December 29, 2014

Companies Respond to Women's Call for Toxic-free Products

I recently read a very interesting article in “Green Biz” which pointed out that women buy the vast majority of consumer products especially house cleaning products and cosmetics.
The article also pointed out that women are now paying much greater attention to the nasty chemicals that may be in their purchases, the list of which is long and disturbing and can be connected to many maladies including cancer. I personally believe the connection between chemical contaminants and cancer is very strong.
Green Biz goes on to relate that product manufacturers are now under pressure to report the contents and remove the toxins from their merchandise, something for which I am highly delighted and very grateful.
If you would like to increase your personal awareness about these chemicals and non profits that are holding the producers accountable, you can visit organizations such as: Mind the Store; Campaign for Safe Cosmetics; Getting Ready for Baby and most importantly, Women’s Voices for the Earth.
I would also like to point out something that Captain Charles Moore said to me a few years ago and something that I have never forgotten. He stated, “If it is on you, it is in you,” meaning that if a contaminant touches your skin, it will be absorbed into your body.  
[Also posted on the Chirping Bird Facebook page]

December 16, 2014

Pope Francis is an Honorary Chirping Bird!

His Holiness, Pope Frances, is a ‘Chirping Bird’

Since the formation of the Chirping Bird Society, many people have asked what exactly is a ‘chirping bird’?

The simple answer is that a ‘chirping bird’ is any man, woman or child, in any shape, form or fashion, whether white, black, brown, red or green, young, old or in between, who is prepared to chirp, cheep and chitter about problems caused by humans.

Chirping birds also honor and support those people that are bringing awareness to the challenges that we face.

Today, we wish to recognize His Holiness, Pope Francis, as an Honorary Chirping Bird. Since taking office, Pope Francis has ‘chirped’ about many varied and challenging issues.

He is calling for the world to care for the poorest and most marginalized people, those that have been ‘enslaved’ and ‘exploited’ by an economic system that treats them like machines.

He wants a more equitable society and a just system---a system that enables everyone to succeed.

He is also calling society to be more accepting of divorced and gay people while he acknowledges the opposition from more conservative members of his church.

But best of all, His Holiness is an outspoken advocate for the environment and animals. He suggests that “Environmental degradation is one of the biggest challenges we face. He also suggests: “A question that we are not asking ourselves: Is not humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?” Pope Francis states that we humans “should be ‘Stewards’, not ‘Masters’ of the Earth.”
Perhaps no other individual has such a high perch from which to chirp about the wrong doings of this world so the Chirping Bird Society salutes His Holiness for the stance that he has taken on these important issues. “One chirp cannot change the world but we can all chirp in support of Pope Francis and millions of chirps will change all things.
A quick recap about the history of the Chirping Bird Society: During the apartheid era in South Africa, a white female Member of Parliament (MP) called Helen Suzman, knew in her heart that apartheid was wrong. She therefore became an anti-apartheid activist, who stood up to all the other MPs about the evils of the political system. She was the only MP in S.A., who ever visited Nelson Mandela, the first black president of S.A.  Helen talked so much about the evils of apartheid, she was dubbed the ‘chirping bird.’ Hence: The Chirping Bird Society!

November 28, 2014

Captain Planet Young Superhero for Earth Award

On behalf of the Chirping Bird Society, I congratulate the two young founders, Carter and Olivia Ries, of One More Generation, for their recent nomination for the Captain Planet Young Superhero for Earth Award. 
Carter and Olivia will be in excellent company on 5th December in the Intercontinental, Buckhead, Atlanta, sitting at the dignitary table with the other two recipients, Dr. Jane Goodall, CPF Exempler Award, and Dr. Marshall Shepherd, CPF Protector of the Earth Award. Also sitting at the table with the young superheroes will be Larry King, former CNN host of Larry King Live, in addition the children’s maternal grandfather.

Carter and Olivia started their own foundation in 2009 in an effort to bring awareness to the plight of the endangered rhino and other exotic animals. Shortly, thereafter, the kids were horrified at the images coming from the Gulf during the BP spill and begged their father, Jim Ries, to drive them to the Gulf in order to help with the oil-covered marine creatures.

