4 Large-Scale, Hopeful Advances toward a Sustainable Future

— and what you can do to get involved!

1Seattle Bans all Plastic Straws with #StopSucking

The U.S. city of Seattle is putting an ordinance in effect in July 2018 that will require all retailers who sell food or drink to offer a recyclable or compostable option instead of straws or plastic utensils. Small plastic items like straws, caps, and utensils are very often unable to be recycled, and even if they are, their size causes them to slip through cracks in recycling systems. This makes them a huge threat to the environment. In 2015 a video went viral of a sea turtle with a plastic straw fully embedded in its nostril which helped kick-start the anti-straw movement, and organizations like Lonely Whale have worked tirelessly to get cities to adopt an anti-small plastic stance with successful campaigns like #StopSucking. In addition to its upcoming plastic straw ban, which will save 1 million straws from the environment, Seattle previously banned all plastic bags in 2012, saving a whopping 292 million bags.

What You Can Do: Lonely Whale is taking the #StopSucking campaign to other cities. Support them here. Commit today to take note of how many plastic straws and utensils you use each day, and start requesting not to receive them when making purchases.

Disposable Sunset © Anne de Carbuccia 2017

2 Single-Stream Recycling in NYC

In October of this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would introduce single-stream recycling by 2020. As detailed in depth in our previous post, improperly sorted recyclables are one of the main causes of plastic and paper being thrown out. The often complex rules frequently discourage average citizens from recycling in the first place. Single stream recycling means that all recyclable materials (plastic, paper, etc.) can be put in one bin to be picked up and sorted later by the city. By taking the sorting process out of the hand of the individual, the recycling rate should dramatically increase (Seattle has previously implemented this system successfully). Implementing single stream recycling is the first step in NYC’s commitment to adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement despite the current U.S. federal government. Another exciting advancement to come under the plan: All homes in NYC will have drop-offs for organic waste (aka composting) by next year.

What You Can Do: For now: Brush up on the rules of recycling, and find a local composting location if your building doesn’t have a system in place.

“Commit today to take note of how many plastic straws and utensils you use each day, and start requesting not to receive them when making purchases.”

3 More than 300 Corporations have Committed to Drastic Emissions Reduction

When 195 world governments signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, it signaled a strong transition toward a low carbon economy worldwide. The Science-Based Targets initiative helps major corporations set business goals based on a commitment to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at the level required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. They also create case studies showing how a commitment to emissions reduction is actually better for business. To date, 324 major corporations have collaborated with Science-Based Targets, leading the way toward an environmentally responsible future.

Toxic Waste Shrine © Anne de Carbuccia, 2017

What You Can Do: See the list of companies that have made the commitment here, and reward them with your patronage — #ShopSmart

4 Impossible Foods is Making Meat from Plants — and just got a Huge Investment

While carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the main greenhouse gas, methane and nitrous oxide are more potent and are still on the rise. The main source of these gasses is livestock farming, and cattle production in particular (and this is not to mention the amount of water that beef production uses). Impossible Foods is a California-based startup whose main goal is to manufacture meat made from plants that is environmentally responsible and indistinguishable from the real thing. Their flagship product, the Impossible Burger, uses 75% less water, generates 87% fewer greenhouse gases, and uses 95% less land than ground beef from conventionally farmed cows. They’ve found a celebrity investor in Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Gates Foundation. Their most recent fundraising round generated $75 million for continued development.

What You Can Do: If each of us went one day each week without meat, the methane/nitrous oxide issue would be nonexistent. At One Planet One Future, we do our best to adhere to #VB6 (Vegan Before 6pm) or #Meatless Mondays — Join us!

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One Planet One Future is a 501(c)3 arts nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about climate change and environmental destruction. They host exhibitions around the world and have permanent Art Spaces in NYC and Milan (open September 2017). Get involved.