28 June 2016

Six Pack Rings

I sent an email message to Margaret Chin and Brad Lander today. They are the sponsors of the bill passed in May and scheduled to go into effect in October that requires grocery stores in New York City to charge customers five cents per plastic bag used.

I'm hoping they'll consider taking on the issue of those vile pieces of plastic that connect cans of beer and soda.

Readers, do you have any suggestions about how to deal with these? Can soda cans be packaged in cardboard like beer bottles? Do you know an inventor who can come up with a better way?

Or is the best solution to quit drinking soda, and switch to water?


Thank you for sponsoring legislation to charge a fee for plastic bags in NYC,  and getting it passed.

I'm writing to you today to ask if you'd consider taking on six pack rings, those plastic yokes that hold soda and beer cans together and then go into the landfill.

Many people cut them into little pieces before putting them in the garbage to avoid the problem of birds choking to death in them.

But the little pieces end up in the ocean, where fish and turtles and other marine animals mistake them for food and eat them. They also contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other marine trash vortexes.

Thank you for considering this.


Update: I got a reply from Vincent Fang, Council Member Chin's director of budget and legislation, saying he's going to look into it.

Update 2: I got a reply from someone in Brad Lander's office saying she's interested in the issue. And then I saw an article about a small brewery that has developed edible six-pack rings. If New York lawmakers can find a way to encourage soda and beer companies who do business in the city to adopt these rings, it could have much wider impact eventually.

11 June 2016

I Said No

It was 30-odd years ago, and the phrase "date rape" hadn't hit my radar. I was completely sober and wide awake, but my "no" wasn't heard. My "no" wasn't loud enough, my sense of self-worth not strong enough, my body not powerful enough to give force to the word.

When rapes of college students make the news, I notice. I try to avoid reading the news articles, but end up consuming them. I have trouble sleeping, I cry a lot, I get outraged at statements that blame the survivors. And I wonder why after 30 years I can't move on and forget about it. 

The most recent case blew out my Facebook. The details were unavoidable. I raged about the rapist's refusal to take responsibility, the father's plea for leniency, the brief sentence handed down by the judge in violation of sentencing standards.

I read the survivor's statement, and I got choked up.

Eventually, I read the piece Joe Biden wrote, the open letter to the woman. I cried.

That night, as I tossed and turned and tried to sleep, I had an idea.

For the first time in three and a half decades, I thought: No.


It wasn't my fault.

It's not that "no" wasn't loud enough, or I wasn't strong enough.

He should not have done that.


That's rape culture. 

For 35 years, even though I knew that rape isn't the fault of survivors, even though I was outraged by the people who suggest it was, I believed in my own body that when I was assaulted, it was my fault. I believed in my own brain that I wasn't strong enough.

And then I cried some more, and for the first time, they were tears of healing.