It was then that a volunteering professor from Berkley, CA asked the kids about plastic pollution and explained that the issue of plastic marine debris was an even bigger threat to marine life than the oil spill.

Olivia and Carter, subsequently, educated themselves about the devastating effects of plastic in the ocean and among many other projects, they now teach a Plastic and Recycling Awareness Curriculum both locally and in overseas countries.

The Ries children rightfully deserve Captain Planet’s Young Superhero for Earth Award and the Chirping Bird Society, pronounce them ‘chirping birds’ of the highest order.
Goffinet McLaren                                                                                       

October 17, 2014

Elizabeth Beaumont and ProAcqua!

Chirping birds are any man, woman or child who will chirp, cheep and chitter about plastic litter. Birds come in all shapes and sizes, colors, habits, and routines. Birds chirp and cheep in different songs but all birds of a feather flock together to bring awareness to the devastating effects of plastic contaminants. The Chirping Bird Society recently found Elizabeth Beaumont who lives in Australia and like all ‘chirping birds’,  she is totally dedicated to the environment.
We want to take this opportunity to give a chirp out to Elizabeth who was recently a guest on the Robert Sharpe blog radio show, “Bringing Inspiration to Earth.” The link to the show is below.
Elizabeth has worked as a Liver Intensive Care Nurse and recently has returned to new studies, this time in the area of Sustainability. During a merging of two assignments that concerned water extraction for the bottled water industry and the ingestment of plastics by sea mammals and birds, she decided to approach the senior management of the university and make formal presentations to phase out and subsequently ban the sale of water housed in polyethylene terephthalate at the university. She was successful making her university the 1st in Queensland and only the 2nd in Australia to ban the sale of water in P.E .T. This will result in a massive reduction of carbon emissions. The university has installed 3 ProAcqua machines the greatest innovation of water vends that ever have been invented. In 2014 she traveled to Cambodia with the university and was asked by the Minister of Tourism to advise on plastic pollution there.  Her work to communicate the dangers of this issue has been enhanced by her steady efforts to connect with other interested people including, experts in the broad field of plastic pollution.  She actively picks up all kinds of plastic and volunteers for the Two Hand Project while applauding everyone else committed to picking up plastics. For 30 years she has actively practiced Nichiren Buddhism. Together with her family, Elizabeth enjoys life on a Land for Wildlife property where marsupials, birds and aquatic life live freely in the Hinterland of South East Queensland.
Congratulations Elizabeth for all your hard work and commitment to the environment. You are an excellent ‘chirping bird’ and we are delighted to have you in our nest.
To contact to Elizabeth email her at 

September 22, 2014

People's March for Climate Change!

Recently my friend, Robert Sharpe and I were discussing the difference between JOY and GRATITUDE.
A few days later 
Debbie Clark Trolsen invited me to take the Three Day Gratitude Challenge on Facebook.
And I listed my 9 highest priorities for being grateful in my life.

Yesterday's 'People's March', which demands action to reduce the devastating effects of fossil fuels on our planet included both JOY and GRATITUDE simultaneously: 
JOY that the world was coming together about Climate Change and GRATITUDE for Bill McKibben [] and the people who organized the event.
I will look forward to the day when I again feel the same two emotions---the day when the same committed activists turn out to demand action for Plastic Pollution on our Planet. 
That will be a day of both tremendous JOY and GRATITUDE!

August 22, 2014

Our Chief Chirper, Captain Charles Moore, returns from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch!

After spending nearly two months in the North Pacific Ocean Gyre, where massive amounts of plastic litter have accumulated, Captain Moore returns to Long island, CA, with his findings. Captain Moore first discovered the plastic litter in 1997 when he was the first person to bring attention to ocean plastic litter.
Please find below links to his interviews with the media on his arrival home.

June 22, 2014

June Jordan's experience with hospital plastic bags!

Presented by June J Jordan
Please read and be warned about the useless need for bags if such an occasion arose.
I always bring my own sheet [more privacy] and in future will also carry my own bag.

