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; http://sharbinie.wordpress.com

You can visit Uli at his page on Facebook, (Uli Sharbinie) http://www.facebook.com/muslihudin.sharbinie.com 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

Website: http://www.blumenauer.house.gov/

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

Website: http://garamendi.house.gov/

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

Website: http://www.norton.house.gov/


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 Charles@algalita.org 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 daniella@plasticpollutioncoalition.org 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) info@onemoregeneration.org 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 Change.org 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 Change.org, 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, www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org , 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, www.myplasticfreelife.com   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), www.OneMoreGeneration.org , 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: www.plasticoceanproject.blogspot.com.  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.

February 12, 2013

Honorary Chirping Bird, Beth Terry


Dear Chirping Birds,

Please permit me to introduce you to our second Honorary Chirping Bird, Beth Terry.

When one thinks about Beth Terry the adjective ‘proactive’ immediately comes to mind.

Like many of us, until about five years ago, Beth was oblivious to the devastating effects of disposable plastic. Then in 2007,  just ten years after Capt. Charles Moore encountered what came to be known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Beth encountered a photograph of a dead albatross chick whose decomposed body was chock full of plastic of all kinds---plastic bottle caps, toy soldiers, cigarette lighters and other pieces of every day plastic litter. As a devoted animal lover, Beth experienced an epiphany when she realized that her ‘addiction to plastic,’ was contributing to the extinction of these magnificent birds.

Beth immediately became proactive and resolved to become an anti-disposable plastic activist. She started a blog, originally called ‘Fake Plastic Fish’, to record her plastic footprint and to reduce its size as she learned how to live without this toxic product. The name of her blog soon changed to: myplasticfreelife.com as Beth went on to give presentations about her plastic experiences and to encourage others to reduce their use of plastic for the sake of our planet. One presentation: TedxGreatPacificGarbagePatch-Beth Terry-Living Plastic Free reveals Beth’s warmth and sense of humor as she relates her plastic experience and how she measured her weekly usage. Meanwhile, the blog was gaining momentum and setting an excellent example to interested readers.

Beth`s next pro active initiative was to publish her book: “How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.” The book, needless to say, is as plastic free as possible. The cover is plain cardboard, the pages recycled paper and the spine held together with cotton thread.  In the book, Beth relates her own story with her quirky sense of humor and supplies numerous tips for plastic free alternatives to every need in a modern life style. We are all familiar with the four R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle. But Beth has seven more R’s to add to the list: replace, remember, repair, report, rally, realize, and responsibility. I heartily recommend all animal and planet lovers to pick up a copy of Beth’s book:

Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, a practical guide to ridding your life—and the planet—of plastic.
Available NOW in beautiful 4-color hard cover OR downloadable Kindle, NOOK, and other electronic formats.
Visit the
Virtual Book Tour and see what others are saying.

Beth’s latest proactive step was a letter to Sir Richard Branson suggesting that he rethink all the plastic product used on his airline, Virgin Air. Many of us have railed about the amount of plastic used by airlines but instead of moaning about it, Beth instead took action by writing to the Ocean Elder himself. You can visit Beth`s blog to read her letter to Sir Richard and the response which she received from him;  Dear Virgin America, I Love You, But Not Your Plastic Bottles

01/29/2013 Update: Richard Branson responds to my letter on his blog today: Plastic On Our Airlines. Dear Richard Branson & David Cush, This letter serves two purposes. First, to express my sincere gratitude for all you have done to make Virgin America the only airline I can fly without crying the whole time, and second, [...]


Beth’s journey into plastic is far from finished. In fact, a second phase is about to start. We know the acronym WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? Now we wonder, WWBD: What Would Beth Do? One cannot receive a more potent complement!   Beth has also been compared to Rosa Parks from the Civil Rights Movement. Although Rosa was unaware of the Chirping Bird Society, she was undoubtedly an Original Chirping Bird who spoke out clearly about the major issue of her time. While the issues today are different, the principle is similar, and Beth will soon be renowned for her proactivity in the anti-disposable plastic movement.

We at the Chirping Bird Society welcome Beth and we look forward to her many loud and cheery cheeps.

Goffinet McLaren




December 21, 2012

We've taken flight!

Dear friends, families and environmentalists,
We are delighted to introduce the Chirping Bird Society which has been formed to cheer for the organizations and individuals who are presently devoting their time and energy to bringing awareness to plastic in the ocean.

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 Pollution Coalition,  5 Gyres Institute, Manfred Albatross, Nature Drive, Two Hands Project, One More Generation,  Beth Terry and many others, that there is hope for a cleaner  and healthier ocean.

As well as supporting these existing groups, the Chirping Bird Society will spread the message to individual citizens, one person at a time, by chirping and cheeping publicly at every opportunity to help educate more people about the harmful effects of plastic.

We can all be chirping birds---men, women and children.  The only thing required from a chirping bird is to join Capt. Moore in his “Great Refuse” 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.

On this website, you will learn about a number of honorary chirping birds who have already exhibited tremendous courage by speaking out about plastic and taking action to bring awareness to the issue.

We founding chirping birds applaud all environmentalists and animal advocates, and we invite you to join us to support those that are truly making a difference.

You can start by liking, commenting and sharing this post on Facebook, and please sign up to become a chirping bird.  We will never share your email, and we are not trying to raise money - only AWARENESS of this  critical health and environmental problem -- one chirp at a time!  

Laura Lee
Goffinet McLaren
Bonnie Monteleone

December 17, 2012

Bonnie Monteleone: Plastic Ocean Project

Bonnie Monteleone is an enthusiastic blogger: http://theplasticocean.blogspot.com  informing how plastic litter ends up in the ocean where it has devastaing effects to marine life. Bonnie has been on several voyages to the ocean gyres and has first hand experience of the plastic found in ocean trawls. Please enjoy this extract from a recent posting by Bonnie about litter in her community, something that we all experience.

I once gave my son a tee shirt that said, "It's all fun and games until the cops show up." I was messing with him for getting a speeding ticket. That said, it was all fun and games when I was picking up trash around my community for a week and storing it in individual buckets to see what types of trash I found the most of, i.e. beverage containers, fast food containers, wrappers, or cigarette related items. The "fun" (loosely stated), ended when I found a dirty diaper, yes, a dirty diaper next to a car on our condo parking lot. I'm not going to lie, I lost a little faith that day. I just couldn't pick it up, not even with my handy garbage grabber, to put it on my reusable bag to take to my deck, and leave it there for the remainder of the week. I walked past it three days before I finally put it in the dumpster on the last day of my week of trash collection.

I haven't posted this story because it really took the wind out of my sails. For the first time since I have taken on this issue of our over use of one-time use plastics, I lost hope. After four years of nearly 10,000 nautical miles of ocean research, presenting to over 3,000 people, being on several radio talk shows, a national TV show, in international newspapers - including the New York Times, and the book Sea Voices, my hope for change became disenchanted from that one unconscionable toss.

It has taken me two months to post on my blog. Telling this story probably won't encourage people to want to get out there and help cleanup, and is why I had trouble telling it. Yet, I had to get back in the game and post my results from my week long study since I initiated the sport. So here it is:

Beverage containers: 56 (cans, plastic bottles, and juice cartons)

Fast Food containers: 137 (counted straws, lids, and cups as separate pieces)

Wrappers and plastic bags: 68

Cigarette related items: 71

Other: (diaper, air freshener) 2

334 (discarded items)

Collection from second day of seven day study: 

There are 83 unites in this complex with an average of two people per unit - roughly 166 people. With 334 items recovered, it is equivalent to two items per person per week being released into the environment. What was most interesting is how much of it is coming from fast food restaurants. If we were to create a data base with the names of the brands from items we find on the ground, perhaps we could bring the results to their attention to encourage them to be part of the solution. From this one sample study, McDonald's litter was the highest at 52%. With there being a McDonald's across the street, it stands to reason. What makes even more sense is companies that use up resources for one-time use items be the most proactive in getting these resources either back into the recycling system or at the very least stop negatively proliferating the natural environment with their labeled packaging. It gives them a "dirty" name.

Keep up with Bonnie's adventures both at sea and on land at:


December 16, 2012

Honorary Chirping Bird Daniella Dimitrova Russo

Please meet Honorary Chirping Bird, par excellence, Daniella Dimitrova Russo, Executive Director, Plastic Pollution Coalition


Alan Paton said in his book, “Cry, the Beloved Country” that if one acts in a way that hurts someone or something, but does not realize that one is being hurtful, then the action may be forgivable. But if one knows that their actions are imposing harm or damage on someone or something, then the action is not forgivable.

Mr. Paton went on to say that if one is aware of the infliction of damage to a person or thing, then one has a moral obligation to do something about it.

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 apartheid. She was the only MP who ever visited Nelson Mandela, the eventful Nobel Prize winning  leader of the anti-apartheid movement, who was imprisoned on Robben Island for 27 years. Helen talked so much about the evils of apartheid, she was dubbed the ‘chirping bird.’

Recently, I read about a lady called Daniella Russo, an anti- disposable plastic activist, and Executive Director of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. She attended the 5th Marine Debris Conference held in Honolulu in March 2011, which for the first time had accepted sponsorship support from Coca Cola and the American Chemical Council, both organizations being a major source of plastic pollution on our planet.  While other marine attendees at the conference were intimidated by the presence of these big corporations, referring to the disaster of plastic trash in the oceans as “marine debris”, Daniella called it for what it is---plastic pollution!

Daniella is a ‘chirping bird’ of plastic pollution!

