snow.

~

Spring snow © 2017 Holly Troy

108 Days of American Sentence – Day 10

forest in warm snowfall – trails turn to streams – pine needles beneath our feet

~~~

trails-to-streams-holly-troy-21917

My First-Time Show in Flagstaff at the May Artwalk

It’s happening – my work will be on exhibit as part of a group show called Mama Terra with the Matter(s) Collective on May 6 at b.e Yoga in downtown Flagstaff.

How the Matter(s) Collective came about

mullien © 2016 Holly TroyArtBox participants were split into two groups and tasked to create pop-up gallery events to take place in May. It quickly became clear that while our art differs in media and style, all the members of my ensemble have a passion for nature. It also happens that our show falls the weekend of Mother’s Day – so – the Mama Terra (Mother Earth) exhibit and the Matter(s) Collective (matter is Latin for mother, it’s a play on the planet as our life source, matter is earthly, and finally – matters are issues, particularly those dealing with the environment) were born.

Details on the Show

On Friday, May 6, the Matter(s) Collective, a group of nine artists will be presenting a multimedia art exhibit, Mama Terra, in celebration of Mother Earth. The exhibit will be held during the First Friday Artwalk at b.e. Yoga Center, 9 N. Leroux St. from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pmMama Terra will also commemorate b.e. Yoga Center’s grand opening—enjoy live music, refreshments, and creative play with artist-designed postcards to color and keep or send for Mother’s Day.

Spring is the time to honor Mother – and Mother Earth. The Matter(s) Collective brings together artists from Flagstaff, Winslow, and the Hopilands as they champion Mama Terra! The exhibit will feature book art, botanical illustration, photography, paintings, fiber art, and sculpted metal works that highlight the beauty, inspiration, and solace that we find in the natural world. As participants of the Flagstaff Art’s Council 2016 ArtBox Institute, the Matter(s) Collective explores community, creativity, and how art contributes to the sustainability of ourselves, our communities, and our planet.

Matter(s) Collective members (alphabetical):

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I haven’t been out to play so much these last couple of months — I’ve been busy putting together this show and painting in my little studio. I’ll be ready to celebrate by the May 6th First Friday Artwalk (which also happens to be the Taurus New Moon, perfect for new beginnings having to do with art and beauty) – so pop in and say “hello” – I’d love to see you.

Thanks for reading!

Holly

Stepping Into My Artist Self

For the last several months, I have been a participant in the Flagstaff Art Council’s ArtBox Institute. It’s been a deeply transformative time as I have been dedicating myself to thriving as an artist.

I will say this – being an artist does not have to mean making an oath to loneliness or poverty.

I have my first show in Flagstaff, AZ coming up in May. This is my current artist statement – you’re seeing it here first! 

My work is a physical response to my relationship with Nature and how I move through it. I’m not satisfied with skittering along the surface, with looking at the world from a distance—I have to dive in, get dirty. Whether I’m mountain biking, meditating or painting, I explore the edges, the places of shift and change, where the thin quiver of constant movement along boundaries is almost unseen. Pushing the edge requires being in the moment; it can be prickly, sharp, and jagged—it can also be fun, expansive, and sublime. My paintings often begin as a meditation in agitation. Pressing the surface of discomfort, moving with the medium, creates a shift. The result is playful and raw. I know a piece is done when I step back from the canvas and find myself dancing.

one and one makes three, oil on canvas, 18%22 x 18%22 © 2016 Holly Troy INSTA
One and One Makes Three, Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 18″ © 2016 Holly Troy

Thanks for reading!

Holly

The Invitation to Feel More

IMG_0431From the grief of this year rose gratitude. A deep gratitude for my life, for human connection (however brief), for the bond with light and plants and trees and air, with animals, for the hard work and devotion it takes to get out there into the woods, to push myself up rocks and dirt, to move through fear and frustration and laziness, to move beyond what I thought I could ever do – just to see the next field of grass, sunflower, aspen, to look over the wide expanse of the landscape, its history, the sky and earth, the stars, and say, “wow.”

In Ian MacKenzie’s film, Stephen Jenkinson – The Meaning of Death,  Jenkinson asks – “What if meaning is not hidden?”

MacKenzie’s article, The Meaning of Death – Stephen Jenkinson, features outtakes from the film that are worth considering.

A few quotes that resonated with me below . . .

 . . . a lot of people in the world, ancestrally, knew long ago that that being content or that sense of well-being, that’s a consequence of your willingness to help the world live. That your happiness is actually a corollary—let me change happiness—that your health is a corollary of the health of everything around you.

