GreenYes Digest V97 #88

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:54:35 -0500

GreenYes Digest Wed, 23 Apr 97 Volume 97 : Issue 88

Today's Topics:
A Favor for San Diego Earth Day?
Bullets or Seeds
In relation to their recyclablility and markets (2 msgs)
Letter to the editor [hormone disrupting chemicals in plastics..]
Some Thoughts on Forestry

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Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 11:28:47 -0700
From: (Carolyn Chase)
Subject: A Favor for San Diego Earth Day?

I know I bombard many of you with too much email asking for you to write
and call and fax on many different things. But I want to make a special
Earth Day appeal to everyone on my list to please respond to this one.

Over the years of organizing volunteers to put on the EarthFair in Balboa,
we have always struggled with getting fair media coverage. For the most
part, we've done ok and some years we did pretty good. But this year, the
headlines & key photo choice in the major newspaper in town, the Copley
Press-owned San Diego Union-Tribune was particularly loathsome.

We are asking that you email or FAX a letter of complaint to the SD
Union-Tribune. For the exact details of our complaints, see the letter

Any and all Board Members, exhibitors, volunteers, attendees and supporters
of the EarthFair and San Diego Earth Day are urged to send your own note to
the SD-UT!

Many of us have had an experience that the EarthFair makes a difference and
we need to stand-up for that in the media, not the trash they select to
feed us based on their prejudiced and intolerant perspectives.

Thanks for what you can do!

Letter to the Editor Earth Day, April 22, 1997
San Diego Union-Tribune
P.O. Box 191
San Diego CA 92112-4106 VIA FAX: 293-1440

EarthFair Coverage Reveals Bias of U-T
Insult to San Diego Earth Day volunteers and public

Dear Editors:

We are writing to object strenuously to the headlines and photo choices for
this year's SD-UT coverage of the 8th annual EarthFair in Balboa Park on
April 21 and April 22.

While an estimated 75,000 people came to the park to visit almost 250
exhibitors, see a Children's Parade of 400, and the efforts of 300
community-service volunteers, the headline the Union-Trib printed was
"EarthFair draws nudists, psychics - and ecologists."

FYI there was only one table out of 247 exhibitors promoting nudist camping
(which you made the focus of last year's coverage as well) and there were
no "psychics" registered as such with event organizers.

Much worse was your selection of the photo of one t-shirt (out of at least
10,000 at the event) saying "I Kill Hunters for Fun and Sport." This
t-shirt is not an EarthFair t-shirt, but is available in retail outlets
throughout Southern California and was brought to the event by one of our

The U-T obviously knows that event organizers have little control over
statements such as this, nor can we stop publishers such as yourself from
running such a message. But our question to you is why choose this
message? Out of 75,000 stories at the EarthFair why choose this one?

The following day's coverage was then utterly predictable with the
inaccurate headline "Earth Day t-shirt tees off hunters."

It was not the t-shirt that teed off the hunters, it was the picture of the
t-shirt run in the U-T!

Of the thousands of people walking past this booth, some were probably
equally offended. and most simply ignored it, but it was the U-T that
printed thousands of copies of this message.

Does this say more about those of us trying to make a better world? Or does
it say more about how the Union-Tribune editors choose to characterize and
magnify out-of-proportion the more extreme elements of any large public

You chose to take something fundamentally good and represent it as freakish
and extreme.

Shame on you Union-Tribune!

We call on you to print this response at the very least, and if you have an
ounce of moral courage, we invite you to print a correction and an apology.

The Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers of San Diego Earth Day
Carolyn Chase - SDED Board member, co-founder
Julaine Chattaway, SDED Restoration project staff
Kari Gray, EarthFair Organizer
Chris Klein, EarthFair production supervisor, co-founder, SDED


Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 9:59:07 -0400
From: "Powell, MaryBeth" <>
Subject: Bullets or Seeds

Thank you, thank you for the bullets and seeds message, David. We all
needed to be reminded.

