It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you are on your personal zero waste journey. Where to start? How to deal with setbacks? How to stay motivated? How to power thru periods of despair? One pledge to make is to VOTE in every single election.
I don't want to go down the rabbit hole that is US national politics. Of course, you should vote Tuesday Nov 8, 2022. Plus, you should vote in every town, city, municipal and state election. This is where change begins.
A couple of years ago my city passed a no plastic bag ordinance. I remember the public forums- the dire predictions. As a "little old lady" I especially resented the warnings about how I would suffer carrying a heavy grocery bag instead of a few plastic bags. It was also going to be very difficult for folks to remember to BYOB- bring your own bags. How would they ever manage? And of course, the expensive of purchasing reusable bags was going to be prohibitive. The plastic bag ban passed, folks adjusted and figured it out. My city wasn't the only one, there was a ripple effect up and down the coast of bag banning. Sept 2020 began a state wide ban, with a few Covid detours. This change happened because folks got out and voted.
Hawaii was the first state to ban plastic bags back in 2012. According to the Surfrider Foundation, "This was not done by the state legislature, but instead by all four County Councils - a great example of local activists and decision-makers addressing the serious issue of plastic pollution."
Maine is the first state to ban styrofoam food containers. This is a huge deal for an ocean dependent state. Polystyrene, the official name for styrofoam can not be recycled and it breaks down into teeny, tiny bits especially when tossed out the car window as liter. The teeny tiny bits can be mistaken for food by many sea creatures and those teeny tiny bits end up polluting our water and food supply.
According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, "Plastic foam food containers are among the top 10 most commonly littered items in the U.S. and more than 256 million pieces of disposable foam cups, plates, bowls, platters, and trays are used every year in Maine." Thank you governor Janet Mills for signing this bill back in April 2019.
Plastic bag and styrofoam bans are big steps towards a healthy planet. It's vital to make your voice heard and take the time to be a committed voter. Many states and municipalities are making it easy for busy folks to be heard with online registration and absentee ballots.
Voting makes your voice heard, makes a difference in the world and moves us towards a more balanced and healthy planet. Just do it- VOTE!