Day 98: Will Boris Ban The Bag?

Tremendously good news from London – the mayor, Boris Johnson, is reviving his pledge to introduce a ban on plastic bags.

My mother sent me an article that appeared in the British newspaper The Daily Mail, which has been spearheading the “Banish the Bag” campaign. The article is rather self-contradictory, so it is not at all clear whether it is an all-out ban that is being considered, or a charge. Initially it says: “It is likely the scheme would be modelled on one soon to come into effect in Wales, where the proceeds of a 5p-per-bag charge will go to good causes.”

But then Boris is quoted as saying: “‘Plastics bags are an unnecessary scourge on our environment and I’ve set out my ambition to make London a plastic bag free city. We are planning a renewed campaign to help do so ahead of 2012, when the eyes of the world are on us.” It turns out that currently he doesn’t have the power to introduce either a ban or a charge, but could seek a special dispensation from Parliament.

He first said in January 2010 that he wanted to ban the bag in London, and it sounds as if he is now keen to keep his word – a most unusual course of action for a politician, but one definitely to be encouraged. I haven’t yet met Boris, although I am friends with his father. I was most impressed with the “Boris’s Bikes” initiative, which put racks of pay-as-you-go bicycles at locations all around London. Hurrah for Boris!

If you would like to write to Boris to encourage him to do the right thing, here are the contact details. Hardcopy letters carry more weight than emails, but emails are better than nothing.

Boris Johnson Mayor of London

Greater London Authority

City Hall

The Queen’s Walk

London SE1 2AA

By email: mayor@london.gov.uk (please also provide your postal address in the email)

This is a crucial stage in the great plastic bag debate. There has been an upswing in coverage in the British press of late. Who knows if it might be your letter or email that tips the balance? Every message counts, so please do what you can to help.

And many, many thanks to all those people who have already signed the Greener Upon Thames petition” – and thanks to Doug for the digest of comments posted by friends of this blog. I am tremendously proud of my Rozlings for helping to make the world a better – and less plasticky – place!

Other Stuff:

I’ve decided to hold off on my halfway food treats until this Saturday, when Jay has proposed we have a Roz Solidarity Sunset Celebration. So that way we can all jointly celebrate my reaching halfway, the full moon, and a slightly belated celebration (if that is the right word) of 100 days at sea. It would make me very happy to think of various people around the world sending me good vibes at sunset in your time zone this Saturday, 13th August. Party on!

A big hello to sisters Margaret and Elle Lydecker. Elle – thanks for your lovely message of support. It warmed my heart to think of a gaggle of Lydeckers talking about my progress and wishing me well. Thank you!

Markus Bennett – fantastic to hear from you! So good to know you are still watching out for me. Eleanor must be quite the young lady now. I hope to meet both of you one day soon.

Norm – thank you for spreading the word.

Joan – so your dream of buying a smallholding is coming true – congratulations!! As to your friend Jeremy, I do know some fun folks in the Oxford area, although someone with an interest in vintage Italian bicycles might be stretching it a bit. Can you email me (Mum will forward) with more info about Jeremy (age, profession, personal) and I will do what I can to hook him up with some interesting people.

Helen Outen – thanks for the update on Sarah’s progress around the world. China sounds interesting, although I think I’ll stick to my beansprouts rather than chicken feet. Sarah and I have been exchanging emails from time to time as well. Always good to hear how her adventures are progressing.

Row to the Pole crew – would love to find out more about your mission. I’ve asked Mum to check out your website and send me some info. Good luck!

Aimee – the “four point tool eater jaguar” made me groan out loud – but very good!

Quote for today: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” (Helen Keller)

Sponsored Miles: Beverly Wu, Anke Altermann, Margaret at Green Drinks, Nick Perdiew, Stephanie Batzer, Anna Wildy, Ugo Pistacchio, Darrell and Sylvia Vice, Clarence Jones III, Mark Clifton, Lynn Robb, Brian Smith, Tamara Fogg, Mark Bostleman, Cynthia Kruger and Mandeep Gill. Grateful for a good number of names = good number of miles rowed. Thank you.

(Why Roz’s progress is not shown)

  • John Herrick

    Awesome quote by Helen Keller! Sunset Saturday it is then, we will be sending you good vibes! About sunset Saturday a large group of us photographers will be out in our kayaks taking photos of the full moon rising over the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I will pass it along and we all will give you a shout out!

  • Rico

    From this morning’s Los Angeles Times:
     
    “Los Angeles endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, braved shark-infested waters to try to complete a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West, Fla., to prove you’re never too old to go for it.”
     
    “But early Tuesday, she had to quit after 29 hours in the water battling ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma, CNN reported, and was vomiting when she was brought aboard a support boat at 12:35 a.m. Tuesday.”
     
    “I am not sad,” she told CNN, which was accompanying her.  “It was absolutely the right call.”
     
    “Nyad had spent years pursuing her dream.  Slashing through the red tape alone was daunting, given the relationship between the United States and Cuba, never mind her training regimen that included daily swims of up to 12 hours.  When she got out of the water, she was about halfway to Florida.”

    Roz, you are a phenomenon, and your accomplishments are legendary.  Just keep taking this one day at a time, one oar-stroke at a time, and you’ll be at your destination in a short while.  It just “seems” like forever, but forever is getting shorter and shorter.   Looking forward to the celebration party on Saturday!!!

  • Anonymous

    *Y*a*Y* Sunset Saturday it is!!! I will definately be there!
     
    Roz, I contacted Gretchen Bleiler on Facebook. She is a Olympic Medalist for Snowboarding and the main promoter of ALEX Botttle. It is a reusable metal drink bottle that splits in the middle so that it can be washed. It comes in mix and match sizes and colors and also can be used as a waterproof container for cell phones and items when not being used for drinks, the bottom can be reveresed and housed in the top for compactness, or used on it’s own as a cup… http://www.AlexBottle.com is now sending your mum one for you, (large, 32oz, of coarse) they just want to know what color pattern. Here is Gretchen Bleiler with her own ban plastic bag challenge:  http://youtu.be/5cpo1P46t10
     
    At the very bottom of your day 96 blog is instructions on how to celebrate your Solidarity Sunset in your( Roz’s) time zone as well as ours(not Roz’s:).
     
    The Saving Valentina post that I placed up here with originally 142 views at that time on you tube, now has 3,601,590 views! http://youtu.be/EBYPlcSD490On facebook, your Plastic Bag Ban Petition went on so many pages and fan sites that I quickly lost count, but already, some responses indicate that it is not falling on deaf ears. 
     
    You are amazing Roz, I am so proud of you and so happy that your light keeps shining through what otherwise is a very dark ocean. Tell the moon she has some competition, tell the sun to watch out… because here you come!
     
    Row hard today, we are excited to see our “Citizen of the World” come home soon! See you Saturday!
     
     
    Three Cheers!
    ~Jay :)
     

  • Anonymous

    Ride Boris Ride. With all of us helping he can do it.

  • Anonymous

    Jay the video is up to 3,603,611 now … AMAZING!  And the petition signature count is now at 1,846 (9 more already today). The three commenters so far today said:

    Waddell in Pennsylvania: Let the Olympics be a winner in helping to preserve and protect our oceans. Ban thos plastic bags, please. (#1,845)

    Jeff in Massachusetts: Show leadership with this Olympic games! Show that the world doesn’t need plastic bags. (#1,844)

    Susie in Vancouver: I am a fan of Roz Savage! Would like to know a viable and EASY alternative to plastic bags while at the dog park. (#1,838)

    Row non-plasticky, Roz!

  • Anonymous

    Melissa just now added her signature and comment as I was typing:

    Olympics is a world leader, world voice… USE YOUR VOICE and make a statement! (#1,847)

  • http://twitter.com/beverlywu Beverly Wu

    That Alex bottle … three cheers for cleverness! 

  • Anonymous

    The following comment was posted by Terry Liu on my Facebook status:
    “The Austin City Council took a first step late Thursday toward banning plastic bags at retail and grocery store checkouts. The council voted unanimously to direct city staffers to begin writing a ban with the help of retailers, environmental groups and others. The ban and a plan to gradually phase it in will be presented to the council by November.”Source: http://bit.ly/AustinBagBan

    My status: PLEASE HELP Roz Savage promote a plastic-bag-free Olympics, by signing http://bit.ly/PlasticFreeOly then check out your name and comment here http://bit.ly/See_Your_Signatu​re

  • Eric

    Hi Roz,

    The sun sets here at 13 2034B AUG 11. The moon rises at 2004B hours and waxes to 100% at 2057B hours where she will be in Aquarius in the planetary hour of Mercury. If Jay wanted to chose an ideal time for vibes he could hardly do better. Its on my calendar.

    Cheers!
    Eric

  • http://profiles.google.com/davidtangye David Tangye

    “Hardcopy letters carry more weight than emails, but emails are better than nothing.”

    In other news, a massive public campaign to stop deforestation of the Amazon jungle by sending letters to the authorities has finally achieved a definitive result. The jungle is now completely cleared to produce the paper required to send the mail.

  • Stephen Stewart

    p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

    Hey Roz, Is that a South End Rowing
    Club hat you are wearing in the Antarctic?

     

  • Garryfoster1

    It really looks as if London faces far greater problems than plastic bags. And Boris seems the very typical politician vacationing while cities burn..

  • Ron in Vancouver

    Hi Doug.

    For Susie in Vancouver:  I use a child’s sandbox aluminum shovel and wooden spatula plus widemouth glass jar (lidded) to accomplish the task. The dog’a feces is biodegradable, so into the toilet it goes.   Although I carry this gear in a reusable plastic comtainer,  all this equipment is quick and easy to clean…. and use again.   Help a bit?

    Ron

  • Sean McMahon

    Hey Roz,

    I’ll raise my glass to you on Saturday at sunset – we’ll be in Shenzhen for the World University Games. The British team is looking mighty fierce so we’ll see if the Aussies or the Poms come out on top!

    I’m still nothing short of amazed at your dedication and persistence in your endeavor as the rest of the world putters about on its usual business.

    All the best for the downhill half of your journey!

  • Jimbo

    Yep, unfortunately I think Boris will have more to worry about in the next couple of weeks than plastic bags.

  • Meaenglsh

    i am just wondering why instead of banning plastic, wouldn’t it be easier to require plastic bag companys to produce time limited biodegradable plastic? the monofilament industry is already starting this with a 5 year monofilatment line that self destructs in five years. just asking…

  • http://jimbell.id.au JimBellofBelmont

    Email sent and petition signed and posted to facebook.
    Cheers Jim Bell (NSW Australia)