I love recycling – it saves resources, energy and gets people involved in saving the planet.
In our surveys of the general public, it’s the #1 environmental issue that people want to know more about. And recycling is one of the first ways people begin to take responsibility for the environment. It's a gateway environmental issue that gets people thinking about how they can reduce and reuse.
Businesses must take responsibility too, by creating markets for recycled materials, and by taking responsibility for the life-cycle of products they sell. This week, we’ve got news on how businesses are getting involved – and on how you can get involved too, to push businesses to do the right thing and encourage recycling.
First of all, our Policy Director, Fran Teplitz announces a new action in partnership with MoxyVote to urge Target to launch a responsible take-back program for used electronics sold in Target stores. Target’s competitors Best Buy and Walmart have small take-back programs; now consumers and shareholders are banding together to push Target to launch a comprehensive electronics recycling program that trumps even what their competitors are doing.
Let’s catalyze a virtuous cycle – with companies competing to recycle more and more, moving to a complete product take-back mindset!
The businesses of our Green Business Network™ are already doing the right thing. This week, online editor Andrew Korfhage brings you the latest Faces of the Green Pages interview with Jerry and Corie Thornton of Clean Conscience. Jerry and Corie started their business in their retirement years to help build a greener world for their grandchildren. They’re diverting thousands of used plastic bottles from the waste stream by making them into reusable bags (and they’re made right here in the USA)!
Finally, Frank Locantore, the director of our Better Paper Project announces the latest round of spring promotions that will help you find recycled-paper leaders in your local bookstores. New for April are promotions at Barnes and Noble, in the NYC subway, and more. When recycled paper magazines are rewarded in the market, it provides incentive for more publishers to use recycled paper and divert more useful paper from landfills and incinerators.
Here’s to the pursuit of zero waste!
Credit Union Lending Cap Increase Needs Your Support
The National Cooperative Business Association is asking members and all friends of cooperatives to demonstrate their support of S. 2231, which will enable credit unions to support economic growth through increased small business lending. The bill is in the US Senate, and critical action on this bill could come in the next few weeks. It’s important that members of the Senate hear from the cooperative community about the importance of voting in favor of this legislation.
What does S. 2231 do? S. 2231 would raise the credit union member business lending cap from 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent for eligible credit unions and task the National Credit Union Administration with writing safety and soundness regulations to implement the added authority. To be eligible, a credit union would have to be at or near its current cap, have at least five years’ experience in member business lending and be in a strong capital position. In addition, the credit union would not be allowed to grow its MBL portfolio more than 30 percent a year.
Why it’s important. Credit unions have been subject to an arbitrary cap on lending since the passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998. The Small Business Lending Enhancement Act would significantly increase the amount of money credit unions are allowed to invest in small businesses. The Credit Union National Association estimates that passing this legislation could provide up to $13 billion to small businesses in the first year alone and create over 140,000 new jobs at no cost to taxpayers.
NCBA asks its members to call and email their senators in support of S. 2231.
You may send an email to your senators by using this action alert tool, created by CUNA:
Wow. So many workers' rights supporters are stepping up to the plate to help stop the right wing's right-to-work scam.
And already the tide is beginning to turn – thanks to more people like you speaking out against this deceptive policy.
Even employers are coming out against right to work. Some say it's not their priority, some say it's bad for the economy,1 while others say it's simply too risky.2
Politicians are also starting to balk at the divisive measure. Efforts to pass right-to-work in Minnesota and New Hampshire appear to have stalled.
The ground is shifting – but it's not over yet. We need just 46 more donors to fully fund our campaign. With your donation we can ensure right to work is off the agenda for good. Please chip in now!
Anti-worker politicians thought they could get away with anything. But their overreaching policies for the 1% are catching up with them. It certainly backfired for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. A federal judge on Friday ruled that portions of his outrageous anti-collective-bargaining law are unconstitutional, and his recall election was just confirmed for June 5.
