The bloody turtle video that sparked a plastic straw revolution

February 16, 2023 , 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EST

PPC Webinar: Plastic-Free Pet Care: Safeguarding the Health of 
Our Furry Friends

Date: Thursday, February 16
Time: 2-3 pm PT | 5-6 pm ET
Click here to convert to your timezone.

Did you know that plastic can be harmful to your pet’s health? From plastic toys to disposable food containers and poop bags, plastic pet care items are everywhere. Science has established links between exposure to plastic chemicals and a range of diseases in humans—and many of the same risks apply to our furry, feathered, and scaly friends!

During our February 16, 2023, webinar, we will discuss the health hazards of plastics used in pet care products. We’ll also provide tips and tricks for finding plastic-free alternatives and explore the impacts of plastic waste on the environment and how we can reduce our plastic footprint as we care for our animal friends. Whether you’re a new pet owner or a seasoned pro, this webinar is for anyone who wants to learn more about how to provide the best possible care for their furry, feathered, or scaly pals, while also taking better care of our planet.

Joining us will be Dr. Arlene Blum, Founder & Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute; Dr. Marty Goldstein, Veterinarian & Author, The Spirit of Animal Healing; and Tracy Rosensteel, Founder, Pooch Paper LLC. The webinar will be moderated by Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO, Plastic Pollution Coalition.


PANELISTS

Dr. Arlene Blum
Founder & Executive Director
Green Science Policy Institute

Arlene Blum PhD, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a Research Associate at UC Berkeley. The Institute’s scientific research and policy work with government and business has contributed to preventing the use of harmful chemicals in products worldwide. 

Blum led the first American­ and all-women’s ­ascent of Annapurna I, considered one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult mountains, co-led the first women’s team to climb Denali; completed the Great Himalayan Traverse across the mountain regions of Bhutan, Nepal, and India; and hiked the length of the European Alps with her baby daughter on her back. She is the author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place and Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life. Blum’s awards include a 2022 Honorary Doctorate from the University of San Francisco, honorary membership in the American Alpine Club, and induction into the California Hall of Fame. 


Dr. Marty Goldstein(1)
Dr. Marty Goldstein
Veterinarian & Author
The Spirit of Animal Healing

Dr. Marty Goldstein earned his DVM from Cornell University in 1973. He was certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 1977 and was one of the founding members of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Over the last four plus decades, Dr. Marty has given seminars on alternative therapies worldwide and has appeared on numerous regional and national radio and television programs, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Martha Show, and Good Morning America. He is also the author of The Nature of Animal Healing, first published in 1999. It received excellent reviews and has continued to sell consistently ever since. He has completed the sequel, The Spirit of Animal Healing, which was published February 2021. For 6 years, he hosted his own weekly program, “Ask Martha’s Vet with Dr Marty” on Martha Stewart’s Sirius/XM satellite radio network.

Dr. Marty, his wife and three daughters share their lives with dogs, cats, parakeets, chickens, two horses, and a bunny named Pork Chop in a very happy home.


Tracy Rosensteel
Tracy Rosensteel
Founder
Pooch Paper LLC

Tracy Rosensteel has worked over 23 years on Wall Street selling and supporting mission-critical trading floor technology. The first 10 years were spent supporting the trading infrastructure at the Chicago Board of Trade, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the Board Options Exchange. In 2007, she moved to NYC and opened her own 15-person firm that she ran until 2016, where she sold the balance of her contracts. While much of her career was spent in high-pressure environments, Tracy would consider her “side hustles” the initiatives which capture her heart.

In 2011, Tracy created, produced, directed, and hosted an award-winning travel television series about people around the globe who live their lives in pursuit of their dreams. Originally airing on PBS nationwide for four years, In Pursuit of Passion can now be found streaming on Amazon. Tracy actively authors and illustrates children’s books and plays and most recently launched Pooch Paper, inspired by her passion for protecting the environment and her love for her “man about town” French Bulldog named Indiana Jones.


RESOURCES

May 17 is Endangered Species Day, which is an opportunity for people around the world to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions we can take to protect them.

About Endangered Species

An animal is considered endangered when its numbers in the wild have dropped so low that it’s at great risk of extinction. Today there are 41,415 endangered species on the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. Of those 41,415 species, 16,306 are considered endangered species threatened with extinction. Sadly, according to a recent UN report this number might soon be much higher, and it is largely the result of human behavior.

The UN report states: “Human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before,” and estimates that “around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken.”

The report also shows that one of the main threats to nature is plastic pollution, which has increased tenfold since 1980. According to the report, marine plastic pollution has affected at least 267 species, including 86% of marine turtles, 44% of seabirds, and 43% of marine mammals. Marine animals die every day from ingesting plastic of all sizes.

What Can You Do?

There are many things you can do on a daily basis to help protect endangered species, including committing to refusing single-use plastic whenever possible. Here are a couple of easy ways to cut plastic out of your life to help protect endangered species:

-Bring your own reusable water bottle instead of buying single-use plastic ones

-Say “No straw, please” when dining at a restaurant

-Bring your own reusable bag when you go shopping

-Carry reusable utensils and containers to work or school

-Bring your own mug or tumbler when getting coffee to-go

Join Plastic Pollution Coalition as individual or as a representative of your business or organization

-Speak up and demand companies reduce the plastic footprint

What is your favorite way to go plastic-free?

Photo: Green Turtle hatchling climbing over plastic bottle strewn on the beach, Juani Island, Tanzania. @wwf_australia

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Reports from the Seattle, Washington area, show that bald eagles – the American national bird – are taking hazardous waste and plastic pollution from a local landfill and dropping it in suburban back yards.

The federally protected birds are visiting the open-air Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in King County, which was supposed to have been closed years ago, but a proposed expansion has kept it open.

