The Environmental Justice group’s work this year involves:
- Reducing landfill by promoting the diagnosis, repair and re-use of items through FixIt Clinics that we co-sponsor with our City’s Environmental Quality Committee and the El Cerrito Library. We held a very successful Clinic on June 9. Our next Fixit Clinic will be on Saturday, October 27 from 12:30 to 4:00PM at the library.
- Eliminating toxic materials in El Cerrito. Plastic presents a health threat to the environment and living beings. It adds to the overwhelming amount of debris found on streets, in waterways, and on land, and in animals that ingest plastic. Micro-bits of plastic are found in humans who drink water from clear plastic bottles. Plastic can only be recycled once, if at all, and 91% of plastic is not recycled globally. At the 4th of July One World Festival, our group launched our SKIP THE STRAW campaign to eliminate the use of plastic food ware at local food and drink purveyors, lodging, and other institutions, such as schools. We collected 67 signatures on our SKIP THE STRAW petition.
Our goal is to update our city’s Food ware Ordinance by eliminating 1-time use food ware and plastic straws.
After speaking about our concerns during the public comment time at the Environmental Quality Committee’s July meeting, we were invited to give a formal presentation to the EQC about our SKIP THE STRAW campaign on August 14. The presentation, led by Barbara Chan with Anne Ogonowski, Mei Mei Everson, Rebecca Anaya, and Robin Mitchell from ECP’s Environmental Justice group, was very well received. The EQC acknowledged that we (Environmental Justice) had done much of the “heavy lifting” with our thorough research, providing usable data, compelling business case studies, and resources to move this issue forward.
While we are encouraging the City to improve the food ware ordinance from a policy perspective, we have been conducting a “soft” campaign with each of us talking to cafe and restaurant mangers and workers about not serving plastic straws with drinks, or using alternative straws.
ECP members are invited to join our group’s work. We meet on the 3rdMonday from 7 to 9PM. If you would like to join us,mailto:email@example.com for location and directions.
Convener, Environmental Justice Committee