SUSTAINABILITY ACTION ANNUAL MEETING & “THE STORY OF PLASTIC” MOVIE
Saturday, 19 February 2021, 2:00pm – FREE
By Zoom only, Lawrence KS 66044
A screening of the film “The Story of Plastic” will be featured at our annual meeting. It’s a new documentary brought to us by Annie Leonard and The Story of Stuff Project, who are known for their accessible short animated videos illustrating and simplifying complex issues around consumerism and waste. After a brief business meeting and officer elections, we’ll watch the film, have a discussion, and consider what local actions to take to end plastic waste, such as getting the City to adopt single-use bag restrictions. More at – The Story of Plastic – A Summary | Green and Grumpy.
Sustainability Action Network has been advancing ecological sustainability since 2007. We focus on helping individuals live a sustainable lifestyle, while pushing institutional policy change that can impact the broader population. We work in areas of energy conservation, decentralized renewable energy, healthy climate, local food and permaculture, multi-modal transportation, prime farm soils preservation, and ecosystem protection.
Some of our 2020 actions and accomplishments include:
- We introduced the concept of “agrivoltaics” to Douglas County during their creating regulations for industrial-scale solar, and it became central to the regs.
- One of our five bikeway proposals, the Atchison Creek Trail, was taken up by the City of Lawerence, K.U. Endowment, and Evergy in a collaborative effort to build it near Evergy’s new substation.
- We organized the 3rd annual Lawrence EV Showcase, with electric buses, trucks, bicycles, and cars.
- We collaborated with the Lawrence Sustainability Advisory Board in drafting a new natural landscaping ordinance to replace the draconian weed ordinance.
- We met with Evergy executives about coal ash cleanup, and their “Integrated Resource Plan” for retirement of the Lawrence Energy Center coal plant.
The meeting will also include: an introduction to our Board, a review of our 2020 accomplishments, an open discussion on projects for the upcoming year, a brief financial report, and Board of Directors election. The Zoom link for the meeting and film is – https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88575002818?pwd=VEZSSFR6QndKY1pETzJRLzk1QXlWdz09, and the password is 312836.
For fourteen years now, since first producing The Story of Stuff in 2007, Annie Leonard has highlighted the wastefulness and ecological damage of a throw-away society, as well as the behind-the-scenes driving force of fossil fuel companies profits. The vast majority of products in modern industrial societies derive from petroleum, either as plastic items, plastic coatings, plastic packaging, or various chemicals and fuels. The corporations responsible try to maximize profits through a rapid replacement cycle, in large part by pushing planned obsolescence and single-use items. It’s called “throughput”, AKA “input/use/output”, by which petroleum is extracted, made into stuff, worn out, and discarded. The faster this materials extraction cycle can be driven, the greater the profits, and the more ecological and cultural damage occurs. This reality defines the classic opponents: the neo-liberal, laissez faire corporatists who want complete freedom, and the ecologically minded people who strive for community control and environmental protections.
Annie Leonard aligns herself with the environmentalists. She said in a Yes Magazine interview “Over the years, I’ve learned that we can’t solve the waste problem by working only on waste. We must examine the economic and cultural forces that drive such massive waste production” – Annie Leonard on Life After Stuff. And speaking about the approximately 8.3bn tons of plastics that have been produced worldwide since 1950 she said “Recycling alone will never stem the flow of plastics into our ocean. We must address the problem at the source” – Our plastic pollution crisis is too big for recycling to fix | Annie Leonard. We have to reduce the production plastics derived from petroleum, and keep petroleum in the ground. She has very creatively put her message into a series of videos in parallel to the Story of Stuff: The Story of Bottled Water, The Story of Microbeads, and The Story of Microfibers. Many others in the series can be viewed at – Movies Archives – The Story of Stuff Project.
More than war and violence – more than smoking, hunger, or natural disasters – more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. More people are prematurely killed worldwide each year from polluted air and water, at least 9 million, than the total number of people who die every year from these other major killers. This data comes from an extensive study by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health that was released on 19 October 2017. The study found that one in six premature deaths, or 17 percent of the world population, are attributable to toxic exposure to environmental pollutants, and that the financial cost is about US$4.6 trillion, or about 6.2 percent of the global economy.
Lead author of the report, and Dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, Philip Landrigan, said “Pollution is a massive problem that people aren’t seeing because they’re looking at scattered bits of it”. The figure of 9 million pollution-related deaths is considered a low estimate by Commission researchers, who are projecting that the impacts will be better quantified with new assessment methods and new research.
As one might expect, “The vast majority of pollution-related deaths — 92 percent — occur in low- or middle-income countries, where policy makers are chiefly concerned with developing their economies”, according to the report. The continents of Asia and Africa have the worst incidence of toxin-induced premature deaths, and India tops the list with one out of every four premature deaths, or some 2.5 million, caused by pollution. And in the wealthier countries that have curbed much of the early occurrences of industrial pollution, it’s the lower class poor communities that still suffer from negligent corporate emissions and lax enforcement – the so-called environmental justice communities. As the article states, “According to the NAACP’s research, the percentage of African Americans in the fenceline zones near chemical plants is 75 percent greater than for the country overall; for Latinos, 60 percent”. Learn more at – Pollution Kills an Estimated 9 Million People Every Year.