Popular Mechanics reports that over two tons of trash are brought to the location every day, and landfill staff estimate that around 200 eagles have made the area their home, scavenging for anything they can find and dropping their scraps everywhere else.

“Anybody that lives within close flying distance of the landfill knows that the eagles deposit this stuff everywhere,” said resident David Vogel to the Seattle Times.

At a city council meeting, Vogel held up a sealed plastic bag containing human blood that he said he’d found in his yard, just west of the landfill property.

Trash and plastic pollution can choke, poison, or otherwise harm eagles. Over 260 animal species, including invertebrates, turtles, fish, seabirds, and mammals, have been reported to ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers, and death.

Avery Thompson of Popular Mechanics wrote:

There’s something almost poetic about the American national bird reminding people that the trash they throw in a landfill doesn’t simply disappear. In a way, these birds are a visceral demonstration of the usually hidden consequences of extreme consumption. We create too much trash, and that much trash creates consequences. That could mean eagles dropping biohazard containers in your front lawn, or it could mean nearly 20 tons of plastic washing up on one of the most remote beaches in the world.

While some short-term solutions like closing a landfill or pulling trash out of the ocean might temporarily fix the problem, the only way to really live in a world where our trash doesn’t come back to haunt us is to be smarter about how much of it we create.

Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition, said: “The Eagle, the National bird  of U.S. bringing bits of hazardous waste and plastic pollution back to our yards is both ironic and a wake up call. It’s time to stop polluting the planet with plastic for the health of humans and animals, and for the sake of the birds and the bees.”

Join our global Coalition.

A viral video of a fisherman pulling pieces of plastic, including three plastic bottle caps, out of the stomach of a mahi mahi fish has prompted a new public outcry about the problem of plastic pollution and its toxic effects on wildlife and the environment. Watch the video. [Caution: content may not be suitable for all readers and viewers.]

The video shows a fisherman in Costa Rica slicing open the stomach of the mahi mahi (aka dolphinfish) and taking out bottle caps, bits of plastic, a mangled comb, and the plastic part of a cigarette lighter. The video has prompted questions: How many animals worldwide have stomachs full of plastic pollution? And why ARE so many plastic caps in our environment?

More research is needed to determine the answer to the first question, but studies have frequently shown entanglement, ingestion, and habitat disruption can result from plastic ending up in the spaces where animals live, both on land and in the water. 

To the second question, a conversation is playing out right now in California since Assembly Bill 319 was introduced. The bill would require that all single-use plastic bottles sold in California have the cap connected to the bottle. Connecting the cap to the bottle would allow the cap and bottle to be recycled together.

This is significant, since 5 billion plastic caps from bottles are released to the environment every year in California alone, and bottle caps are the third most common item picked up during California’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day. Plastic caps litter streets, parks, inland waterways, beaches, and oceans, and harm wildlife who mistake them for food. 

“If you’re old enough to remember walking the beaches of Malibu or Coronado in the 1970s, you can vouch for what was then often the truth of beach life in California – stepping on pop-tops, the aluminum ring that came off after opening a can of soda,” wrote Miriam Gordon, policy director at the UPSTREAM Policy Institute, in a recent op-ed for the Sacramento Bee. Gordon writes it’s useful to remember how pop-tops disappeared almost overnight when the beverage industry perfected a better way to seal aluminum cans: the stay-top, which remains attached and gets recycled along with the rest of the can.

A dead albatross with plastic caps in its stomach. Photo by Tandem Stills + Motion. 

Experts note that connecting the cap to the bottle can be accomplished easily. “Making the switch can be accomplished by adding a small blade to current capping equipment that inserts a slit into the cap,” wrote Paloma Aguirre and Trent Hodges in a recent piece for The San Diego Union Tribune. “Alternatively, since most bottlers replace capping machinery every few years anyway, a relatively quick transition to tethered caps could happen when equipment is being replaced.”

Some bottled water producers such as Crystal Geyser, are already offering their products with tethered caps, but many others have refused to voluntarily change. Gordon and other experts note that the bill would not only reduce pollution from plastic caps but would also help the state of California reach its 75 percent statewide recycling goal, since in-state plastic recyclers want plastic caps.

The time is now to pass legislation like AB 319. With China’s recent ban on plastic waste imports and plastic producers planning a massive scale-up over the coming decades, it’s critical for government to take action to stop plastic pollution — for the health of our environment, our waterways and oceans, and the animals too. 

Take Action: Tell your CA representative to connect the cap.

An 18-foot-long endangered whale shark washed ashore in Pamban South Beach, Tamil Nadu, India on Tuesday. Although experts said the whale shark died due to internal injuries from hitting a rock or large vessel, wildlife officials found plastic garbage–including a plastic spoon–in the animal’s digestive tract.

Wildlife ranger S Sathish, who examined the whale shark, told the The Times of India:  “It is a stark revelation how plastic waste is getting into the marine eco-system. The marine species can’t distinguish between floating plastic and prey.”

The whale shark was 18 feet long and 10 feet wide. Photo by The Times of India

The endangered whale shark is filter feeder, which eats by sucking water, plankton, and fish larvae into its mouth and filtering the water through the gills. Plastic pollution is an increasing threat as plastic debris in the world’s oceans outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.

Plastic pollution harms wildlife when animals become entangled in plastic or they mistake it for food. Over 260 species, including invertebrates, turtles, fish, seabirds, and mammals, have been reported to ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers, and death.

33 percent of discarded plastic, such as cutlery, bags, cups, bottles, and straws, are used just once and thrown away. Learn how you can refuse single-use plastic.

Read more on how plastic straws harm wildlife

The Turtle That Became the Anti-Plastic Straw Poster Child