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Important New Film “Bag It!” Playing on PBS this Week

by RP Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM

This new documentary is pretty entertaining and well-made, but also very disturbing--and important.

Important New Film ...
bagitbagman.jpg, image/jpeg, 333x230

On Wednesday, April 13, “Bag It!” was shown at Barnsdall Park in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the turnout was small—and I think this movie needs much wider exposure.

Most readers here already know about the effects of plastic on birds and sea life--although the footage shown here is even worse than anything I've seen. There is also footage of impoverished people in China sorting through OUR "recyclables" as their children loiter about and pollution from a processing plant poisons the air.

But most revealing of all (to me, anyway) is the effects plastic seems to be having on us humans. As the website BagItmovie.com explains: “There are many dangers involved with bisphenol A and phthalates, two additives commonly used in plastic. BPA makes plastic hard and phthalates make plastic soft. BPA and phthalates are two plastic additives that are known endocrine disruptors. We all come into contact with these toxic chemicals through our foods, personal care products, and plastic containers every day.

"BPA has the characteristics of estrogen, a hormone that determines sexual traits and is key in the development of brain function and nerve cells. Recent studies have linked BPA to breast and prostate cancer, enlargement of the prostate, early onset of puberty, hyperactivity in children, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.”

The site goes on to say that “studies have found low levels of phthalates to cause infertility, lower sperm count, and smaller penis size.” The increase in Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder is also mentioned both on the site and in the movie.

Also insightful to me is the film's revelations about the powerful American Chemistry Council, which is made up of plastic and oil interests, including Chevron BP, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Dow, DuPont, 3M, Honeywell, and Bayer (the complete list is here: http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_acc/sec_directory.asp?CID=250&DID=616). ACC spends huge sums of money battling initiatives that would ban plastic bags. (This article mentions several of these battles: http://www.onearth.org/article/how-dc-beat-the-plastic-bag-lobby.) Some of the pro-plastic bag slogans include “save the plastic bag!”

A huge number of people are interviewed in Bag It! including Annie Leonard of The Story of Stuff ( http://www.storyofstuff.com/); Peter Coyote, whose long history of activism includes co-founding The Diggers(1) in the '60s and living at the Black Bear Ranch(2) commune (subject of the uplifting and inspiring film Commune, see: http://www.laemmle.com/viewmovie.php?mid=2533); and scientists, including Dr. Theo Colborn (see: http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/Authors/authors.htm).

The filmmakers travelled extensively to illustrate policies and endeavors to deal with plastic bags, including Seattle and Ireland (plastic bags have been banned in the latter).

This film is expensive to purchase or rent for a public screening or educational uses ($200 and $300), but it can be bought for home-use-only at $25. However, a 56-minute version(3) is running on PBS this week. Unfortunately, capitalism seems to be impeding and undermining this very important message, although the shortened PBS version is surely valuable and well worth watching.

Here are some of the dates and times for the Los Angeles area (from the Bag It! website): KLCS (PBS) *April 19 at 8:00 pm, *April 23 at 8:00 pm, *April 24 at 5:00 pm



-----

(1)The Diggers influenced Coyote's friend Abbie Hoffman but in ways that displeased Coyote and according to him, hurt the cause. See: http://www.diggers.org/oralhistory/peter_interview.html

(2)More about the Black Bear Ranch here: http://blackbearranch.org/.)

(3)The official running time is 74 minutes, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com).
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A common sight in American homes

by RP Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM

 A common sight in A...
bagitplasticbags.jpgktfqab.jpg, image/png, 239x300

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A common sight in the environment

by RP Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM

A common sight in th...
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