The Garden Club of LBI’s Environmental Chair, Mary Wilding, updates members each month on such important topics as seismic testing, fracking, plastic pollution, sea-level changes, and other threats to our environment.
Mary goes to great lengths to raise our awareness of threats to the environment, even becoming a “Bag Lady,” which means donning a suit of plastic bags–made from the exact number each of us discards every year. Mary also solicits volunteers for local clean-up projects that keep our island safe and beautiful.
Continuing to advocate for the single use plastic bags is a priority. During the summer of 2018, The Garden Club of Long Beach Island sponsored 5 screenings of the film “A Plastic Ocean” which provided information on the causes and graphic images of the consequences of plastic pollution in our oceans.
Mary Wilding and Kyle Gronostajski, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Living Ocean, as The Bag Monster
The screenings were part of the ongoing effort to encourage Long Beach Island communities to ban single-use plastic bags and to bring home the message to visitors and residents of the damage being done to the marine environment, all its inhabitants and the impact of microplastics. Switching to reusable cloth or non-woven polypropylene bags is one step toward reducing plastic pollution in the oceans,waterways and on the land. Currently three of the six boroughs on Long Beach Island and Stafford Township on the mainland have passed a ban on single-use plastic bags. In September 2018, Senator Bob Smith, Chair of the N.J. Senate Environmental Committee introduced the strongest statewide ban on plastic products in our nation. Sen. Linda R. Greenstein co-sponsored the bill (S2776) which would ban merchants in the state from using most single-use plastic bags, straws and plastic foam food packaging. At this time, the bill is pending full N.J. Senate vote.
Continuing to advocate for island wide and a statewide ban are primary goals of the Environmental Committee for 2019, as is providing information on reducing our plastic consumption, especially other single-use plastics such as straws, utensils, bottles, cups, containers etc. Since 80% of the plastic debris in the ocean comes from the land, there are actions to reduce the pollution. The volume of single-use items is staggering. Collins Dictionary made “single-use” the word of the year! Generating community support to address plastic producers and major corporations to take action and to support those that have is the another objective.
Seismic Blasting/Oil Exploration
The issue of seismic blasting and industrialization of the Atlantic Ocean is another area of great concern. The Environmental Committee intends to actively advocate against seismic blasting and industrialization. With seismic air gun blasting, compressed air is fired into the seabed every 10 or 20 seconds for weeks or months at a time in an effort to find oil and gas formations. The intensity of the blasts can injure or disturb and increase the risk of calves being separated from their mothers for more than 138,000 dolphins and whales, including the North Atlantic right whale. The threat of disrupting important fisheries is also a concern. There are three bills pending which address protections from oil and gas drilling: H.R.1146, Arctic Cultural & Coastal Plain Protection Act, to restore protection from oil and gas drilling for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an ecologically important coastal plain and home of the Native Gwich’in people. H.R. 205, Protecting & Securing Florida’s Coastline Act of 2019, and H.R. 1941, Coastal & Marine Economies Protection Act, would protect the nation’s offshore waters to new drilling, including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the eastern Gulf of Mexico near Florida. These bills would also protect 50 National Coastal Parks as well as communities, businesses and wildlife along the coastlines. All 3 bills have passed in the House, have been sent to the Senate where they have been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. We continue to follow the status of the bills and advocate for their passage.
The Green New Deal
“Green New Deal has been presented in the House and Senate and its policies would address climate change and inequity and could accomplish three things: 1)Tackle the climate crisis and toxic pollution, 2)Create good, high-paying jobs and 3)Fight racial, economic and gender inequity. Sierra Club has five big ideas for a Green New Deal, explaining how it could revitalize our infrastructure, retrofit our buildings, revive clean manufacturing, and restore our ecosystems. If you would like to review their article and consider asking our members of Congress to support resolutions calling for a Green New Deal, click on the following website to learn more. (https://www.sierraclub.org/articles/2019/01/five-big-ideas-for-green-new-deal) If you want to add your support there will also be a website listed you can access (https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0140538&id=7010Z000001qreEQAQ&data=ce8ea67170db396344d2de2322b1521cc9132dc6a4a23395b11c488c1e419a7aff8e347b1259c2d8ddafa895f257de84&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sierraclub&utm_campaign=internationalclimate.”
NEW JERSEY DRAFT ENERGY MASTER PLAN
SPOTTED LANTERNFLY – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Beach Sweeps – October 26, 2019
Jean Archer, Pam Masturzo, Gillian Rozicer, Ginny Scarlatelli and Mary Widling participated in the October 26 Beach Sweep on a beautiful morning on Loveladies Beach, which was amazingly clear of debris! 82% of what we did collect was plastic of one type or another; Glass was the next highest category with 8%, followed by balloons, metal, paper and wood, each totaling 2 or 3%. Our mystery find were plentiful 3-5″ oval, thin, flexible, opaque, sand-encrusted discs. These could be a natural marine substance, but the mystery is not yet solved.
Photos: Ginny Scarlatelli
Shellabration – October 19, 2019
Our Garden Club was a sponsor for the event and members Judy Bouton, Bette Dellatorre, Julie Eller, Marge and Sal Girardo, Nancy Hampson, Teresa Hagan, Gillian Rozicer, Ginny Scarlatelli, Camille Sharp, Marilyn Upton and Mary Wilding manned a booth. The Garden Club provided information on 3 main topics: The Monarch Butterfly which included information on milkweed plus packets of seeds for planting. Second was facts regarding Plastic Pollution highlighted by an appearance of the Plastic Bag Monster(Mary Wilding) and a sorting activity with visitors choosing which item was recyclable and which was not. And third, identification and reporting instructions on the spotted lanternfly, a harmful pest which has now moved into New Jersey(See above for details)
Hooked on Fishing – August 10, 2019
On Saturday, August 10, 2019, two of our club members, Gillian Rozicer and Mary Wilding, staffed a display table at the Hooked on Fishing event in Harvey Cedars and provided information on plastic pollution and the spotted lanternfly. Hooked on Fishing is a free surf-fishing event for kids ages 5 to 17. Several spoke about the activities they will be undertaking in the future such as a composting effort in school, coordinating the collection of plastic bottle caps, participating in an effort to collect recyclable bottles to be reused to fabricate benches, etc.. The crowd of about 500 enjoyed the activities.
Photos: Mary Wilding