. . . We use the word crisis to describe something that shouldn’t be or shouldn’t happen. I’m using the word to say the crisis is determined by our unwillingness to know it, that’s what makes it critical. But the world dies to keep us alive. Fortunately not all the world at the same time, at least so far. We’ll see. Or maybe we won’t see.

Grief is the willingness to be claimed by a story bigger than the one you wish for.

What a revolutionary proposition to realize that your heartbrokenness turns out to be the key to your willingness to remember what it takes to be a human being.

To see the whole beautiful article, click here.

Learn more about Stephen’s work at Orphan Wisdom.

 

Having a Place

I came across this essay while pulling a manuscript together. It was written in the spring of 2009. I’ve left Flagstaff and come back twice since then. I love this place – and since I ride my bicycle almost everywhere I go, my relationship to Flagstaff has changed from when I drove everywhere. I’ve slowed down, I notice more. Having place, being in this place, is a rich experience.

IMG_3605Having Place

New things are OK, but new places are even better. Bill Plotkin, author of Nature and the Human Soul, says that soul is a place where we reside, not a thing that resides in us. We must find our place. When we are displaced, it is sharp and painful.

My soul moves a lot. It is in New York City, then, it’s here in Flagstaff, it’s onstage creating an outpouring of music, it’s in bed with my lover, in a yoga studio, on the mountains. It goes to Buenos Aires, Peru, Costa Rica, the South of France, Ireland, Prague, Morrocco.

My body hasn’t caught up to all the places my soul goes.

Lately, I believe my soul has been hanging out with Amit, my seven year-old sponsor child who lives in Northern India. I’ve been Amit’s sponsor mom for three years. He is a lovely little boy who is beginning to smile more easily in the pictures Children International sends to me. His skin is the color of terra cotta; his eyes are so large that they open his whole face. His lips are tiny, like a little heart.

Amit’s birth mother sends me letters – telling me Amit is too young to write. He colors pictures for me. His favorite color is red. I have not sent any pictures of myself to Amit, though it has recently occurred to me that he might enjoy that. I wonder what he would think of my red hair.

If it is true that a photograph steals your soul, then, I will happily send mine to India.

The Earth says have a place/be what that place requires. (William Stafford)

I have not been to many places in the world. I’ve never left North America. I am soon moving to Boulder, Utah, population 180. I will be living among Mormons and Buddhists. My lover and I will be apart for seven months. Then, I will go to another place.

My soul has moved to another place and I’m not sure where it is.

How many times have I said I’m sick of this place! I’m done! I’m tired! What if I turned around and nurtured a place – really paid attention to it and loved it? Would it love me back?

When I first came to Flagstaff, the mountains fascinated me as I drove east on 89 toward home. Wow! You don’t see this everyday! Now I’ve lived here for a little less than two years, and I barely notice them. I notice cars, traffic, bad drivers, the budget, Jillian Ferris Cole announcing that I am listening to KNAU.

There’s a quality of honesty when a place is new, when I am a stranger.

Sometimes a place simply requires us to leave.

How permeable is place? One of my teachers, Swami Swaroopananda, says that our souls become fully formed on Earth when we turn about 35. Before that, we aren’t completely here – we are still working with karma from past lives. Once are souls are grounded, we need to live our lives more profoundly, making new meaning for ourselves.

Place requires us to be conscious.

I made the conscious decision not to have children. Last August, I had my tubes tied. When I met the doctor who performed the procedure, she assumed I already had children. I simply ran out of time prior to meeting her to fill out the page that asked, How many pregnancies carried to term? She described the procedure and I had two weeks to think about it.

I came prepared with a list of reasons for not wanting children.

  • Carbon footprint – the world has enough humans.
  • I can’t afford a child; I can’t afford myself – I live a very simple, minimal life, yet I am in debt.
  • I believe if people are going to have children, they should have only one. I know enough people who have more than two, therefore, my allotment is taken.
  • I believe there is a possibility of insanity in my family that is genetic.
  • I’ve played the role of parent to too many people already—now I need to take care of myself.

I had the list down and I didn’t have to use it.

A few months earlier, I saw a popular gynecologist in town. I took off of work in the middle of the day. I waited for 45 minutes past my appointment time amongst exhausted mothers hushing crying babies in one arm, holding onto snot-covered toddlers with the other arm, and shifting their sore pregnant bodies uncomfortably from one position to another.

When I was called from the waiting room, I was weighed while wearing three layers of jackets and a sweater and a pair of boots. Then, I waited another ten minutes for the doctor to arrive. Posters of smiling babies with bright mothers hung on the office walls. Several parenting magazines featuring cherubic cuties on the covers were next to my chair.

I was in the wrong place.

Still, I bravely told the doctor I was there for a routine check-up and to discuss what a tubal ligation would entail.

She clenched her teeth, “You don’t want that.”

I gave her my top reasons for not wanting children. She practically covered her ears. Her eyes narrowed. She pushed a new form of IUD when I refused the pill, said I hadn’t met “Mr. Right” yet and closed the discussion.

She left the room. Even though I felt like telling her off, I stayed for the examination. I got undressed, put on a paper robe, sat on the exam table and waited. She came back into the office chattering away about her two girls. She never stopped talking about them during the exam, which was quick and rough. She never stopped to say, “I’m inserting the speculum now, I’m taking a pap sample now . . .”

I wanted to ask her who was raising her children while she was at work.

Tearing the top of my paper robe for my breast exam, she noticed my mala beads. While pressing my breasts and squeezing my nipples she smiled tightly and mentioned she did yoga. I told her I was a teacher and that I practice my mantra with my beads.

Feet still in stirrups, top half of my body entirely exposed, she thrust her hand out for me to shake. “Nice meeting you. If you’re interested in an IUD, give me a call.”

I felt the pinch of politics of this place.

I wanted to tell her to go to hell, but I could not because she was a friend of a friend. I was in a daze of anger when I left her office. I had to concentrate on driving carefully and politely.

When I finally had the procedure, my lover came with me. He held my hand until they wheeled me away.

The anesthesiologist was a kind woman. She looked at us approvingly. “Honey, before you go to sleep, I want to hear you say, ‘No more babies.’”

Huh? Oh yeah. “No more babies.”

They were taking care of me. I let them. I felt like they practically cooed at me before I surrendered.

Be what the place requires. 

What if my place is my body?

 

 

 

 

Hallelujah

Flying, swooping, listening to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah sung by Jeff Buckley while riding in the forest.

sun through the forest (c) 5.2015 Holly Troy

The sunlight shining through the trees was stunning. Through the camera lens, the light took on an almost solid quality.

Light as entity.

Just as I was coming to this place I was here in the song:

. . . your faith was strong/but you needed proof/you saw her bathing on the roof/her beauty in the moonlight overthrew ya/she tied you to a kitchen chair/she broke your throne and she cut your hair/and from your lips she drew the halellujah . . .

I stopped to listen – and that’s when I saw the light.

A Deal With God

Schulz Creek Road and Peak (c) 2015 Holly Troy

I looked up while riding Schulz Creek Road and saw the peaks. I’ve been living out here for almost eight years and I am still in awe of the beauty of this place. To either side of me was single track which I normally ride — I chose the road so I could still get a ride in while nursing an injured leg. The way down though was all swoopy fun on the AZ Trail and Moto before crossing over to Schulz Creek Trail.

To my left I saw Tom riding single track just above me. He is a graceful rider, he makes climbing look effortless. He did not see me. He was focused on the climb. Watching Tom glide and disappear into the forest and the view of the mountains inspired me to pedal faster up that hill.

If there is a God for me, it is Nature.

I started singing this song as I rolled up the hill . . .

Running up that Hill (Deal With God)

From Wikipedia – The song itself has often been misinterpreted. Bush herself has said,

I was trying to say that, really, a man and a woman, can’t understand each other because we are a man and a woman. And if we could actually swap each other’s roles, if we could actually be in each other’s place for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised! [Laughs] And I think it would lead to a greater understanding. And really the only way I could think it could be done was either… you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. And I thought, ‘well, no, why not a deal with God!’ You know, because in a way it’s so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you. You see, for me it is still called “Deal With God”, that was its title. But we were told that if we kept this title that it would not be played in any of the religious countries, Italy wouldn’t play it, France wouldn’t play it, and Australia wouldn’t play it! Ireland wouldn’t play it, and that generally we might get it blacked purely because it had God in the title.[4]

It doesn’t hurt me
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making?
You
It’s you and me

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building
Say, if I only could, oh

You don’t want to hurt me
But see how deep the bullet lies
Unaware I’m tearing you asunder
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts
Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don’t we?
You
It’s you and me
It’s you and me, you won’t be unhappy

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building
Say, if I only could, oh

You
It’s you and me
It’s you and me, you won’t be unhappy

Oh come on, baby
Oh come on, darling
Let me steal this moment from you now
Oh come on, angel
Come on, come on, darling
Let’s exchange the experience, oh

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems

Say, if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems

Say, if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
And be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems

Say, if I only could
I’d be running up that hill
With no problems

If I only could
I’d be running up that hill
If I only could
I’d be running up that hill

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)