Mar 27, 2007

SF Bans Petroleum Based Bags!

Yay! Go SF!
The board of supervisors voted 10 - 1 today to ban petroleum based shopping bags in grocery stores and large pharmacies.

I wish they'd hit the Chronicle and other stores too, but I'm thrilled. (We have a client at the dog daycare who brings us scores of unused Chronicle bags weekly. The delivery guy dumps the half used swaths in her trash can when he finishes his route each day.)

Really Really Free Market, Saturday!

Saturday is the Really Really Free Market in SF. This month we'll be at an indoor location as we're theoretically still in the rainy season. (where's the rain?)

Saturday March 31st 1-5pm
artSF an artist loft & community center
110 Capp St. @ 16th (bw Mission and South Van Ness)
½ block from BART

There's a link to the right for RRFM if you'd like to know more about it.

Mar 24, 2007

Aw, misconceptions are so cute

So I think some of the new readers here are a bit confused. Colin Beavan's project is his own, and I think it rocks. So if you read the article in they NYTimes, you read about No Impact Man, not the Compact. He references the Compact as another project looking toward sustainability, and there was a link. Now you're here.

The Compact has actually refused several book deals, because of the obvious problem w/ selling something to tell folks not to shop. (Colin Beavan is a writer, that's his job. He's doing it more sustainably than most.) You can read the first post on this blog to see what we agreed to, how this started out in 2006 w/ 10 friends in San Francisco (not NYC).

Hopefully the info above will clarify for some folks that we're not trying to encourage anyone to live like an 1800's colonist. And maybe it will help w/ the geography: Compact is everywhere but started in SF; No Impact Man is in NYC. I got about 5 comments either way: "You West Coasters are FLAKY weirdos" or "NYC is a huge pollution glut".

But I also thought I'd respond here to a specific comment because it was more interesting to me. Someone cautioned me to "never forget" that I'm "a dog walker. Not a political thinking, (sic) or someone with an advanced degree". Nope, I don't have an advanced degree. I've been accepted to study in London in the Fall, so perhaps I'll get one soon. The critic above went on to suggest what my "capabilities" might be better suited for in terms of social change. These classist statements make no sense to me. I'll be the first to say that education is wonderful, but to suggest that someone needs an advanced degree to understand the problems and solutions involved with sustainability is elitist and absurd.

Check out my website to see how this lowly dog walker is trying to make a difference in her trade and in local parks. And regarding plastic bags, all my bags are used before I get to them. And I've supported the SF bag fee, which didn't pass. And am currently supporting the push to make all of our SF grocery bags compostable. But look to the SFChronicle for a piece by another Compactor about the problems with bagged poop. We're looking for solutions, hope you are too.

Mar 22, 2007

250 mile diet

Yeah, so I got that Colin and fam are doing the 250 mile diet, I guess I'm just surprised at the limited variety of crops you can grow in the NE. (Though I shouldn't be surprised. I'm a geographer for goodness sake.)

We're spoiled in California. We can grow so many things... w/ loads of irrigation that is.

I crack up here when I see avocados from Chile during California's off season. Organic stores actually advertise them at times. We can grow so much here, do we have to have EVERYTHING all the time? My produce company wants me to buy bananas from Equador. Sometimes it seems like the organic craze is a bit selfish. Folks want to eat food that's healthy for them, but the fact that it's good for other life is just a happy byproduct.

No Impact Man in NY

Check out Colin Beavan in the NYTimes today. I wish the article explained why spices, vinegar, and olive oil are out. We buy vinegar and olive oil in bulk, reusing the containers. Maybe the diet is just much more difficult in NY than in Cal.

Mar 20, 2007

moment of hilarity at yesterday's die in

Somewhere between being handcuffed w/ disposable zip ties and being hauled off in police van for civil disobedience, I had a righteous exchange with an SFPD officer. The internal dialogue I was having was even more ridiculous but I'll spare you my musings on how the arrest was blowing my compact karma.