We need more chirping birds! We need more chirping birds to chirp out about the wrong doings in this world, one of which is the inadvertent cruelty to birds and animals caused by disposable plastic.

Any man, woman or child can be a chirping bird.

It is time for chirping birds to chirp out, and even squawk, about the dangers of plastic. Polluting our environment and killing innocent creatures with disposable plastic litter is wrong.  

To become a chirping bird, all one has to do is join the Chirping Bird Society and pledge to reduce or refuse disposable plastic items, and to continuously ‘chirp’ about the devastating effects of disposable plastic upon the environment. You can chirp to friends, to family, in shops and to anyone who will listen.

You can also join Daniella’s group at:  The Plastic Pollution Coalition to keep updated on new ideas, and as our flock of chirping birds increases in number, we can help undo the wrongs of disposable plastic.  Our motto: Birds of a feather flock together!

 “One chirp cannot change the world but millions of chirps can change all things.”
To read more about Daniella and her courageous work in the fight against the plastic plague, visit:

December 13, 2012

Christamas Reminder To Chirp About Extra Litter

                      Chirping Bird Society


Dear chirping birds,

Thank you for joining our society to chirp and cheep about the devastating effects of disposable plastic pollution.

As Christmas approaches more and more disposable plastic will be dumped into landfills or disposed of in some other inappropriate way eventually reaching our oceans where it entangles and chokes our magnificent marine life.

By chirping out at check-out lines in grocery stores, departments stores, cheap chain stores, dry cleaning stores, garden centers, restaurants, etc we can help to bring awareness to plastic pollution one person at a time. When placing mail orders, we can also request paper wrapping instead of styrofoam peanuts or plastic bubble wrap. Ask and you shall receive!

Re the Chirping Bird Society, allow me draw an analogy to WWII. One of the most important forces during the war was the Resistant Movement, which was made up of ordinary folk, who refused to let Hitler take over the world. Members of the resistance did everything individually possible to help the leaders win freedom for future generations.

The Chirping Bird Society can be a ‘resistant movement’ to defeat plastics and stop the Holocaust of marine life. Let’s support the present leaders like Capt. Charles Moore; the Plastic Pollution Coalition; the Plastic Ocean Project, One More Generation; Beth Terry; Plastic Bag Ban Report to mention but a few and bring the necessary awareness to win this war on disposable plastic.

Have a peaceful plastic-free Christmas and an even more plastic free New Year!

Cheery cheeps and chitters,



August 29, 2012

Chirping Bird Society Blog Nominated for the Liebster Award

The Chirping Bird Society blog was recently nominated for the Liebster Award by The Plastic Ocean Project as one of its five blogging picks! The award is a creative way of honoring, as well as bringing attention to those who are volunteering their time and energy in order to bring awareness to, the global environmental issues that are important to us all.  We are so delighted that the Chirping Bird Society has been considered with other bloggers who share the same passions and goals for our planet. 

The idea of bringing awareness to the problems of plastic pollution and finding ways to promote a healthier planet are well advanced with many groups and organizations, but our favorite five for the Liebster Award include:
Ted Duboise:   www.plasticbagbanreport.com
Capt. Charles Moore (our lead chirping bird!):   www.algalita.org/blog/
Jim Ries and his children, Olivia and Carter:   www.onemoregeneration.org
Danielle Richardet:   http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/
Paul Sharp:   www.twohandsproject.org/

May 19, 2012

What do "Chirping Birds" Chirp?

Chirping Birds chirp, chitter and chat about disposable plastic.

Chirping Birds chirp about plastic pollution and its dangers. 

Chirping Birds chitter about plastic-related news articles, websites, and events through social media, and spread the word to friends, family, interested citizens, shopkeepers, and the media whenever possible.

Chirping Birds chat, chitter and cheep about refusing all kinds of plastic product.

April 1, 2012

What is a Plastic Purge Pledge?

Pledge to yourself to reduce your platic footprint. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and you might be saving the life of a bird or animal. 


While it might seem overwhelming to rid the entire planet of plastic, you can start by taking four small steps.

STEP 1)  Simply pledge to yourself that you will try to reduce your plastic footprint in your home. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and you might be saving the life of an animal or bird.

STEP 2)Then, pledge to yourself that you will try to avoid single-use plastic products that pollute our oceans and kill our marine friends. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and you might be saving the life of an a bird or animal.

STEP 3) Next, pledge to yourself to become active in community events that support recycling, marine clean-ups, or single-use plastic bans. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and you might be saving the life of a bird or an animal.

STEP 4) Finally, pledge to yourself to 'chirp' about plastic pollution at every opportunity - to friends, neighbors, shop-keepers, department stores, drug stores landscape outlets etc  The more you do it, the easier it becomes and you might be saving the lives of many birds and animals.


If I only have time to read one article, what's a good one? 
"Plastic Debris in the Ocean" provides an unemotional, current scientific summary of the plastic problem (be patient as it takes a few moments to load)