Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Earth Day in Berkeley is a two-day series of events this year.  While the main deal is happening on Easter, the film fest continues on Monday, April 22.

There are films and a guest panel on Monday, from 6-9:30pm, at the David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley.  Tickets are $15 general and $10 student.  More information at BerkeleyEarthDay.org

Here’s an Approach to Global Warming that Makes Sense!

Citizens Climate Lobby is a grassroots, national organization that presents a path and solution to greenhouse gas emissions by working with both parties in congress.  How about that for unusual in today’s political arena?  We heard Mary Selkirk from CCL speak at ACC on April 12.  Mary is clear, committed to her work and the work of CCL; she presented a cogent argument for CCL’s mission and vision for the US.

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By taxing carbon pollution at the source and then sending that tax back to every taxpayer, emissions can be reduced due to the negative incentive and economic growth happens simultaneously with more cash in individual’s pockets.  More information and details on how each of us can help:  www.citizensclimatelobby.org.

Person of the Planet Speaker: Mary Selkirk

Mary Selkirk, Board Member at Citizens Climate Lobby

Mary Selkirk, Board Member at Citizens Climate Lobby

Person of the Planet Group will be sponsoring a talk by Mary Selkirk on Friday, April 12 at 7:00 at Arlington Community Church, 52 Arlington, Kensington. We will do a short Person of the Planet meeting at the start to touch base and hear what actions you have taken to be a voice for the Planet. Come relax with a cup of tea.

The topic of the evening will be "Building the Political Will in Washington for Climate Action". Mary Selkirk from the Citizens Climate Lobby will do a short introduction of their work and a brief discussion on the "Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act" (HR763). The H763 bill is the first bi-partisan climate bill in the US Congress in 10 years.

Mary Selkirk is an avid hiker, whitewater rafter, cyclist, and volunteer/member of the Governing Board of Citizens Climate Lobby.

Before retiring and joining CCL, Mary spent 30 years first as an environmental activist and then a collaborative policy specialist, focusing on California water and natural resources. As an environmental mediator with the Center for Collaborative Policy at Sacramento State for many years, Mary designed and led numerous multi-party dialogues on complex water and natural resources projects throughout the State, including the South Bay Salt Pond Project, the biggest wetland restoration project west of the Mississippi, right here in our own San Francisco Bay.

After serving as the Sierra Club’s Northern California Regional Water Committee, Mary was elected in 1994 to the Board of Directors of East Bay MUD, representing Berkeley, Kensington, Albany and El Cerrito. She served on the Bay-Delta Advisory Council, a Federal Advisory Committee, taught environmental mediation in the UC Davis Land Use and Natural Resources Program, as well as at Sacramento State, and served on the City of Berkeley’s Creeks Task Force.

Mary will share her own story of her growing passion and concern about climate change, and how the core values that form the foundation of Citizens Climate Lobby-- focus, inclusiveness, personal engagement, respect for political differences, nonpartisanship, and optimism—have sustained her through 6 years of lobbying on climate action in Washington.

This evening will be time well-spent. If you plan to attend, let us know so we can plan set-up accordingly: personoftheplanet@gmail.com We look forward to seeing you.

Bits & Pieces March 15, 2019

Bits & Pieces

By Shanti Moorjani March 15, 2019

A little follow-up to last night's talk with Matt Gough from the Sierra Club. Matt is the Assistant Advancement Director of the Western Division of the Sierra Club. He talked about the about the Resist, Build, Win strategy of the Sierra Club at the local and national level. Matt, an Obama look alike, intelligently shared how they are legally thwarting the attacks on our environment by the Trump administration. He shared the successes of getting many coal fire plants shut down and building up efforts to train working people to clean energy jobs.

In the last two years alone, Sierra Club's membership has almost doubled. This is how the club can work effectively against the many environmental issues we confront. Matt did not once mention joining the Sierra Club (though I am already a member) and yes if you want to support an institution that is out there working hard for the environment, this is a good choice.

Matt expertly answered the many questions that came up at the talk and left us hopeful that there are committed, smart young people actively involved with saving our planet.

I left hopeful with a greater respect for the Sierra Club and their work. 

Thank you Matt Gough!

A Relatively Painless Guide to Cutting Plastic Out of Your Life

A Relatively Painless Guide to Cutting Plastic Out of Your Life

Featured article from www.fastcompany.com 

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Last year may have been the beginning of the end for plastic. It may have taken a while for the average person to wake up to its dangers, but many were shaken into action by the images and videos of plastic's impact on the natural world that flooded the media in 2018.

Read the entire articles by clicking here

Looking for the Perfect Environmental Gift?

Looking for the Perfect Environmental Gift?