Today I had to go to the Grand Strand Breast Health Center at 82nd Parkway for the first time because South Strand no longer does diagnostic mammos. At South Strand you put your clothes in a locker. Today I was given a heavy weight plastic bag with a drawstring to put my things in and keep them with me. This was a 'one-use plastic bag" for 15-minutes! This is an appalling needless use of plastic. This was one office--I don't even want to think of all the plastic that hospitals and doctors offices use and discard every day.

I found this on line today and thought I would pass it along as an FYI. Found the "SOLUTION" paragraph particularly interesting and wonder what others thought about this.

May 28, 2014

An excellent response to the Loris Times, SC by Grace Gifford

Response to Dr. Gary L. Welton "Opinion"
May 8, 2014, Loris Times

The May 8th Loris Times piece by Dr. Gary Welton “Your Trash is My Spring Yard Work, Can’t We Do a Better Job?” explained our garbage problem very clearly. Like Dr. Welton,  I also pick up other people’s trash from my property, and I live on a dead end street, so these are my neighbors!  Beyond our front yards, as Dr. Welton describes, this is a global problem. 

I agree that enacting larger legal penalties will not have much impact, but that a new way of thinking- a new cultural norm- is long overdue.  Currently I am a member of the SC Litter Control Association, and maybe you should be too.  In addition to holding a very informative conference in North Myrtle Beach yearly, Association membership is mostly comprised of Litter Control Officers.  It was informative to hear some of the stories come out involving Officers applying the law and risking their lives to make our world a cleaner place.  Let’s support our men and women who have taken on this challenging duty.  Thank you, Litter Control Officers.

Another group that is working to reduce trash in an alternate way is the Chirping Bird Society.  This group strives to reduce litter on land and in the water by encouraging individuals to change their personal habits.  By chirping, tweeting and twittering about waste issues, people will hopefully move toward change.  This group was begun to address the impact that disposable plastics have on marine animals.  Since then, it has become apparent that plastics have entered our food chain, and that most of us humans carry a “body burden” of toxic plastic chemicals.  Some of these act as hormone disruptors, and others have never been tested or evaluated in any way.  The plastic straw thrown in a roadside ditch is on its way to photo-degrading, and after it turns to powder, its dangerous chemicals will be on the way to our water table, our food web, and our insides. 

Roadside litter, as Dr. Welton writes, is “an easy fix”, but I may need reminding in August when our group returns to our two-mile stretch to pick up other people’s trash on Hwy. 701.  If we do not address the larger issue, of trash in our waterways and ocean, we will continue to pollute the base of our food chain in ways that we don’t yet understand.  Individuals can decide to bring reusable bags into stores, and can decide to fill up their drink mug at a convenience store where they won’t be compelled to take yet another single use foam or plastic drink cup. In our churches, we can choose to use real dishes and flatware rather than fellowship with a resulting trash bag full of foam cups, plates and plastic ware.   As a County and as a State, we can decide to enact sensible public policies that will safeguard our health and the health of our children and our food chain. And starting today, we can just say “no” to disposable plastic and packaging to take action as individual citizens.

Grace Gifford

May 27, 2014

"Initiate A Plastic Bag Ban" by Ted Duboise

"Initiate A Plastic Bag Ban" is an environmental guidebook for starting a
plastic bag ban in your hometown. Easy to read, the book chapters include:
"Problems with Plastic Bags", "Elements of an Ordinance", "Getting City
Hall's Attention", and "Resources" that will help in your campaign.

Initiate A Plastic Bag Ban is written by Ted Duboise, Publisher of ‘Plastic
Bag Ban Report’. Duboise has been monitoring and tracking plastic bag bans
across the U.S. and around the globe for over four years. In writing the
book, Duboise draws from his vast knowledge of plastic bag ordinances and
plastic pollution to lay out a solid, workable plan of action.

He brings you the stories of grassroots efforts by people in several
jurisdictions who have been successful in getting City Councils to adopt
plastic bag regulations. He gives examples of what worked for them.
Duboise also included a "Resource" guide which refers to successful
ordinances, ways to get your campaign noticed, government sources of data,
and a sample petition to be used in a plastic bag ban campaign.