SFPD: Do you have anything in your pockets.
Me: It's all in the right one. Wait, that bag is huge.
SFPD: Do you have an ID? (dumping the contents of my right pocket into an 85 gallon plastic bag. contents included cellphone, $20 cash, MY ID!, BART ticket, two keys)
Me: Wait, I have a bag in my left pocket. I'm a dog walker, I always have a bag. Use it instead.
SFPD: (removes my bag from left pocket. places it into the 85 gallon plastic bag)
Me: Do you REUSE these bags?!
Me: That's great, but do you REUSE them?

Yes, I would have a panic attack over the giant plastic bag that was being used to collect my "property". And only here would the cop know to tell me that they're recycled.

After spending weeks trying to keep this action environmentally friendly (banners and shrouds all made by loving hands from reused fabric and paint from SCRAP, low amounts of printing for outreach, keeping the actions central to BART stations), I was losing it over the giant plastic bag. I brought it home to use, of course. I'm convinced I can cut it in half and use it twice. It is seriously huge!

Btw, I don't disrespect the SFPD officers for this policy. I just had to think a bit about the ecological impact of mass arrest. When comparing it to all of the environmental impact of war, I don't feel bad at all. It was telling this weekend to see folks out with signs that said "Environmentalist against the War" or the oft repeated, "War is not good for children and other living things".

Mar 11, 2007

Stolen Coffee Cup

Argh, someone jacked my coffee cup off my bike yesterday. The one that I bought new (see novemberish post) broke pretty quickly. Yup, I was pissed. So I dragged my ass to the thriftstore and found a pretty awesome cup. Of about 10, it was the only one that would work on my bike.

It had a handle that was open at the bottom so I could slip it onto my belt while walking dogs in the morning or doing habitat restoration. I was kind of in love with that handle. It made up for the fact that the it didn't have the little hole in the lid to make the coffee flow out smoothly. Oh! and the lid would screw on to make it either left or right handed.

These must be the features that inspired the theif. Or maybe s/he could smell the Philz remnants in the bottom.

Mar 8, 2007

Still No Jubilee

It's been 2 months since we decided that a Jubilee Day is in order (a reprieve from the Compact day). I seriously tried to shop yesterday, but failed, again.

I was riding around prime shopping districts (Valencia St, 24th St, and upper Haight), distributing postcards about an anti-war action on 3/19. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe I was feeling plagued by war guilt. It's true that when I think of Iraqi women entering the fifth year of occupation and war, I think I'll never shop again.

When I think of the brand new bullets and bombs I paid for during my year of compacting, I feel silly for craving new jewlery to keep the holes in my tongue and ears open. Small bits of metal, not unlike the ones I want, are tearing people open on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was trying so hard to multi-task. I went into piercing shops between cafes, bookstores, and Middle Eastern restaurants. I was disappointed by selection and disenchanted w/ the coolness of, even my own, body art. What is wrong w/ me?

But today I went to SCRAP to get supplies to make banners and street theater pieces for the Die In. I was enthusiastic and damn near feverish w/ my shopping. I scored some fabulous fabric and paint, all of which would have been in a dumpster if not for SCRAP.

Oh, check some new links below and Hong Kong to the right.

This is a pledge about not being obsessed w/ material things!

This is a cool project, check it out! The picture of the turtle eating a plastic bag has solidly ensured that I will become even more fanatical about not accepting new plastic bags from shopkeepers.

Mar 1, 2007

Incorporating Consumption into Earth Day

If I haven't mentioned it, I'm working on a fabulous Earth Day Celebration in San Francisco's McLaren Park. I want to find a way to incorporate the issues of consumption into the event, as it's a major environmental issue. But I'm kinda stumped.

The main theme of the event is "Nature Where You Live". And I think that's perfect. We're focusing on the positive, trying to connect neighbors of an underserved park w/ the landscape around them. But I think there's a place for some discussion of consumerism among all of this.

It would be difficult to organize a Really Really Free Market at the site because it's off the beaten path. I might ask one of my fellow Compactors to come speak, but I don't know how well that will come across at this sort of event. Thoughts?

Check out the event at