Archive for October 2017 | Monthly archive page

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on Nickels for Nonprofits

by Jennifer Witherspoon, DC EcoWomen Executive Board, Vice Chair of Communications

The Dollars and (non) Cents of Single Use Plastic Bags

Whole Foods recently selected DC EcoWomen to be a recipient of donations through its “Nickels for Nonprofits” program. Now through December 17, each time you use your own reusable bag instead of a plastic bag at any of the Whole Foods’ store locations in Montgomery County, MD, 5 cents will be donated to DC EcoWomen. Please be sure to specify at the point of purchase that you want your nickels to be donated to DC EcoWomen!

Why is this important? You’ll be supporting DC EcoWomen and our mission to inspire and empower women to become leaders for the environmental community, plus you’ll also be doing your part to reduce plastic pollution.

Plastic Bags are Suffocating the Planet

According to One Green Planet: Single-use disposable plastic bags are suffocating the planet, with 60,000 plastic bags being consumed in the U.S. every five seconds. Manufacturers produce plastic bags by using non-renewable resources, such as petroleum or natural gas. Plastic bags take huge amounts of energy to manufacture, transport across the country, and recycle. They don’t break down in landfill sites, but over time they release dangerous chemicals. Plastic bags are difficult to recycle, blocking the sorting equipment used by most recycling facilities. They contribute to a widespread, global litter problem.

Plastic trash washed up on the shore in Mexico. © John Schneider (via Flickr)

More Plastics in the Ocean than Fish by 2050

According to the Ocean Conservancy: Trash in the water and on the shore can be mistaken as food by wildlife, or entangle animals with lethal consequences. Plastic also attracts and concentrates other pollutants from surrounding seawater, posing a contamination risk to those species that then eat it. Scientists are studying the impacts of that contamination on fish and shellfish and as well as the possible impact it may have on human health as well.

Plastic bags were only introduced to the American shopper in the 1960s. In a business as usual scenario, researchers from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predict that plastic production will triple in volume from 2014 to 2050, and project that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050.

Bag the Plastic Bag

Fortunately, cities, states and countries have been implementing bag fees since 2002. San Francisco was the first city in America to regulate the use of plastic bags in 2007 and Washington, DC soon followed with its own “Bag Law” – the first in the nation to impose a bag fee. Revenues from DC’s bag fee go to the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund and have been used to implement a variety of watershed educational, trash capture and stream restoration projects throughout the Anacostia Watershed. Though reports have been mixed on DC’s overall success in reducing plastic bag use as well as how the funds are allocated, it seems clear that we can all do our part to reduce plastic waste.

Get Active, Fight Plastic Pollution, Spread the Word!

Let’s get into action to fight plastic pollution! Please join DC EcoWomen in bringing a reusable tote to shop at Whole Foods and ask that your nickel go towards DC EcoWomen. Put an extra tote in your purse or backpack for those unanticipated shopping moments. You can purchase an EcoWomen tote bag for yourself, or to share this holiday season.

The funds from Whole Food’s Nickels for Non-Profits program supports DC EcoWomen in hosting educational events such as our recent EcoHour conversation with Julie Lawson, the co-founder of Trash Free Maryland, who led efforts to pass DC’s “Bag Law.”

We’ll have a flyer available soon so that you can help spread the word in your office or in your community. You can also follow DC EcoWomen on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and re-share our posts with your community. You can post photos of yourself shopping with a reusable bag too! Please tag @WholeFoods and @DCEcoWomen and consider using hash tags such as #BagPlastic #NickelsforDCEcoWomen.

If the plastic bag was introduced to shoppers 40 years ago, let’s ban it in the next 40 years!

posted by | on , , , | Comments Off on Reflecting on the Greenermind Summit

By Caroline Howe

A number of DC EcoWomen attended the Greenermind Summit in late September, an annual sustainability event that provides a forum for mission-driven people to come together to share innovative ideas, teach each other new skills, make meaningful connections, and even just have solo time to rest and recharge.

The Greenermind Summit began in the Bay Area, bringing together people interested in connecting as people, rather than as jobs. A refreshing break from traditional networking led by, “What do you do?” questions, the Greenermind Summit focused getting to know who we are, what drives us and what makes us feel alive. DC EcoWoman Christine Jacobs moved from the Bay Area to DC, and was hungry for that type of connection, particularly hard to find in this career networking-focused city. She brought together volunteer organizers to organize the first Greenermind Summit East. 

Held at the gorgeous Camp Varsity in Madison, Virginia, the weekend included a mix of play, reflection and community building. By disconnecting from our phones, our work and our daily lives, we were able to connect more deeply with the gorgeous late summer weather in the woods as well as with each other. 

We enjoyed a mix of workshops facilitated by participants on everything from Cuba and its environmental challenges to improv and finding “enoughness” in a world that always values more. The Greenermind Summit is a participant-driven event, not a panel of “talking head” experts. There’s an un-conference, which means that the agenda for a series of small group conversations is set by the attendees themselves. 

In Saturday’s “un conference,” we engaged in conversations proposed by participants around topics like the future of community, financing climate initiatives, and sharing our food histories. We also harnessed the collective brilliance of the group, by having a workshop that focused on five participants’ ideas or current challenges in a “brain power hour.”

In our closing circle, we all shared a sense of being refreshed and rejuvenated from our time outside and in play, as well as energized by the powerful community. 

I’ll be taking inspiration from my experience at the Greenermind summit and will apply it to my participation with DC EcoWomen and in other areas of my life. I am a member of the DC EcoWomen Executive Board, on our Programs Committee, designing the activities that connect EcoWomen through shared service and shared learning about our world. Post-GMS, I intend to bring play into more of our activities, as well as offering some guiding questions as we get to know each other during activities of service or exploration. I will be applying a sense of play to my participation in DC EcoWomen, as well as organizing more moments for us to get outside and play together!