The Mighty Nest (www.mightynest.com) offers to send a gift every month that is something good for the planet.  The gifts are something that will allow you to make changes in your habits.  My husband received this as a Christmas gift from his niece.  so far, he has received: 1.  Beeswax papers for wrapping and storing food in the refrigerator, 2. Three clothes drying balls made from Australian sheep wool for softening your clothes (1000 loads).  Store bought drying sheets have toxic chemicals in them. 3. Five 100% cotton washcloth-size towels for cleaning up your counters instead of using so many paper towels (think trees). 

That's all for the first three months.  Looks like we can expect to look forward to such gifts as reusable shopping bags (and produce bags), reusable to-go containers and thermos, maybe metal or bamboo straws. It will be a surprise.

In Berkeley, the Ecology Center at 2530 San Pablo Avenue is a store with a treasure trove of alternative choices for the conscious consumer.



By Shanti Moorjani

Last Sunday, March 2, 2019 at the 10am service, I shared information on a book that was recently published called "The Uninhabitable Earth" by David Wallace-Wells.  I had seen him being  interviewed on the PBS News Hour two days previously.  This book does not sugar coat the climate crisis our planet is entering but starts out with a statement like this:  " It is worse, much worse than you think. If your anxieties about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible."  One comment by another author about this book said: "This is truly the most important book I have ever read, and one of the best written. It is so good, so complete, and well-organized and argued that I immediately stopped writing my new book on the same subject."

When I listened to the interview of Mr. Wallace-Wells, he was firm that this generation alive at this time in history, is the only generation that can do something about changing the direction of global warming. The only way to do this is through elected officials; we need informed, responsible and strong leaders that can lead us to make the changes that will dramatically tackle the problem now.   For the next generation, the effects will have already disrupted our way of life and altered the planet.

I did disagree with the author on one point.  He said, "one person, no matter how conscious they are about their living habits, they could not make a difference". Even so, a Tsunami is made up of many drops of water.  When many people on the planet think of themselves as a "Person of the Planet"  their many individual voices will make a big difference in how everything is done and what leaders are elected to do the work of reshaping business practices and patterns of consumption. Imagine millions of people asking the question; "Is this good for the planet?" about every decision they make and then doing the best they can to make the right decision.

The  book is  available on line. Local book stores are just starting to get it in.

Moment for the Planet

Moment for the Planet


Robbie Bond

Kids Speak for Parks

There is a Moment for the Planet at the Sunday service at the Arlington Community Church to highlight an aspect of the environment or helpful knowledge. This past week we honored a young boy called Robbie Bond, who in 2017, at age 9 launched a Kids Speak for Parks after hearing about the executive order from the president to downsize or eliminate some national parks.

Over the summer, he and his parents visited more than a dozen national parks recording videos of him exploring, talking to local officials, and making friends. He wanted to share with other kids across the country about the beauty of our parks and the threat from oil and gas exploration.

He collected 5,000 signatures in support of the parks, spoke to local schools, and even traveled to Washington to meet with Interior Department officials and representatives from his native state of Hawaii. Now at age 10, he is working on a pilot for a documentary series to create a virtual reality "field trips" to the national monuments.

He is partnering with Google to do this. Robbie's message to young and old: "Make you voice heard. I think it's best to have kids' voices. If the monuments were to be destroyed, it would have a bigger impact on kids."

Speaker Series: Matt Gough



March 14 @ 7:00 PM

Person of the Planet is happy to present Matt Gough from the Sierra Club.  He will speak on Thursday, March 14 at 7:00pm in the Fireside Room at the Arlington Community Church.  As Assistant Director of Communications, Matt worked with the community and with people across the country to help pass proposed legislation to promote renewable energy and resist Trump's attacks on the environment.  They have helped to shutter 30 coal fuel infra-structures and promote "Beyond Coal" agendas.  As an honorary Person of the Planet, Matt will share what they are doing to resist Trump's attack on the environment and what solutions lie ahead. Come, learn and participate in the conversation. 

Berkeley Gets Tough on Takeout

Berkeley Gets Tough on Takeout

From the January 24,2019 San Francisco Chronicle By Jonathan Kauffman

Click here to view the original article

The Berkeley City Council has voted unanimously to adopt what may well be the strictest regulations on disposable food ware in the country. The new ordinance, passed unanimously this week, requires all takeout cups, straws, cartons and forks to be compostable, but that’s only the opening salvo.

By next year, Berkeley restaurants will be required to charge a 25-cent fee for each disposable cup, even if it’s compostable, and forbidden to give diners eating in the restaurant anything but reusable plates and silverware.

As Berkeley restaurants puzzle over how they will comply with the new law, the city sets in place an even more ambitious plan to eliminate single-use containers altogether.

Martin Bourque, executive director of the Berkeley Ecology Center, which has operated Berkeley’s recycling program since 1973, helped propose the initial legislation two years ago to present to the City Council.

Bourque pointed out that Berkeley was the first city in the nation to ban polystyrene cups and takeout containers in 1989. Yet plastic continues to accumulate in the streets and oceans, and when China stopped allowing imports of recyclable plastics from other countries in 2016, the ban sent many recycling programs, including his, scrambling for alternate solutions. Reducing demand was the logical step.

(Food ware) “is two-thirds of street litter,” Bourque said. “It’s commonplace and unnecessary and, in many cases, has exploded in the last decades. It’s something that municipalities have a high degree of control over, whereas packaging is more difficult.”

A number of Northern California municipalities, such as San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Alameda, already have banned plastic takeout containers and utensils in favor of recyclable or compostable ones. California banned plastic bags in 2014, and in September banned plastic straws at dine-in restaurants unless customers request them.

“We have studied those approaches, but we felt like we needed to address the issue comprehensively,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguin, who co-sponsored the ordinance with Councilwoman Sophie Hahn. “We need to also change behavior. I think that was a critical component of this ordinance.”

The new requirements will be rolled out in several steps. By the end of the month, Berkeley restaurants must stop giving out disposable utensils automatically. Customers must either request them or find them at a self-serve station.

Starting in January 2020, restaurants must use compostable food ware certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute. In addition, the city will impose a 25-cent fee on each compostable cup that a customer requests, and restaurants will not be able to reject customers who bring their own to be filled. Berkeley’s Environmental Health Department will oversee enforcement.

In July 2020, Berkeley will require all businesses to use durable, reusable plates, cups and utensils for all dine-in meals. Fast-food restaurants, barbecue shops, sandwich places: All must comply.

Representatives from several local restaurants, including Comal, Flaco’s and Jupiter, said the new legislation won’t necessitate major changes.

“For us, honestly, I don’t think it will affect us that much, since we’ve been using compostables for a while,” said Jupiter manager Jessica Tung, who pointed out that her restaurant was green-certified. “We don’t ‘auto straw’ — we offer water only by request and utensils to go by request.”

Comal co-owner Andrew Hoffman said, “We’re not sold on the idea that 25 cents is a deterrent to get people to carry their own glass around, but we’re in agreement that there’s too much plastic crap and litter out there.” He added, “Berkeley’s got a laundry list of issues that are worth dealing with ahead of this, but I’m not on the City Council.”

Other restaurateurs are throwing up their hands at the strictures the ordinance will impose.

“My whole model is based, and been created, on food to go,” said Gregoire Jacquet, owner of Gregoire’s, which has three seats inside and five outdoors and has used compostable takeout containers since opening 16 years ago. “I accommodate people with a few seats. I can’t say you can’t eat here. I don’t have the means to wash dishes.”

“There’s a lot of options,” Hahn countered when asked about concerns like Jacquet’s. “They don’t have to put in a dishwasher.”

The ordinance allows restaurants to wash dishes in the type of sink the health department already requires, for instance. And because the law will disproportionately affect small places, restaurants can apply for a waiver.

“If 90 percent of the businesses can get 90 percent there, then we’ll have achieved something great,” Hahn said.

She has even more ambitious plans for Berkeley’s future. The ordinance directs city staff members to develop a program that will introduce several sizes and shapes of reusable containers citywide in 2022, with the ideal of eliminating single-use food ware altogether.

“We hope that this becomes a model for other jurisdictions,” Hahn said. “We have already had other cities reach out.”

Bits and Pieces Jan 4, 2019 by Shanti Moorjani

Bits and Pieces

January 4, 2019

Cheers and blessings for the New Year. Thank you for being a Person of the Planet. I hope you have attended some of the talks, movies or possibly the Green Bazaar in December. 2018 started with a series of movies in January and 2019 is no different. We are happy to show two popular afternoon movies this coming Sunday, January 6 at 1:00. The theme is plastic. I have seen these before but am anxious to review them again as there is so much to learn about plastic in our lives, how it effects our health, and how it is effecting our planet.   What can we do about it?  Personally it is an albatross in my own life; to use or not to use. What are the alternatives for produce bags, and plastic containers for everything.  Where does this plastic go when you think you are re-cycling the stuff? 

Please tell your environmentally conscious friends to come and be a part of this learning process. With the current cold and (maybe) rainy weather, you will find our fireside room warm and cozy. We will have hot water for tea, tangerines, and popcorn. See below for the dates of other movie dates and activities.