Two things you can do to fight plastic pollution

This week was #WorldEnvironmentDay and#WorldOceansDay, which meant that social media was full of photos of the plastic litter covering our planet.

Plastic patches are not just ruining things way out in the ocean – this is right here in our backyard. Photo from the District Department of Energy & Environment.

Were you as horrified as we were?

Here are 2 ways to turn that desperate feeling into something positive:

Paper please!

If you’re like us, you try to remember to bring reusable bags to the grocery store – but sometimes you get to the checkout with a full cart and… Arrgh! You realize you’ve left the cloth bags at home.

Instead of settling for plastic, ask for paper bags. Then, bring them to the Forklift for reuse – we always need clean PAPER bags and reuseable  bags for our checkout (Sorry, we can’t accept single-use plastic bags – not only are they awful for the environment, they’re too flimsy to hold reclaimed hardware, antique glass, and all the other cool salvaged stuff we have here).

Show up to vote this month.

You know what can be FAR more powerful than any individual change in consumer habits?  Voting!!!  Here in the DC area, the primaries are only days away and in many districts, your vote in the primaries can matter more than the fall general election.   

So, instead of feeling guilty that you don’t know much about the primary candidates,

here are quick tips to turn yourself into an informed voter:

  1. WHEN:  Check voting dates, and make a plan for what time you’re going to vote and how you’ll get there.
  2. WHO:  To find out who is running in your district, visit your state board of elections to view your sample ballot.  Read it carefully, and don’t assume that you are only picking one person in each race (for example, here in District 47A, we choose two delegates to represent us in the MD House).  
    • Maryland
    • Washington DC
    • Virginia

      Just one more step! You can do this – little Forklift Fans need you to elect leaders who will take good care of their health and the planet.

  3. WHICH:.  Now that you have the list of names, you need to pick your favorites.  There are many ways to find out which candidates plan to support the growing green economy, protect our health, and fight for a cleaner future.  If you can do even one of these things, you’ll be a better-informed voter:
    • See if journalists and bloggers have published info about the candidates on your ballot.
      • For example, Greater Greater Washington created questionnaires about transportation and development issues, then published answers from candidates, as well as endorsements.
      • Check your local papers and news stations for voters guides and links to local debates.  The Baltimore Sun covered the MD governor’s race forum on the environment, with links to all of the candidates’ plans for the environment, and Kojo Nnamdi has interviewed many candidates on recent episodes of the Politics Hour.
    • Go straight to the candidates:  look up their website and social media sites, and call to ask about their platform on the environment and other issues you care about.  Many candidates in local races will be thrilled at the chance to talk to a voter.

We know some of our Forklift Fans are active citizens – so feel free to share your tips for researching candidates below in the comments!