Supermarket chain Stop & Shop removes single-use plastic bags from all Connecticut stores

This move to remove plastic bags from their stores comes a year before a Connecticut law will ban the bags state-wide.

The supermarket chain will start by providing free paper bags, then in September charging a 10-cent fee. Also, the store will run a program where customers can exchange one or more single-use plastic bags for a reusable bag.

And of course, Stop & Shop will offer a selection of reusable bags for purchase.

Rudy DiPietro, the senior vice president of operations at Stop & Sthop, commented – “We know that the environmental impact of plastics is something our customers and communities care about here in Connecticut, so we’re eliminating single-use plastic bags well ahead of the state-mandated timeline”.

To read the full article, published by Supermarket News, click here.

Major US Newspapers Are Not Reporting on the UN’s Newest Climate Crisis Warning

In May of this year, the UN released another alarming report on species extinction – but almost no one in the media is talking about it. Only 19 of the top 50 US newspapers covered the report.

The UN released a partial report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – “Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’, Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’, Current global response insufficient; ‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature; 1,000,000 species threatened with extinction”.

Then, Public Citizen did a study on the top 50 major US newspapers, to find how this report was being covered in the media. Shockingly, 31 of those outlets had no coverage on the report at all! Here is a total summary of their findings:

  • Thirty-one of the top 50 papers did not cover the U.N. report in their print editions.
  • The remaining 19 papers produced 48 total pieces that at least referenced the U.N. report.
  • Among pieces that covered the report, 67 percent connected the possible extinction of one million species to the climate crisis.
  • The Washington Post produced the most coverage with nine pieces, including three columns and an editorial.
  • Twenty-nine percent or 14 of the articles were reprints from other publications or wire services. Eight of these 14 reprinted an Associated Press article by Seth Borenstein.
  • Eight papers editorialized on the report: the Houston Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, The New York Times, Newsday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Virginian-Pilot, and The Washington Post.
  • Forty percent of pieces on the U.N. report discussed how we can prevent such a massive loss of biodiversity, including by mitigating climate change.
  • Twenty percent of pieces discussed barriers to saving threatened species, such as efforts by the Trump Administration to weaken the Endangered Species Act.
  • Just one mention of the report, in the “Fake Test” section of the New York Post, was dismissive of the findings.
  • A total of 30 letters to the editor referencing the report were published among 13 of the top 50 papers.

You can read more about Public Citizen’s study on this here and here.

The IPBES report contains vital information that needs to be shared with the public. It “also presents a wide range of illustrative actions for sustainability and pathways for achieving them across and between sectors such as agriculture, forestry, marine systems, freshwater systems, urban areas, energy, finance and many others”. To read the U.N.’s partial release of the report, please see here.

Chester County Clean Energy Tour

Don’t miss it: Saturday, October 19, 2019, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Did you know Chester County is a state leader in solar energy and energy efficiency? Across the County, 20.88 MW are produced in 839 Installations (#2 in PA). Join us for a tour of exemplary clean energy projects at our schools, universities, businesses, farms, non-profits, municipalities and homes. Be inspired at this FREE event that features self-guided tours and open house tours across the County.

The logos to the left show sponsors of the Chesco tour. There will be more! Note that Chester County’s topic for the day is much broader than the national solar theme.

Kick-off events will provide an orientation and suggested route. The homes, businesses, and public places you visit will demonstrate green technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, green design, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and more. Learn how your home, workplace, local schools and municipal facilities can be part of the transition to cleaner, safer renewable energy.

For your organization to endorse the tour, please download the invitation and (p. 3) endorsement form ASAP here: Energy tour endorsement letter and form

To find out more about proposing for the tour your clean energy installation of any sort (in addition to those listed above, green roofs, electricity storage, LEED certification, rain collection, and much more) download this: Solar tour host invitation

Fill out the proposal for your installation to be on the tour online here.

Register to attend the tour here.

Be part of the largest national renewable energy event ever and be one of the many forward-thinking hosts or participants from across the country!

The tour is coordinated by Solar United Neighbors and the American Solar Energy Society, with help from Chester County Ready for 100% Renewable. See more about the nationwide National Solar tour here.

Where’s the Chesco Health Dept. when people really need it?

According to Chester County Coroner Dr. Christina VandePol (download the Aug. 2 press release here),

The Chester County Coroner’s Office is releasing data on drug overdose deaths in Chester County from January 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019. A total of 65 people have been confirmed to have died of a drug overdose during this period, with 62 deaths determined to be accidental and 3 due to suicide. …

Something seems amiss in how the County organizes its services! The Health Department does not deal with this major health epidemic, but when you look at the Health Department home page you find under “Environmental Services”:

New Fees for Food and other Establishments (Effective May 1st, 2019)
Housing, Insect, and Vector Concerns
Spotted Lanternfly Information
Public Bathing Places
Emergency Action Plan for Food Establishments
Healthy Stream Recreation
Farmers’ Market Guidelines
Temporary Event Application
Food Establishments
Sewage and Water
Request Existing Sewage/Well Permit

What does the spotted lanternfly have to do with human health? Why does the Health Department spend $200,000+ a year on mosquito control when the chief mosquito-related health problem it cites, West Nile Virus, has never caused one fatal case acquired in Chester County, compared to thousands of fatal opioid overdoses?

In the Health Department’s “A-Z Health Topic List,” you can find bats and dog licenses, and even Zika Virus (which is not transmitted by insects this far north), but no link to information about an epidemic that is killing an average of 2.5 people a week in Chester County! (You’d think Drug and Alcohol Services would feature itt, but good luck finding even one reference to fentanyl there.)

Why doesn’t the County have an Environment Department, with trained experts in environment and sustainability, to deal with concerns like over-proliferation of some species and existential threats to others, climate change, excessive water runoff, stream erosion, air and water pollution, environmental degradation from trash and especially single-use plastics, renewable energy, and so much more?

Then the Health Department could focus on its job: health.

“Toxic Textiles”: fast fashion and its effects on the environment

Green America, an environmental organization, conducted a report exploring environmental initiatives in leading clothing stores. The report looked at 14 major apparel companies to see if they were addressing issues like chemical use and waste from clothing production.

(+) means a company has a policy/goal, and metrics/plans in place; (/) means a company says it has a policy but doesn’t go into details; blank means a company does not talk about this policy. For chemicals, (•) means a company has an RSL but does not have an MRS; read full report for more details – greenamerica.org

Based on their investigations, they had four major findings:

  1. Many companies had large commitments without concrete plans, metrics, or timelines,
  2. Transparency is improving but mostly still lacking.
  3. Companies market token sustainability initiatives and brands.
  4. Overall, there are leaders and laggards.

The environment has been greatly impacted by “fast fashion”. Not too long ago, buying new clothes monthly was rare. Now, apparel stores have new clothes out every week – and American consumers purchase the clothes just as fast. Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production almost doubled! And consumers don’t hold on to their new purchases nearly as long as they used to. The Council for Textile Recycling estimates that Americans throw away 70 pounds of clothes and other textiles every year. That is a massive amount of waste that is being produced – and 66% of it goes directly to landfills.

Green Team’s advice to you is to purchase new clothes only when absolutely necessary – and to use the clothes you already have as long as possible.

For more information and to read the full report, please visit the article at greenamerica.org