Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.21 Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it

07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]

07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]

07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]

07.21 Nancy Pelosi's Dem Socialist Challenger Shahid Buttar: "We're Gonna Win" | Full Interview [5:43 video]

07.21 Jon Stewart goes viral excoriating Rand Paul after blocking vote [9:02 video]

07.21 Nicolle Wallace Refuses to Broadcast Trump Live [5:43 video]

07.21 Sassy Bernie Sanders Sh*ts on Jeff Bezos on His Home Turf... Numerous Times [17:22 video]

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

International & Futurism

07.21 Millions face hardship as Zimbabwe comes close to ‘meltdown’

07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  BYOB: A Guide to Prompting a Culture Shift
Newspaper logo

SPEAKING OUT:

BYOB: A Guide to Prompting a Culture Shift

by Karen Hosler
Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The great success story is Ireland, where a 15 Euro-cent plastic bag tax imposed in 2002 quickly resulted in a 90 percent drop in bag use.

I need some help to break the disposable bag habit.

I know those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags are a major source of litter on both land and sea, and that such debris can poison fish and choke wildlife. I’ve cringed at bags stuck in trees along the highway and twisted in tall grasses that line tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Yet, a reusable cloth bag languishes in the back seat of my car, utterly forgotten until it mocks me when I return from shopping carrying more of the wretched plastic things.

Luckily, there’s new hope for anti-bag action from the nation’s capital. The District of Columbia City Council recently approved a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags dispensed by groceries, restaurants, liquor stores, and quick marts beginning in January. Amazingly, the vote was unanimous.

D.C.’s shut-out victory comes at a time when the Baltimore City Council is struggling to gain traction on a similar measure, the Philadelphia City Council rejected a plastic bag ban outright and the Annapolis City Council, an early leader in the anti-bag debate, seems to have given up on the effort.

Lessons from the legislative drive led by D.C. City Councilman Tommy Wells could guide anti-bag crusaders elsewhere. He said he designed it like an election campaign. He mastered his subject, learned from mistakes elsewhere, built a coalition of supporters, framed the debate, muted or isolated the opposition and essentially had the battle already won when he introduced the bill in February with 12 of 13 council members as lead sponsors.

Some key bits of wisdom gleaned:

A fee on both paper and plastic bags is more practical than a plastic ban. Plastic bags are cheaper than paper. Thus, a proposal to ban plastic draws fierce opposition from merchants and fails to address the environmental and energy costs of paper. A tax or fee—call it what you will--can be put toward a clean-up fund, but the real goal is to inspire shoppers to bring their own bag.

The great success story is Ireland, where a 15 Euro-cent plastic bag tax imposed in 2002 quickly resulted in a 90 percent drop in bag use. Merchants were discouraged from offering paper alternatives, so most Irish shoppers started carrying cloth bags. When plastic bag use started to creep back up in 2006, the bag levy was raised by another seven cents in 2007, and the trend reversed. Baltimore is considering a 25-cent bag fee for maximum effect. But Wells feared a high fee couldn’t pass and believes the Irish proved the smaller levy can also work.

The anti-bag campaign should be built around a clear environmental mission. In Washington, the cause was the Anacostia River--a long troubled waterway polluted by 20,000 tons of trash a year, of which half is plastic bags. In Ireland, there was great concern about the loss of the fabled green countryside, which was being spoiled by unsightly plastic bags. Neither Baltimore nor Philadelphia has so clearly identified such a rallying point.

Chief among the talking points of the American Chemistry Council, which represents plastic bag makers, is that bag fees amount to a tax on the poor.

Don’t let the opposition turn the debate on class and income. Chief among the talking points of the American Chemistry Council, which represents plastic bag makers, is that bag fees amount to a tax on the poor. This powerful argument has been embraced by Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and could well doom the legislation.

In similar circumstances, Wells fought back two ways. He discovered that many of the elderly poor shop at discount groceries that are able to lower their food prices by charging for bags. Thus, he could argue that free bags for the rich and lazy are effectively being subsidized by the poor.

Beyond that, Wells contended it was insulting to suggest that poor people don’t care about the environment. Here, again, the Anacostia was a particularly helpful symbol. It flows through Washington’s poorest neighborhoods, and lacks the prestige of the iconic Potomac. Cleaning up the Anacostia thus became a social justice issue.

Washington’s experience should mark a turning point in the anti-bag debate. Neither convenience nor tough times justifies maintaining this destructive practice. Mary Pat Clarke, a Baltimore city councilwoman who has long championed the anti-bag cause, predicts some form of bag restriction will pass this year.

As for me, I’ve got two cloth bags riding shotgun now. I still forget to take them into stores, but return with my hands full of un-bagged stuff to avoid the bags’ reproach.

Guilt only accomplishes so much, though. Take it from the Irish, a good kick in the fee department can work wonders.


Karen Hosler, a former editorial writer for the Baltimore Sun, is a reporter and commentator for 88.1 WYPR in Baltimore. This article is distributed by Bay Journal News Service. Visit www.bayjournalnewsservice.com or call 410-972-2470 to learn more about this service or to access its past columns and news and feature stories.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on July 7, 2009.
 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland