Surprising sand trap : The initiative petition count has two sets of rules; 1. the public instruction written on the face of the petition says the signature must be substantially the same as was used to register to vote, 2. the actual counting room certification criteria is signatures must be legible. Thus, 3. many signatures were rejected as illegible and the petition lost. Greenfield's Town Clerk patiently explained they do not actually compare with signatures on registration forms, town hall staff are no longer have that freedom because they are not expert signature readers.
Your zero waste website maintenance person, Garrett Connelly, was one of the petition circulators. I apologize for this technical loss. Please forgive me and perhaps others for the naiveté of believing these instructions on the initiative petition; “For your signature to be valid, your signature should be written substantially as registered.” Though these are official Massachusetts standard words, they actually don’t mean what they say.
With apologies comes thank you. It was fun watching you sign with artistic flourish and then a grin as you clearly wrote your address so the clerk could find you and determine if you signed substantially as registered. Many of you carefully read the instructions for yourself and then signed with creative flare. Others looked at me like I was crazy and then carefully and legibly signed the ordinance to regulate plastic trash. The final tally was close, a loss by about three percent, with sixteen percent declared illegible artistic form. The people's will has been temporarily thwarted, even so, real democracy is fun.
Many of us will still be here for another try, I hope the elder woman with arthritis is still here, too. She became so exhausted signing her name that I helped by filling in her address. She said she is worried about the environment and wanted to be sure her signature counted. I pointed to her clearly written address and told her the clerk would find her. She smiled then and I briefly saw a young girl, her eyes flashed another smile as she turned and slowly walked away. Her courage reminded me of my own mother, Helen Tobin.
Thanks Mom, the whales thank you, the turtles thank you, and the albatross thanks you. Earth thanks you.
Localized citizen's initiatives to eliminate additions to plastic trash at point of sale remain a good method for practicing use of democracy. Practice with real democracy to cure civilization's ills is similar to doctors practicing medicine to cure an epidemic. Discovering innocently unplanned systemic corruption of language became the first step in this campaign, completely by surprise. What might thwart the next step toward reducing environmental stresses using democracy to focus distributed human intelligence? Practicing real democracy is the only way to find out. Practice, practice, practice.
A bit larger percentage of people signed the petition to regulate point of sale additions to plastic trash than voted in the primary election to select state candidates. The logical remedy for the harm of depriving these citizens of their voting rights by rejecting their signature signed substantially as registered is 1. hire an expert signature analyst to certify illegible but honest signatures of citizens who believed the old instruction and, then, 2. write a new and completely opposite instruction for future use, something like; "For your signature to be valid, write and/or print your name and address clearly and legibly," 3. technically, use four spaces per person, US letter size paper would also be helpful, in the US.
Democracy has been surprised, like a river behind a new dam. What will biology of the cosmos expressed as human do to preserve Earth next?
Plastic Trash 101
Plastic trash kills sea animals; turtles, whales, birds and fish. Very few people don’t know this, a small minority do not care. Some plastic trash is intentionally created micro particles added to products like toothpaste and some soap gels, supposedly with the purpose of increasing the cleaning power of these products. It has been found, however, that these tiny plastic bits can wedge between gums and teeth and provide space for bacteria to colonize and make a home for gingivitis — gum disease and tooth loss. Then the particles pass through sewage treatment and flow to the sea.
Plastic micro particles also result from solar disintegration. Both micro particle types look like plankton in oceans and lakes, where they collect pollution molecules. Animals that eat the plastic “plankton” absorb the pollution and pass clean plastic back into the water, where it collects a new load of pollution ions and is eaten again. A more diabolical method of introducing pollution into human diet is difficult to imagine.
Will a single-use plastic artifact compost into a life supporting nutrient for the life cycle of Earth in a timely manner? A positive answer to this question is central to the Greenfield Biodegradable Packaging and Litter Reduction Ordinance, which is born of the logic of distributed human intelligence comparing the laws of physics to the laws of corporatism and then finding a sustainable solution that allows a continued free market, without strange claims of unregulated pollution rights. There is no place on Earth where requiring reusable shopping bags and eliminating point-of-sale styrofoam and styrene has hurt the economy, commercial aspects of life adjust as fast as a chalk line snap on a fresh concrete slab.
Greenfield's ordinance remains the most inclusive version to date, it is open source from beginning to end, use as much as possible. Every aspect of the Greenfield ordinance is already in use somewhere, without problems, use it with confidence as a basis for an initiative in any town or country.
Encouragement is gratis. New versions are appreciated.
Encorajamento é gratis. Novas versões são apreciados.
Compostable packaging and litter reduction, open source
The Greenfield Biodegradable Packaging and Litter Reduction Ordinance is a meld of efforts spanning Earth's timespace from Nantucket, 1990, to Maui and Honolulu, 2014, it includes input from several towns in Massachusetts as-well-as multiple cities and counties of California and New York City, where styrofoam is no longer used.
Concord, Massachusetts has fired a second shot heard 'round the world — elimination of single use PET drinking water bottles less than one Liter. Manhattan Beach, California and Maui, Hawaii, have banned cigarette smoking on the beach, and Manhattan Beach recently expanded beach protection to include no smoking in all public places.
Greenfield's voter initiative embraces this interesting leadership, which includes the efforts of many surfers, hats off to surfers, and adds the spice of San Francisco. ¿Ready? If one insists on smoking tobacco despite all evidence it is a ridiculous form of suicide, then one must be within arm's reach of an ashtray. ¡Yes! You are free to carry a personal ashtray ... Save the San Francisco Bay!
Special appreciation goes to the Los Angeles based 5 Gyres Institute in collaboration with New York University for studies which motivated the Great Lakes coastal State of Illinois to ban plastic microbeads. Although the microbead ban phases in over two years, it instantly spurred corporate agreements to begin removing these extraordinarily harmful plastic bits from tooth paste, skin lotion and other products. Read the label ... If either polypropylene or polyethylene are listed, avoid it like the plague.
BOSTON (May 25, 2010) Tufts University — Longtime environmental health researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine describe the carcinogenic effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), ubiquitous chemicals that have hormone-like effects in the body. In a review article published online May 25 in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, the researchers express the need for more complex strategies for studying how these chemicals affect health but report that ample evidence already supports changing public health and environmental policies to protect the public from exposure to EDCs.
ninety-nine word ordinance summary
The Greenfield Biodegradable Packaging and Litter Reduction Ordinance is an in limbo public initiative to control litter and reduce plastic in the waste stream managed by the Town. Elimination of single-use plastic bags by larger scale retail establishments is one purpose of this ordinance. Additionally, Greenfield citizens realize that no one foresaw the consequences of single-use water bottles, plastic bags, cigarette butts, incinerated waste and other plastic trash swept to the sea by rivers and wind, yet these consequences exist and motivate the community of Greenfield to enact this ordinance to protect the Earth and the health of town residents.