Mary Beth Powell
Associate Director
Center for Urban and Regional Studies
CB# 3410
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3410

(919) 962-3076
fax: (919) 962-2518


Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 12:47:51 -0500
From: "Susan K. Snow" <>
Subject: In relation to their recyclablility and markets

In relation to their recyclablility and markets:

What is the difference between a PETE soft drink container and a PETE
container that houses certified organic lettuce/alfalfa sprouts? They
both say PETE on the bottom.

What is the difference between clear glass spice jars and other clear
glass containers that hold liquids?

What is the difference between HDPE that containerizes milk or water
and those that contain liquids to wash vegetables?

Are we losing all markets for plastics or are only certain types of
plastics made from HDPE and PETE marketable?

I don't understand?

Susan Snow


Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 22:04:08 +0200
Subject: In relation to their recyclablility and markets

Susan writes:
>In relation to their recyclablility and markets:
>What is the difference between a PETE soft drink container and a PETE
>container that houses certified organic lettuce/alfalfa sprouts? They
>both say PETE on the bottom.
>What is the difference between clear glass spice jars and other clear
>glass containers that hold liquids?
>What is the difference between HDPE that containerizes milk or water
>and those that contain liquids to wash vegetables?
>Are we losing all markets for plastics or are only certain types of
>plastics made from HDPE and PETE marketable?
>I don't understand?
>Susan Snow

Simplistic as it may sound, it is only when there is a hue and cry about
plastics will anything change - here in South Africa, we have learnt how to
make change happen: (rainbow nation, remember?)

Be an activist, and resort to mass action as often as possible, with the
most horrific information that you can garner - it takes some time, but it

Kind Regards
Mr. Muna Lakhani

Cellfax: 082-131-416-9160
28 Currie Road - Durban - 4001 - South Africa
Phone: +27-31-20-28-291


Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 10:29:06 -0500
From: "Susan K. Snow" <>
Subject: Letter to the editor [hormone disrupting chemicals in plastics..]

Tue, 22 Apr 1997 09:12:00 +0200
Mr. Muna Lakhani, CATALYST, asked for more details on
>>the health/environmental-risk aspect of manufacturing and
>>drinking out of plastic containers is being almost entirely ignored.
>>This issue was addressed in the book "Our Stolen Future."
>>Plastic should be used as a material of last resort.
He asked for the websites and other info.

**...Rats exposed to phthalates, a substance found in many plastics
throughout our consumer society, have decreased sperm counts...**

Identifying the Suspects
**..More than 50 chemicals, including pesticides and
industrialchemicals, as well as lead and mercury, have been identified
as endocrine disruptors. They are found in food, detergents, and
plastics, including some used to store or prepare food, canned goods,
and personal care products. Of the 100,000 man-made chemicals used in
commerce, however, only a fraction has been fully tested for stand-ard
effects, such as cancer or obvious birth defects. The U.S. government
has not yet required testing for endocrine disruption...**

**Soto and coworkers believe that cell proliferation in the female
reproductive tract, mammary glands, and pituitary glands indicates the
presence of estrogen....Because some nonsteroidal substances can mimic
the effects of estrogens, they suggest that predicting estrogenic
effects of a chemical, based on structure alone, will prove difficult.
As a case study, the authors interpret their results with p-nonylphenol,
a substance released from polystyrene plastic, as demonstrating
estrogenic effects. p-Nonylphenol is incorporated into some plastics as
an antioxidant during manufacturing...The authors interpret their
results as showing that p-nonylphenol, an alkylphenol released from
polystyrene, produces estrogenic effects. p-Nonylphenol fits Hertz's
definition of estrogenicity that "the primary effect of an estrogen is
the stimulation of mitotic activity in the tissue of the female genital
tract. A substance which can directly elicit this response is an
estrogen; one that cannot, is not" (1)...They suggest that exposure to
p-nonylphenol may alter the function of the human reproductive system.
They think that its wide use, low degradation rate, and large volume of
production, all increase the chance that is it found in the food

