Little Choices, Big Difference: How to Give A Crap About the Environment

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photo by Jordan Katz

Guest post by Liza Baskir

Have you ever gone to a bar and tried to ask for a drink without a straw?  The bartender looks at you like you are crazy. And if you try to explain that you don’t want a straw because it needlessly wastes plastic, that look intensifies.   Bar etiquette dictates that each drink is served with a straw and a napkin, so, regardless of your request, you are getting a plastic straw in your drink…maybe even two.

This might not seem like a big issue, but Americans use over 500,000,000 plastic straws each day according to to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. This waste pollutes the oceans and is detrimental to sea life.  The solution seems like a no-brainer… encourage people to stop using straws, or ban them altogether.

That’s the thing about intractable environmental issues such as plastic pollution or climate change, they seem like huge, insolvable problems, but small, everyday actions can make a huge difference.  It’s like Dorothy trying to get home during the Wizard of Oz. She always had the ability to get back to Kansas; she just needed to believe that she could.

Unfortunately, our environmental problems won’t go away by clicking our collective heels together.  Some problems, such as ozone depletion, require government intervention. In 1974, scientists tied ozone depletion to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were commonly used in hair sprays and cans of shaving cream.  This discovery prompted the United States and other governments worldwide to start heavily regulating CFCs. The regulation worked­—big holes in the ozone are expected to be extinct by 2040 according to experts.

Replate takes leftover food from tech companies and distributes it to homeless people (photo by Jordan Katz).

So when you have those days you want to hide under the covers because you feel like there is no hope, just remember we were able to heal the ozone and save ourselves from a worldwide environmental crisis.  That’s pretty amazing! And what’s even more exciting is that we live in a region that has massive potential when it comes to combating environmental issues.

The Bay Area is ripe for an eco-conscious movement.  People are acutely aware of environmental problems and want to make a difference, but don’t always know how.  

Are you one of those people?  Or maybe you have some ideas of ways we can make positive change.  Either way, you should come to the Full Circle Fund Sustainability 2018:  How Everyday Actions Can Save the World community convening on July 26th.  You’ll hear from experts exploring innovations that drive adoption of sustainable practices as well as eco-conscious movement building within diverse communities and leave with tangible steps for making a more sustainable Bay Area.

And if you are interested in connecting with two amazing local nonprofits supporting this area our 2018 Grant Partners Replate and Mandela Marketplace will join us at the Convening to share how you can get involved.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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