The Rhode Island General Assembly looks to be getting a bit greener after last week’s elections.
This past Tuesday, September 8th, Rhode Island held our statewide primary election. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this election looked a bit different than in past years. Usually, we know who the winners are by the end of the night or early the next morning but this year, we had to wait a few days. So we spent a few days biting our nails and constantly refreshing the Board of Elections results page. But it was worth the wait.
When the 2019 General Assembly session began in early January, we had high hopes that this would be a banner year for the environment and public health. We had spent the previous four months working with stakeholders from around the state to put together a plan to reduce single-use plastic pollution. We had a commitment from the Governor to fight the climate crisis by supporting mandatory and enforceable carbon emissions reductions across the three largest sectors of Rhode Island’s economy.
Internet challenges come and go, and generally I don’t pay much attention to them. This week, however, I began to see pictures of people posing with bags full of trash they had collected pop up all over social media. It seems the #trashtag challenge has taken off across the globe, bringing a ton of attention to a problem that has plagued us for decades, ever since the advent of our convenient, throwaway lifestyle.
My spouse and I are expecting our first child in the spring. Needless to say, our friends and families are very excited, and we are receiving a lot of advice and insight. One of the most frequent nuggets we have been getting goes something like this: “It really starts to get fun and exciting when you get to put together your baby registry!”
With Americans' busy lifestyles, often the last thing on people's minds is how much garbage they produce. Few people realize the immense impacts their every day actions have on the environment, particularly marine life.
Single-use products are the main source of trash in our waters. When this garbage is disposed of improperly, it ends up in our stormwater and sewer systems, and ultimately our oceans, which has a devastating impact on marine life. In addition, the manufacturing of plastic products produces enormous amounts of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.
I’ve spent my entire life living in Rhode Island. I’ve grown up here, gone to school here, spent most of my time here, and ultimately been influenced by this place. Remaining in the state or leaving indefinitely both seem like equally plausible scenarios, considering my age and the line of thought that encourages young people to go out and find opportunities. However, this decision has been made more difficult for me because of experiences that have shifted my perspective on what it means to stay within the state.
Yesterday, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted to pass H5082, which will phase out the use of organohalogens, a dangerous chemical used in flame retardants that is associated with cancer and respiratory ailments.
The Senate already unanimously passed this bill in the spring, but when the General Assembly adjourned suddenly in June, the House version was left in legislative limbo. Over the summer, we worked to make sure that a strong version of this bill would be on the agenda when the General Assembly reconvened in the fall to address its unfinished business.
I am a canvassing intern for the summer here at Clean Water Action in Rhode Island. In addition to knocking on doors, I got the opportunity to shadow State Director Johnathan Berard for one day to learn how the organization operates on the policy and lobbying side. It was incredibly informative and fun!
I am a canvasser. For four months, I have been knocking on doors and talking to folks about environmental and public health issues with Clean Water Action. I recently graduated from Salve Regina University where I majored in biology with a focus on environmental sciences.
I always pictured myself doing research for an agricultural company or becoming some sort of laboratory technician, but I didn’t imagine I would be a community organizer for a nonprofit. I can honestly say I can’t imagine working for any other organization.
On Saturday, January 21st, I attended my very first political rally - the Providence Women's March. I honestly had no idea what to expect. My friend and I arrived at the South Lawn of the State House an hour early and were relieved to see a throng of pink-clad women and men meandering past tables displaying signs for recognizable social action groups. An hour later, the gathering would manifest itself into a powerful assemblage of people who collectively had a lot to say.