Saturday, March 1, 2008

Armchair Activism #1

So, the votes are in and you overwhelmingly voted for MaArAcMo, or the Armchair Activist Challenge! So every day this month, I am going to spend 15 minutes a day on armchair activism, whether that be signing email petitions, or writing local businesses or calling my Congresswoman.

I also want to credit Melinda at Elements of Time for this idea. Melinda actually makes it really easy to be an armchair activist, so for any of you who are interested in playing along at home, here is a list of websites that she's provided. I have subscribed to some of these lists already, but you can bet I'm going to get subscribed to all of them now! Thanks, Melinda!

But for my first day of armchair activism, I'm going to go local. See, yesterday, my co-worker was going out to our local frozen yogurt joint, and she offered to pick some up for me, and in a moment of weakness I agreed. I know, I should have politely declined, what with the fiesta of bacon that I'm enjoying now. Plus, when people pick food up for you, you can't control things like whether or not the yogurt will come with a plastic lid, or whether they will bring back 50 plastic spoons. But it was FRIDAY and it was FROZEN YOGURT. How could I pass it up? Plus, it's supporting a local, small business! That's always good, right?

Well, when she dropped the frozen yogurt off on my desk, I very much wished I had passed. Not only was there a plastic lid, but the frozen yogurt was in a styrofoam cup. And THEN on TOP OF ALL THAT, they wrapped some of the cups (though thankfully not mine) in aluminum foil. I mean, seriously, who does that?!  

Now I guess I didn't remember this because I rarely go to our small, local frozen yogurt place because, well, I'm a Pinkberry fan (which, I guess,  is also actually local if not small anymore.) And when I do go to this frozen yogurt place, I tend to follow Vanessa's dictum and get a cone. But I don't want a small, local Los Angeles fixture to go out of business. I just want them to use less waste. So today I wrote them this letter:

Dear Owner:

I was excited to enjoy your yogurt this past Friday, but dismayed when I realized that you put your yogurt in Styrofoam cups. As I’m sure you are aware, Styrofoam is one of the worst containers for the environment as it never biodegrades and remains in the landfill indefinitely. I’m asking that you consider an alternative such as paper cups for your yogurt.

I understand that sometimes Styrofoam is cheaper than paper, but as a customer, I would be happy to pay the few cents more per cup of yogurt, and I would bet that most of your customers would agree.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration of this matter.



I'm going to print the letter out on Monday and mail it out on my lunch break. I also included my email address, so I'll be interested to see if I get any sort of response.


hgg said...

I'm very impressed by your efforts. I wish I had more energy to do these things, but at least I paid for carbon offsetting when I booked my recent flight...

Mad Hatter said...

Arduous, this is great! I can't wait to hear what response you get from them.

Melinda said...

Hey, thanks for mentioning my links! And awesome personal challenge - I think it's great to go local with your activism. Can't wait to see what else you come up with. Will you have some positive reinforcement activism (for lack of a better term) as well?