"So many people across the nation have asked for this material", stated
Duboise. The book will answer all their questions. Plastic bag bans and
disposable bag bans have exploded across the world. More and more people
are taking notice of the extreme amount of plastic pollution in our
oceans. They seek ways to reduce our impact on the environment. The sheer
volume of plastic bags used today is staggering. In fact, over 90 billion
plastic bags are unaccounted for in the U.S. Are they in our oceans?

See book cover below:

May 25, 2014

Chirping Update

Dear chirpers,
We can all be chirping birds---men, women and children.  The only thing required from a chirping bird is to reduce one’s plastic footprint and chirp or cheep to family and friends about the dangers of plastic to our society and our natural world.

“Hero of the Sea” Capt. Charles Moore once said that the only way to solve the problems of oceanic pollution is to prevent plastic from reaching the ocean in the first place.  It is through the efforts of Capt. Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Institute and many other groups such as the Plastic Ocean Project, Plastic Pollution Coalition,  5 Gyres Institute, Manfred Albatross, Nature Drive, Two Hands Project, One More Generation,  Angela Sun, Chris Jordan, Beth Terry and many others, that there is hope for a cleaner  and healthier ocean. And we have now graduated from the goal of preventing plastic reaching the ocean to one of ZERO WASTE. ZERO WASTE means not using disposable plastic products at all.

We are delighted to inform you that the number of chirping birds ‘cheeping’ and ‘chittering’ about disposable plastic around the world has grown enormously. From Ireland to Australia, we continue to cheer for the organizations and individuals who are presently devoting their time and energy to bringing awareness to plastic in our seas.

We are not trying to raise money - only AWARENESS of this critical health and environmental problem --- one chirp, cheep or chitter at a time!  

You can start by liking and sharing this post on Facebook, and please sign up to become a chirping bird. We have recently created a Mail Chimp email list for your privacy. If you wish to be added or removed from the list just email me at:

April 14, 2014

Earth Day Event: The new documentary, "Plastic Paradise"

Chirping Bird Society and S.C.U.T.E present

"Plastic Paradise"

to help celebrate

Earth Day, 22 April, 2014 at the Tara Theatre, Litchfield, SC at 3.00 PM

May 26, 2013

Honorary Chirping Bird, Uli Sharbinie

Chirping Birds come in numerous varieties, from countries all over the globe, and they have many songs to sing.

On facebook a few months ago I had the good fortune to encounter a ‘Chirping Bird’ with a different song. Since I read the first message from this Bird, I have gravitated to his postings with enthusiasm and today I am delighted to add Muslihudin (Uli) Sharbinie to our list of Honorary Chirping Birds.

Uli works as a UNESCO Youth Peace Ambassador in Indonesia where he lives teaching environmental science.  He has a delightful way of expressing his emotions about the problems on our planet that are so prevalent today and in so doing he reveals the tenderness and caring that he feels about children, animals and the environment. One of his dreams is that all children have access to a secure and sustainable education.  He manages an “Open Junior School”, enabling hundreds of low-income children to attend school and he has also established a “Vocational High School” at which older children may develop life skills that are needed in today’s competitive world.

In addition to preparing children to live sustainable lives, Uli dreams that all animals should be free to live in their own world.  He is greatly concerned about the beautiful and loving dolphin and is totally opposed to the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan. Uli is committed to raising awareness about this Taiji dolphin hunt at which hundreds of dolphins are killed and their young are captured to be trained for dolphin spectator shows. Uli believes that the hunt must be ended through peaceful, respectful and solution-based ways. He expects the change can best come from the Japanese people themselves, motivated by support from the outside world. [If you are not familiar with the Taiji hunt, please see the movie “The Cove”, directed by former dolphin trainer, Ric O’Barry].

Worldwide, people are encouraged to visit Marine parks to watch dolphin shows on the pretext that the shows are educational. The sad truth, hidden from the public eye, is that the dolphins are held captive in concrete pools after being captured in Taiji.  Uli states; ‘These shows are not about education – they are about making money’ and he implores; ‘we must discourage attendance at dolphin shows. They are totally and morally wrong’.