**AS [Anna Soto]: Through food, probably. If we sound tentative by
saying that "probably" food is contaminated, it is because we infer this
probability exists based on solid but fragmentary information. So in
other words you have pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables, you
have industrial contaminants like PCBs and dioxins, and probably
pesticides, in fish, and also probably in meats and poultry. We do not
know how much is in each one of them. There are all these
plastic-related compounds that are present in certain plastics and
containers that could leach into food -- like bisphenol A [the building
block of a type of plastic], that leaches from the lining of cans. You
have nonylphenol [an industrial chemical often linked to plastic]
reported to leach from tubing used in milk processing. Then you have the
phthalates [another plastic-related compound] that are also used in the
packaging industry, and you have certain food additives, for example,

**AS: About seven out of ten cans of food will contain something that
leaches bisphenol A, and the other two or three will be made with
something else that doesn't leach bisphenol A. Neither the consumer nor
we can determine at this time which cans are safest for us...**


**LL: I heard, Dr. Soto, that you no longer use plastic in your lab. Has
that philosophy carried over into your home?

AS: I don't microwave anything in plastic, I use pyrex or ceramic
containers. Bisphenol A leaches out from polycarbonate plastic upon
heating, and other chemicals can leach out of other plastics.

TC: I try to avoid plastic-packaged food and microwave only in glass.

AS: I try to reduce the use of plastics. But there are things you cannot
do. For example, I can't find milk in glass.

LL: I can't find milk in glass, but I don't buy it, since I understand
that light destroys riboflavin and vitamin A in milk, and milk is a
major source of those vitamins. But maybe I should rethink that now. Of
course, there's always milk in paper cartons, but the cartons are
coated. Is that a problem?

AS: The coating may contain phthalates, for example, but I don't know
for sure. We learned that phthalates that are estrogenic are used in
some sorts of coatings for paper packaging. So again this is another of
those things [where you just don't know what is being used].

CS: We share your frustration at asking reasonable questions for which
one should have simple answers. We don't know ourselves what we are
exposed to. We became involved in this in an accidental way. We were not
looking for these compounds in our procedures. They popped up when we
used certain plastics.

[Susan Snow: Dr. John Peterson Myers, one of the co-authors of OUR
STOLEN FUTURE said: About 80 percent of food can on U.S. supermarket
shelves are lined with a plastic called Bisphenol-A..this breaks down
into nonylphenols. Both are highly estrogenic. At a March,1996,
conference, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, Dr. Myers was asked about
plastic coke bottles. He said that as far as he knows, based on the
studies that had come in, that type of plastic did not contain
estrogenic chemicals. This information is not on the web to my
knowledge. It is on an audio tape recordering which I have in my

The World Wildlife Fund is an organization that funds the work of Dr.
Theo Colborn, the lead gathered of studies (her own and others) and the
lead author in OUR STOLEN FUTURE. To learn more about Reducing Your
Risk...A Guide to Avoiding Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

Susan Snow


Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 22:04:07 +0200
Subject: plastics

Dear Susan Snow

Many thanks for ththe info on plastics and their associated risks - I am
becoming a rabid anti-plastics activist! and all ammunition (bullets?
seeds?) are more than welcome!

Kind Regards
Mr. Muna Lakhani

Cellfax: 082-131-416-9160
28 Currie Road - Durban - 4001 - South Africa
Phone: +27-31-20-28-291


Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1997 01:30:27, -0500
Subject: Some Thoughts on Forestry

Dear Aaron,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to Steven Ertelt's article
"Promoting Smart Environmentalism." Your line item retorts were
excellent and to the point. I hope that Mr. Ertelt now realizes that
the basis of his article is fundamentally flawed from an
environmental standpoint. I can understand why so many people fall
prey to the arguments used in Mr. Ertelt's article, because if there
continues to be enough raw material at the front door of a plant to
support production, then we must be doing something right in terms of
managing the "scarce resource" condition.... right? Well, today
maybe...... but if we continue down this same road the model will
break down, and people will ask "what went wrong?" We must remember
that, according to the Theory of Gaia, in the long run we can not
destroy the Earth, only ourselves. If Mr. Ertelt would like proof of
this theory, all it would take is for us to simply continue down the
same path...... here would be the results from the lab: Early
symptoms - economic drag... Second stage - economic failure...
Identification of disease: Failure to consider the linkage between
the economy and the supporting environment.