But there are still a few holdouts. We need to make absolutely certain these extremists get the message loud and clear that we're not fooled. Right to work will drive down wages, benefits, and job standards for all of us – and in this economy, that's something we just can't afford.
We're almost at critical mass. Just 46 more donations will ensure that we can go out swinging. We're ready to end this fight once and for all – let's do so together. Join us and donate today.
It’s paying off.
Ever since the Supreme Court issued its perverse ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission a little over two years ago, all of us have been working together to protect our democracy from a hostile corporate takeover.
When we started, many people and pundits thought our movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling was a pipe dream. Now it’s mainstream.
The momentum you’ve helped generate just keeps growing:
• Last week, the California State Assembly passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
• On Super Tuesday, voters throughout Vermont passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment. Public Citizen activists are leading this unprecedented push in the Green Mountain State.
• Public Citizen activists have made substantial contributions to efforts for similar measures in Maryland, Massachusetts and New York.
• We recently launched Resolutions Week, a campaign to pass resolutions in hundreds of cities and towns this June. Activists in more than 1,000 communities from coast to coast have already signed up.
We must build on this momentum right here, right now. This is the time.
Ever since the ruling was handed down, surveys have consistently shown that 4 of 5 Americans think Citizens United was wrongly decided.
What’s changed — and what we can all take credit for — is that people are mobilizing with resounding impact:
• Dozens of representatives, including Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, have joined our call for an amendment.
• Twenty-four senators — very nearly a quarter of the Senate — support an amendment.
• President Obama recently endorsed the idea of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
This is the unique power you have as part of Public Citizen — the melding of principled commitment, on-the-ground activism and creative political strategy into a force that time and again transforms the seemingly impossible into reality.
The plutocrats and their Super PACs are waging a full-blown assault on the functioning of our democracy. We’re looking at a scenario where perhaps a few dozen giant corporations and hyper-wealthy individuals exert a decisive influence over our elections.
I know you are outraged. Let that outrage incite you to action.
I have faith in our country. I have faith in our people. And I know what great things Public Citizen and its supporters can achieve when we all pull together — we’ve done it countless times before.
Thanks to Public Citizen activists and supporters like you, we’ve made dramatic gains in the fight to prevent the sell-off of our democracy.
But we have a long way still to go.
This is going to take all of us, each doing everything we can. Real citizens, united.
President, Public Citizen
Our country has literally no limits on the carbon pollution that is causing catastrophic climate change and that is freely spewed by power plants.
On Tuesday, The Environmental Protection Agency finally proposed a rule to change that. Unfortunately, not by very much.1
The EPA's first ever rule limiting carbon pollution — known as the Carbon Pollution Standard — applies only to unlikely-to-be-built, new coal-fired power plants. It is riddled with loopholes allowing new sources of pollution including some new coal plants. It does nothing to reduce carbon pollution from much more significant existing sources.
It's sad that our political climate has been made so toxic by climate change denying Republicans — who literally voted to deny the science of climate change2 — that the very acknowledgement of the need to regulate carbon pollution by EPA is a victory and a positive step forward.
But in today's actual climate — where much of our country just experienced record-shattering March heat waves after a disturbing lack of winter — it is not nearly enough. It is not only disappointing but profoundly dangerous that this rule does little if anything to effectively reduce unregulated climate pollution.
The EPA will now accept public comments on the rule — and as it weighs the public's reaction, we need to show that we expect much, much more from EPA to regulate carbon pollution.
Tell the EPA: We need stronger rules to protect us from existing and future sources of carbon pollution.
Having proposed a rule for new power plants, the EPA is now legally required to develop a rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants, a much more significant source.
But even in Tuesday's announcement, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson — who has been one of the few people in the Obama administration willing to fight to address climate change and defend the Clean Air Act — appeared to have her hands tied when it came to moving forward on rules that would address existing power plants, literally saying in a press conference, "we have no plans to regulate existing sources."3
If EPA fails to take action on existing power plants, then the measured progress represented by this rule will go down in history as a symbolic though essentially empty gesture.