Uli rightly believes that animals, just like humans, have emotions, fears and feelings, and feel stress just like we do. So we should leave animals to lead their own natural lives, without interruption just like we humans like to lead our own lives. As a teacher, Uli feels a strong obligation to deliver real facts to humans, and help put them on the right track.

Uli was also recognized by Captain Manfred Reicher and his team as Outstanding Individual For The Year 2011. And he shares what his students do with plastic waste at;

You can visit Uli at his page on Facebook, (Uli Sharbinie) and support this kind and loving man with his worthy causes. Uli is a gentle chirping bird with a very strong song.


May 2, 2013

Trash Reduction Act of 2013

Good morning chirping birds,

Please read this message from Ted Duboise, a good friend and publisher of the Plastic Bag Ban Report, which provides more relevant information regarding US Congressman, Jim Moran's cleverly worded Trash Reduction Act of 2013. 

Ted states:

I have more pertinent information on the Trash Reduction Act of 2013. As

you said, it is important to place a phone call to Rep. Moran, but it is

just as important to call the bill's co-sponsors AND the committees where

the bill is being considered.


First, for those who haven't read it, here is the original article:


Here is the vital info. LET'S RALLY.!


Bill Number:  H.R. 1686  Title: Trash Reduction Act of 2013


Status: Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to

the Committee on Natural Resources, for a period to be subsequently

determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such

provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.



Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon. Phone: 202.225.4811


Rep. John Garamendi of Walnut Grove, California. Phone: 202.225.1880


Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton of D.C. Phone: 202.225.8050



Bill H.R. 1686 is currently in these committees:

Committee on Natural Resources. Chairman: Doc Hastings. Ph: 202.225.5816

Committee on Ways and Means. Chairman: Dave Camp. Ph: 202.225.3625


I will keep you updated on the status of the bill.


Ted Duboise, Publisher

Plastic Bag Ban Report





















April 22, 2013

Joyce Goodchild: Plastic as Hazardous Waste

Joyce Goodchild lives in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. I had the great pleasure to meet Joyce when she called me to volunteer at an event that I was organizing for Capt. Charles Moore. Joyce is very interested in the environment and helping in any way possible. She also encourages her grand children to care for the Earth and regularly goes out to clean the roads around her house when she usually finds plastic of all kinds.


In addition to being an outspoken ‘chirping bird’ Joyce is also an enthusiastic writer and recently sent the following letter to multiple newspapers.


Our country, along with China and Europe, is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste in the world. Not only plastic shopping bags, but excessive packaging harms our environment, fills our landfills and harms wildlife, particularly when it gets into the ocean.


Most of this plastic, containing mixtures of materials that lack durability or cannot be separated, cannot be recycled nor reused. Many of these pollutants, which have been found to be chemically harmful because they are either potentially toxic or absorb other pollutants, are classified as solid waste and are treated in the same way as food scraps or grass clippings.


It is imperative for the health of our planet that these three countries come to an agreement to classify these materials as hazardous because of the damage they do when they decompose, and the United States should lead the way. Any manufacturer of plastic, including the food and drug industries, which produce such an incredible amount of waste in their packaging, should have to prove their packaging is safe too.


The Chirping Bird Society thanks you for this one of many contributions, Joyce. Well done!

April 16, 2013

Honorary Chirping Bird, Abby Goldberg



                                        Honorary Chirping Bird, Abby Goldberg

Chirping birds of all ages evolve because of strong belief systems or because of an encounter with some person or thing that triggers a reaction which cannot be ignored. Capt. Charles Moore accidently encountered what became known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of plastic in the Pacific Ocean with which he became obsessed and subsequently took his findings to the media. Daniella Dimitrova Russo felt so strongly about plastic in the ocean, she was compelled to speak out despite the fact that the American Chemical Council (ACC) and Coca Cola, two of the biggest polluters in the world, were helping to sponsor the event at which she was speaking. Beth Terry saw the decomposed body of an albatross chick whose plastic stomach contents spilled out on to the sand after having starved to death and the two children of One More Generation, Olivia (10½) and Carter (12) were so upset at the probable extinction of beautiful African animals that they persuaded their parents to start a non-profit organization through which they could make their concern public. Now the children also make presentations about the devastating effects of disposable plastic.

The most recent chirping bird with whom I have become acquainted is an 8th grader from Illinois, Abby Goldberg. Abby began a school project with a view to banning plastic bags in her home town. The school project very quickly changed Abby’s life and she subsequently opened a facebook page calling herself Activist Abby to bring awareness to the problems of plastic bags. I have been so touched by Abby’s initiative, I want to help spread her passion and make her the latest Honorary Chirping Bird. Actually Abby tells her story so well herself, you can read about her in her own words:

I struggled for a long time for a school project that would make a positive impact on my community and the environment. The idea literally flew in my face. I live less than a mile from landfill and on windy days, temporary fencing is put up to capture thousands of plastic bags. Bags get entangled in the trees and bushes on the perimeter of my neighborhood. Actually, that wasn’t what made me the angriest about plastic bags. If you “Google” plastic bags, one of the first images you can find is of a whole plastic bag wrapped around a seabird. That’s what got me hooked! I couldn’t believe that was happening! I love animals! I needed to find out more.

I spent the first part of 7th grade researching the issue. Besides being made from limited resources, I found out that plastic bag litter was a huge problem. Once I started paying attention, it seemed like everywhere I looked there was a plastic bag! How was this happening? I spent just two hours at my local grocery store observing just one checkout lane and counted 173 plastic bags leaving the store. How many checkout lanes and how many stores are in the United States? This is where they were coming from.  The average American uses 350-500 bags a year. On windy days, I can tell that not many people are recycling these bags. I also learned that recycling plastic bags is really not a good solution. But, that is a whole other blog!  Not only are seabirds impacted by plastic bags, but sea turtles, whales, cows, goats, and camels die a horrible death by eating plastic bags. Why should I, a kid in the Midwest, care about plastic bags litter so much?

We are all connected and everything we do impacts OUR world. Plastic bags were made to be disposable, thrown away. Oops, now WE have a problem. That plastic bag, that escaped my landfill, may float in the river near my house, and then make its way to the Mississippi river. That river leads to the ocean. That plastic bag may mistakenly end up as a sea turtle’s dinner, killing it. Or, think about this. That plastic bag may photodegrade, breaking into bits, attracting toxins and eaten by a fish. If you are a seafood lover watch out! I would be heartbroken thinking I caused an animal’s death all because I needed a convenient way to bring home something I got at the mall.  But what was I to do?

I was convinced that if I just told my community about the dangers of plastic bags, the unlimited resources we were using to make them, and how they are part of a bigger problem of our throw away culture, that everyone would see my side and want to change. I would maybe make a kid video, show pictures of animals entangled in plastic bags, and get a whole presentation ready to show my village board. After all, bag bans were happening all over the world. This was going to be fun. But, just when I started, a bill was passed in my state that would ban any local communities from having a plastic bag ban. How did that happen? I think it was a compromise that was reached by the retailers, the bag makers, and representatives. It was supposed to take care of bag litter. To keep everyone happy, goals were set to increase the recycling of bags, but bans would not be allowed. This way retailers would never have to deal with different local ordinances regarding plastic bags. Well, now what?

A petition on was suggested. Luckily, I had a friend who knew a friend! I learned quickly that activists have a huge network of friends who help each other out. All have a common goal of doing good in the world and are willing to share their resources. Activists in my state were fighting this bill too and activist in other states were trying to ban the bag. I had all kinds of advice from adults willing to talk to a teenager. I quickly made a video plea to, wrote a passionate letter, and I was on my way. I petitioned my governor to veto Senate Bill #3442. With a network of new friends, and the help of social media, I was able to get of 175,000 signatures and I am happy to report, the governor did veto that bill. I got signatures from all over the world! People understood that this bill could set a precedence and that the bag makers were influencing politics to keep making their bags. I don’t know if bans, taxes on bags, buyback programs or bag maker responsibility is the solution, but now my village has the choice to solve the issue however they want to. Recently, I was told that a plastic bag ban probably would never happen in my village or county. Maybe that is the case, but we don’t have to wait for legislation! You can be the change and change before you have to! Demand it of yourself.

After the veto, I started a facebook page and I have started to visit some local schools to speak with kids about the issue. I am determined to get the word out about plastic bags. I have the facebook page loaded with articles, facts and pictures. The more people are informed, the more likely they will make better decisions. The bag monster, made of 500 bags one person may use in a year, is a great visual, an “Oh wow,” moment. Now I am lucky enough to have another great visual aid, the education kit from 5gyres! When I first opened it up, I was truly amazed! Teachers and kids will literally see and TOUCH the plastic bits and debris taken from OUR ocean. They can see what our marine life is living in and eating. Seeing will be believing! I know personally, that whenever I can see and touch something as part of a lesson, the facts stay with me.  Kids will understand that plastic items they may throw away might just end up in the ocean.  They will see that when it comes to plastic, there is no away.

I not only discuss plastic bags, but how kids have power to change their world. We don’t have money, special interest groups or political power, but we do have our voices. You can write letters to your representatives, work with other activists in your community, and start petitions.  If you see something you want to change, are passionate about it, ask for help and educate yourself about it. Find people who care about it too. Be creative in finding your voice and most importantly educate others. Tell everyone and anyone.

Can you imagine if we all made a collective decision not to use plastic shopping bags? The power of that would be amazing. It all starts with just one.

What a compelling story from such a young lady! Abby could teach us adults a thing or two. I so much admire her initiative and spirit. This summer Abby will further her plastic oceanic education by partaking in an Atlantic Ocean voyage from Bermuda to Rhode Island with the non-profit organization 5 Gyres. After Capt. Moore discovered the first gyre in the North Pacific, 5 Gyres was formed to explore the other major gyres in our oceans.

The Chirping Bird Society wishes Abby lots of luck with her future endeavors and we will be following her passion, commitment and career with great interest.







April 4, 2013

Honorary Chirping Birds, Olivia and Carter Ries

Chirping birds are folks who are not afraid to speak out about issues of moral concern. Famous names that could be classified as chirping birds come to mind: Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Rachel Carson, Nelson Mandela, and perhaps less widely known, Helen Suzman, who inspired me to write this blog.

During the apartheid period in South Africa, Helen Suzman was the only MP in the SA parliament, who spoke out about the evils of apartheid. She even visited Nelson Mandela while he was imprisoned on Robben island and Helen talked so much about the evils of apartheid, she was dubbed the ‘Chirping Bird.’ The name resonated with me and after becoming aware of the plastic mess in which our planet now struggles to survive, I was motivated to form the Chirping Bird Society, a blog to honor and relate the stories of current chirping birds hoping that others will be inspired and become chirping birds in their own right.

When I first encountered Capt. Charles Moore, the sea captain, who accidently discovered the first of the oceanic gyres, and took his findings to the media about ‘the plastic ocean’ I realized that I had met my first current ‘Chirping Bird.’

Shortly thereafter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hosted an oceanic conference in Honolulu, co-sponsored by two of the biggest plastic polluters in the world, Coca Cola and the American Chemical Council. While other participants at the conference spoke softly about ‘ocean debris’ in deference to the conference sponsors, Daniella Dimitrova Russo, Executive Director of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, , had the backbone to call it what it is; namely ‘plastic litter.’ I had found another Chirping Bird.

And later, I discovered Beth Terry’s blog,   in which she explained how she became concerned about the plastic issue and set about finding antidotes to plastic products. Beth has even published a plastic free book, ‘Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too’ in which she provides all kinds of alternatives to plastic. product.(see link in column)

I have since discovered that chirping birds come in all ages and the youngest birds which I have had the great pleasure to meet are Olivia (10½) and Carter (12) Ries, who founded One More Generation (OMG), , an organization committed to bringing awareness to the plight of animals and prevent extinction for at least one more generation, and hopefully beyond.

Olivia and Carter first became aware of the impending extinction of certain animals when they first adopted cheetahs from South Africa. Distressed by the thought of such creatures becoming extinct, the children persuaded their parents to form a non-profit in order to bring awareness to the problems. The children did not want animals to keep dying, never to be seen again.

Shortly after starting OMG, the oil spill happened in the Gulf after which the children were horrified to see the struggling oil covered creatures trying to survive in the waters. The kids immediately begged their parents to help out.

Subsequently, they learned about the connection between oil, plastic and the environment and how plastic is such a devastating threat to sea birds and marine life. Since then Olivia and Carter have gone on to educate thousands of their peers on the issue of plastic pollution. In the past few months the children have met Ocean Elders, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Ted Turner and Richard Branson and they have also appeared on the Steve Harvey Show in Chicago. During the show, much to the delight of the children and their parents, Mr. Harvey surprised the family with complimentary tickets from South African Airways, to Johannesburg, providing the children the opportunity to deliver petitions to President Zuma to help save the gravely endangered rhinos.

We at the Chirping Bird Society wish our youngest honorary birds the best of luck and the greatest good fortune with their mission for one more generation and beyond.

February 18, 2013

Bonnie Monteleone: No Plastic Toys, Balls or Bowls for Pets


                                       Bonnie Monteleone


Bonnie Monteleone, a co founder of the Chirping Bird Society frequently writes very interesting articles about plastic polluting chemicals on her blog:  In her latest article, Bonnie explains how plastic chemicals can adversley cause problems for our pets. All pet owners should pay attention to the vetinarians who recommend using product other than plastic for the well being of their animals. Please read this most interesting post below.

My dear friend Butch, an electrician, was working at a friend's house when he noticed this very tender rash on this dog's mouth. When he asked what it was, the owner explained that these sores around the dog's mouth are a mystery. The vet has been treating this condition for some time and came to the conclusion that it is a reaction to plastic. "No more plastic toys, bowls, or balls for this dog." The vet is convinced it has to do with something in the plastic.


I gave a talk at the Wilmington Audubon Society meeting in January and described research that has been connecting some health problems to plastic additives such as BPA and phthalates. Afterward an older man walked up to me and thanked me. He said, "I had a cat that loved to lick plastic bags. It died of jaw cancer. I never made the connection."


We need to make these connections. According to laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group, 9 out of 10 Babies' Umbilical Cords Tested Positive with BPA. Studies I've read done by the chemical companies report that BPA is flushed out of the body within two hours of ingestion and doesn't bio accumulate. So how do they account for finding it in the lifeline to unborn children?


BPA is not found in glass so to avoid one of the ways of getting BPA in our bodies, try not to eat or drink out of plastic containers.


Joyce Goodchild: Letter to Carrabas Restaurant

                                           Joyce Goodchild

Joyce Goodchild is a chirping bird who lives in Pawleys Island, SC. Joyce is very dedicated to the anti-plastic movement and writes regularly to different companies that she feels could reduce their plastic foot print. Most recently she sent a letter to Carrabas restaurant chain pointing out the extravagance of their one-time salt and pepper shakers. Please read Joyce's letter below:
February 5, 2013


Bloomin' Brands, Inc.

2202 N. West Shore Blvd.

Suite 500

Tampa, FL 33607


To whom it may concern:


I have been a fan and devoted customer of your restaurants for some time, and not only do I patronize them, but I buy gift cards for family members for special occasions.  But I am so disappointed by the use of the disposable salt and pepper grinders you use that, unless things change, I’m afraid I’m going to find more environmentally friendly places to eat and gift. 


I’m also going to ask my friends, many of whom enjoy dining in your restaurants, to take note of this.  Not only are these adding to the landfills senselessly, but they are difficult for older folks to use.  What is wrong with regular salt and pepper shakers?  Newer is not always better.  Plus, surely, it would save your company money.


I intend to pass this along to all my friends on Facebook and request that they pass it on to their friends.  Hopefully, this letter will help you realize the impact on and the threat to our environment that this type of thing has. 


Please consider what I’m saying and give it some thought.  The public is becoming more aware of the danger to this planet of too much trash.  The excuse that much of this can be recycled just doesn’t cut it.  Only so much can be recycled, and the rest goes into landfills.


I sincerely hope you find it worthwhile to give it some thought and consider what I’m asking. 



Joyce Goodchild
This letter is an excellent example of how chirping birds can make an enormous difference one letter and one chirp at a time. Keep up the good work chirping birds.