Now that Mr. Ertelt (hopefully) understands that the number of
ecosystems and importance of soil stability is just as important as
the number of trees, one would expect more sensitivity to the real
environmental issues in future Ertelt articles.

Best regards,

David B. Reynolds
Dear Mr. Ertelt,

Your article, "Promoting Smart Environmentalism," makes several
regarding forests in the U.S. and worldwide, all of which are
misleading. Let's take each of them in turn.

CLAIM #1: "Reforestation has caused [an] increase of about 450
more acres of forested land [in the U.S] ... than forty years ago."

REALITY: This claim confuses single-species, tree plantations with
natural forests, which people generally understand to contain a
diversity of plant and animal life -- not just rows of trees. The
diverse ecology of forests provides a natural hedge against disease,
protection for fragile waterways, stability for our soils, and
for our disappearing wildlife. But even if we were to talk merely
land with trees growing on it, the U.S. was originally covered with
1 billion acres, according to U.S. Forest Service historian Douglas
MacCleery. Today, tree-covered lands amount to around 700 million
most of which lack the ecological diversity of natural forests. In
only around 6% of America's original forest ecosystems remain intact,

according to the World Resources Institute.

CLAIM #2: "Commercial logging is not a major cause of deforestation;
expanding low-yield agriculture is."

REALITY: Commercial logging is the predominant cause of
worldwide -- threatening a whopping 70 percent of our remaining
forest lands, according to "The Last Frontier Forests," by the World
Resources Institute. While agricultural pressures have certainly
their toll on forests, they in no way match the threat posed by
industrial logging companies.

CLAIM #3: "Economic development and tree plantations worldwide are
promoting forest stability through well-defined property rights, the
absence of government subsidies to encourage land clearing, and high
levels and growth rates of high-yield agricultural productivity."

REALITY: High-yield "economic development" of the world's forest
has led not to stability, but rather, to a global crisis. Almost half
the Earth's original forests are now gone, with nearly 80 countries
having lost ALL of their undisturbed forest lands, according to the
World Resources Institute. Extensive government subsidies to
remain, which only exacerbate this process. In the U.S. alone,
for below-cost timber sales amounted to $323 million in 1993, which
not even include the many added subsidies in the form of road-
agency assistance, policing, and monitoring. If this degree of
use were truly sustainable, then forest products companies would not
encroaching on old-growth forest lands. The fact that such lands are
threatened in every corner of the globe indicates that the expected
rotational cycles of re-growth are simply not occurring. Clearly,
is a strong need to protect our remaining intact forests, reduce our
overall use of forest products, and replace wood-based products with
nonwood alternatives. Now that would be "smart environmentalism."

ReThinking Paper,

Aaron G. Lehmer
Program Associate for ReThink Paper at Earth Island Institute

* Join ReThink Paper -- a non-profit network of environmentalists, *
* industry experts, and concerned citizens dedicated to the devel- *
* opment of a truly sustainable pulp and paper industry. Send your *
* check/money order for $25 ($15 student/senior) to ReThink Paper, *
* 300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco, CA 94109. Your membership *
* includes a 1-year subscription to the award-winning Earth Island *
* Journal. Protect our forests through tree-free paper solutions! *
* Voice phone: 415.788.3666 / Website: *

Current ReThink Paper publications list:

Kenaf (Web, Hard Copy)
Hemp (Web, Hard Copy)

Major Retailers/Suppliers/Printers Nationally (Web, Hard Copy)
San Francisco Bay Area Paper Locator (Hard Copy)

ReThink Paper Briefing on Nonwood Fibers (Hard Copy)
ReThink Paper Activist Toolkit (Hard Copy)
ReThink Paper Elementary Teacher Presentation Kit (Hard Copy)


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #88