A.P. “Freddy” Ramirez, P.E., is on the Board of Directors for Bike Texas, which encourages and promotes bicycling, increased safety and improved conditions for cyclists. His company, Pendgo Timing, manages running, cycling and paddling races, including the Paddle for Parkinsons race coming up on August 30th. Freddy has pushed race organizers to move away from cheap, disposable bags for entrants’ race packets to sturdy, reusable ones imprinted with sponsors’ logos.
He and his wife live on Corpus Christi Bay and enjoy the peaceful setting, especially on calm mornings when dolphins feed along the shore. Unfortunately, he relates how plastic bags and beverage containers are flushed out into the bay through a nearby storm drain outfall every time it rains.
Having lived in Austin, Freddy is accustomed to bringing his own bags when going to the store. “We shopped at Whole Foods and brought 3 to 4 reusable bags every time. We have this big insulated one that we bought years ago and it keeps all our milk, chilled and frozen foods cold until we get home.” Like our other Bag Heroes, Freddy shows that bringing your own bags is easy once you get in the habit.
New research by marine scientists is helping to answer the questions of how much plastic is in the world’s oceans and where it’s going. Scroll down to view global maps and watch a very informative video.
Voestalpine, the Austrian company that’s building an iron smelting plant near Corpus Christi Bay in Portland, donated $1,500 today to Skip the Plastic. State-of-the-art technologies will help the plant to significantly minimize water demand, reduce the amount of waste produced and hopefully achieve the goal of zero air emissions. With a strong focus on the environment and sustainability, Voestlapine is setting the bar for other Coastal Bend companies.
Matt Pastl of Voestalpine stands on the right in the photo, with Neil McQueen of Skip the Plastic on the left. Despite appearances, they don’t have the same barber.
Jace Tunnell is a marine biologist who understands that we need to be good stewards of our local bays if they’re going to thrive. On an average weekend, you can find his family spending the day at the beach, camping in a state park or enjoying the scenery on Corpus Christi’s bayfront.
As a parent helping to raise two children, he wants to pass on his sense of stewardship and help foster a strong feeling of pride in the city they call home. What’s the connection between city pride, the bay and reusable shopping bags? “I want to set a good example for my kids about making Corpus Christi an even better place to live and protecting the beauty of this great city. Bringing reusable bags when going shopping is one way to do this.”
For the month of June, we are excited to recognize Dr. Sylvia Earle as our Bag Hero! Anyone who has had the opportunity to hear Dr. Earle speak has no doubt of her passion for the oceans. She warns that the oceans are in crisis, threatened by overfishing and dumping of waste. Still, she remains hopeful that if we act now, we can make changes to save them. Her advice on shopping bags is, “Do your part — part ways with plastic shopping bags. Every plastic bag not used is one that will not tangle a turtle, choke a whale or clutter a beach.”
Dr. Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, has been called a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and first “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine. She has been the chief scientist of NOAA and is the chair of the Advisory Council of the Harte Research Institute. She has authored more than 190 scientific, technical, and popular publications; lectured in more than 80 countries; and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.
After Mayor C.J. Wax declared May 24th-26th to be “Skip the Plastic Weekend” in Rockport (see previous blog), Fulton’s City Council and the Aransas County Navigation District passed similar resolutions also recognizing “Skip the Plastic Weekend”!
Events planned for the special weekend include:
• Showings of the award-winning movie, “Bag It” on May 24th and 25th at 1:30 PM in the Education Center at the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor. The movie is free and free popcorn will be served! H-E-B will be there giving away automobile rear view mirror hangers to remind you to take your reusable bags into the store and key fobs with foldaway bags.
• The Aransas County Navigation District will pass out free mesh trash bags at Rockport Beach.
• H-E-B will give away free reusable bags at their Rockport store.
• All week, a great exhibit about plastic pollution in the ocean will be displayed in the Rockport City Hall lobby; the display includes plastic water bottles that have bites taken out of them by turtles.
The cities and Navigation District support reducing the impact of plastic as a means of preserving their natural environmental health, economy and beauty of their ecosystem.
Mayor C.J. Wax of Rockport issued a proclamation yesterday, declaring the Memorial Day holiday (May 24-26) to be “Skip the Plastic Weekend in Rockport”. The proclamation urges all residents, businesses and visitors “to take individual actions to reduce the impacts of plastics in the environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single use plastics and recycling of all plastics.”
Local partners of Skip the Plastic Rockport/Fulton will help to promote the special weekend with presentations, a bag giveaway and a showing of the movie “Bag It”.
For the month of May, our Bag Hero is Mary Beth Maxwell, a Corpus Christi resident and average shopper. We approached her last week as she walked out to her car after buying groceries. When asked why brings her own reusable shopping bags, she replied, “The plastic bags just go flying everywhere and it’s horrible. It’s not good for visitors to see all the plastic trash in our city.”
She sees the reusable bags as an easy alternative to disposable ones. “Sometimes I leave them in my car and have to come back out to get them, but I like having them.”
Mary Beth’s pride in Corpus Christi shows and she knows that the simple step of bringing her own bags is helping to make our city cleaner. Way to go, Mary Beth! You’re our hero!