Friday, January 27, 2012

Though There Is This One Thing ...

Big news, albeit not in print: Yesterday, StopWaste.org enacted a (partial) plastic bag ban in Alameda County. It's the Bay Area's first piece of plastic-bag reduction legislation applying to an entire county. I spoke to my sources within 30 minutes of the vote, and put the blog post up immediately thereafter.

One of our FaceBook followers reacted online: "We have more laws now than the Soviets did under Joseph Stalin." Not to put much credence in a knee-jerk comment, but I question the motives of anyone who criticizes this legislation. The intent is to protect our bay, waterways, and wildlife; reduce waste; reduce litter; and reduce petroleum use, all for the common good. In no way does the ordinance infringe upon individual freedoms (nowhere in our Bill of Rights is mentioned a right to free plastic bags), and in no way is it designed to benefit a ruling class or business interest. Thus I see it as a democratic law that protects individual rights in a way the free market couldn't.

The Delay ...

Between November and January, I took three months off from freelancing to cover as Managing Editor at the East Bay Express, where I'm typically (and once again) employed part-time. During that period, I also worked on freelance stories for Bay Nature and Earth Island Journal, which will appear here when they're out. In the meantime, find me on Twitter @nateseltenrich for links to environmental stories and to follow the minutiae of my daily life. Just kidding. Mostly.