Saturday, November 20, 2010

Plastic Bags: UB Monster, Music Video, and Bag Bans

Plastic bags are not bio-degradable and they are accumulating in land fills, polluting our waterways and oceans, and can harm wildlife. Cutting back on plastic grocery bags will not only protect our environment, but also reduce our need for oil, the source of chemicals used to make them.

Students in the UB Environmental Network recently held an event that included the "UB Bag Monster", a creature made of 550 plastic bags and one eco-friendly UB student who wanted to make the point that plastic bags are bad for the environment.

Instead of packing groceries in single-use plastic, Do One Thing for the Environment: bring your own re-useable bags to the store.

Another group is using music and comedy to show you what you can do to oppose the plastic bag industry, as seen in the video below featuring a parody of the song "Empire State of Mind".

Bans on Plastic Bags are spreading across the U.S.

Plastic bags are outlawed in San Francisco and other California cities, including Malibu, Fairfax and Palo Alto. Bans are in effect in Westport, Connecticut, Bethel, Alaska, and Edmonds, Washington. A ban in North Carolina's Outer Banks was expanded from large retailers to all stores. Bans take effect in January in Brownsville, Texas, and Hawaii's Kauai and Maui counties.

Parts of Los Angeles County have recently banned stores from using single-use plastic bags. It bans stores from giving customers single-use plastic bags and would require them to charge 10 cents for each paper bag. The ordinance would apply to parts of the county where an estimated 1.1 million people live. Read the recent report at

E-Waste: The Story of Electronic Stuff

The Story of Electronics explores the high-tech revolution's collateral damage—25 million tons of electronic-gadget waste (e-waste) and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill.

Host Annie Leonard (The Story of Stuff) takes viewers from the mines and factories where our electronic gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green 'race to the top' where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable.

Check out the video, and, if your electronic gadgets can not be donated and reused, see links below for information on where to recycle them locally.

Erie County holds several computer and electronics recycling events every year.

The EPA has a handy chart listing local retail stores that take back used TVs, computers, cell phones, rechargeable batteries and other e-waste.

Remember Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff ? To view the The Story of Stuff
and read an earlier post on Sustainability, click here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Solving Global Warming with Renewable Energy and Green Jobs in Washington, DC produced a cute video summarizing their solutions to global warming and climate change in three simple steps. Check it out.

Three Steps:

  1. Get off Fossil Fuels and Invest in Renewable Energy
  2. Cut Carbon Pollution
  3. Create Green Jobs

To solve the global warming problem and stabilize the climate, we must phase out fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy, like wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels. This transition will stimulate innovation, grow our economy, create new jobs, protect our environment and preserve our health and well being.

For more details, visit 1Sky Solutions.

By the way, looking for a Job? 1Sky is hiring! Click here.

Public Meeting: Buffalo Land Use & Zoning

The City of Buffalo is working to revamp its city-wide land use and zoning regulations. The resulting “Buffalo Green Code” will guide the character of future development for years to come. It aims to grow our economy, protect our environment, preserve the natural and cultural heritage of our city, and build great neighborhoods. Because it will have a comprehensive and long-lasting impact, Mayor Brown is committed to making this effort open and accessible to all citizens.

We will begin the work by listening to citizens about their hopes for the future of Buffalo. Please plan to participate in one of the three city-wide conversations, each held at
7:00pm – 8:45pm, on the following dates and locations:
  1. Tuesday, November 16, Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo [Map]
  2. Wednesday November 17, Bennett High School, 2885 Main St, Buffalo [Map]
  3. Thursday, November 18, Tosh Collins Community Center, 35 Cazenovia St, Buffalo [Map]
Getting it right means making sure it works for you. And we can’t do that without you. So, join us in making our vision for the future a reality. Also, please help spread the word about the meetings around town.

On behalf of Mayor Byron W. Brown, I thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event.


Robert Shibley

To see a newsletter for more details, click here.

To visit the Buffalo Green Code
website, click here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bill McKibben to Speak in Buffalo at Environmental Congress

2010 WNY Environmental Congress

Featuring author, educator and environmentalist,
Bill McKibben*

Join us to participate in a discussion of recent progress on efforts to improve our environment and learn how we can all work together to protect Western New York's natural resources in 2011.

The congress is open to all interested participants.

November 13, 2010 from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm at City Honors High School, Buffalo, NY.


*Bill McKibben, scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, is the author of twelve books, including The End of Nature (1989), the first book for a general audience about global warming, and, more recently, Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future (2007), which addresses what the he sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise. His latest book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet explores what it means to live on a planet that we have changed fundamentally. McKibben is a founder of high-profile campaigns to raise awareness about climate change, both nationally ( and globally (

VIDEO: Buffalo's Architectural Gems

This video highlights Buffalo's historic architecture in aerial shots taken in different lighting conditions. It was made to be shown to members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is hosting its annual conference in Buffalo next fall. Watch it and see Buffalo's masterworks by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H. H. Richardson and Frederick law Olmsted as well as vibrant neighborhoods that are rebuilding, block by block.

The Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitor Bureau produced the project with local filmmaker John Paget. "People told me, 'Wow, you did a great job with the cinematography," but actually my job was kind of easy when you have such beautiful buildings," Paget said in a report to The Buffalo News.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fracking Protesters March in Pittsburgh

Hundreds of protesters marched and rallied outside the Pittsburgh Convention Center this afternoon as a shale gas drilling convention went on inside.

In reference to the protest of Marcellus Shale gas drilling using the controversial method of fracking, City Councilman Doug Shields said, "This is about our health. This is about our children. This is about our air. This is about our clean water. This is about public safety. It's time for us to give our voices to this."

A brief report and pictures are
here. To check out a video of the march, click here.