A No-Snark (Mostly) Sunday

After my last couple of rather rant-y posts, I felt like giving some thumbs-up and kudos tonight, proving that there are some things to be thankful for.

Christmas was over more than a week ago, but I thought I’d like to highlight a special Santa …Santa-1

That’s right, folks, it’s former President Barack Obama decked out in a fluffy red cap to surprise patients and pass out a few gifts on Christmas Day at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.  The facility is the same one his wife, Michelle Obama, visited every holiday season during her time as first lady to read stories to patients. She sometimes came with one of the couple’s two daughters.santa-2.pngThis year, it was the 44th president’s turn. He walked the hospital halls with a giant red bag of goodies slung over his shoulder. He visited a hospital playroom and stepped inside patient rooms, to the delight of the children and teens inside.  Dressed casually in a sweater and pair of jeans, Obama posed for selfies while handing out jigsaw puzzles, race cars and other gifts he and his staff collected recently.

santa-3.pngHe also recorded a video message that could be relayed for the people he couldn’t meet during his visit.  Before he left, hospital staff members greeted the president with a rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Obama responded by thanking the crowd for their work during the holidays.

“At a time that obviously is tough for folks, and as the dad of two girls, I can only imagine, in that situation, to have nurses, staff and doctors and people who are caring for them, and looking after them, and listening to them and just there for them and holding their hands. That’s the most important thing there is. What a great reminder of what the holiday spirit is supposed to be all about.”


santa-5One could make a comparison to another who spent the day in a luxury resort and on a golf course, but I won’t go there.

Two thumbs up to Germany who will close all 84 of its coal power plants. The nation — one of the world’s largest consumers of coal — will rely on renewable energy instead.  The announcement came earlier this year as Germany revealed its struggle to meet its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions targets. Coal accounted for 40% of Germany’s electricity at the start of the year.coal-vs-windCoal is the EU’s biggest economy. Germany accounts for the lion’s share, responsible for around one-third of electricity-related CO2 emissions, according to Carbon Brief. It generates roughly half of the EU’s electricity from brown coal (lignite), which emits higher levels of CO2.

More than halfway into 2019, German coal production had fallen by a fifth, largely replaced by renewables such as wind farms and solar. Wind is on track to become the country’s largest source of electricity, surpassing environmentally-unfriendly lignite. Germany also pledged to close its 19 nuclear power plants since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Renewables will account for 65 to 80 percent of Germany’s electricity by 2040, officials say.

And more good news on the environmental front comes from Australia, where bans introduced by two major retailers, Coles and Woolworths last summer, resulted in an 80 percent reduction in the country’s overall use of single-use plastic bags.

Initially, some customers felt “bag rage” about having to BYO-bag or fork over 15 Australian cents (11 cents) to buy a reusable one. Woolworths execs blamed slumping sales on “customers adjusting” to the plastic bag ban. Coles even briefly backed down on the bag ban and caught a lot of flak from environmentally conscious shoppers for giving away reusable plastic bags.

But the good news is that it seems most Aussies haven’t found it too hard to adjust to the change—and that’s fantastic for our landfills, oceans and the greater environment, which have become dumping grounds for our plastic waste.

There has been a growing movement to ban or tax these bags. Around the world, at least 32 countries have bans in place, according to reusable bag company ReuseThisBag.   The U.S. is obviously NOT one of the nations to ban single use plastic anything.  Only two states, California and Hawaii, have bans on single-use plastic bags.  A handful of others have either a tax or mandatory recycling, but on the federal level there is … nothing.plastic-bagsA personal note here … thanks to the initiative of my environmentally conscientious granddaughter Miss Goose, I now use my own re-usable canvas bags to bring groceries home, and re-usable mesh bags for my produce rather than the store’s plastic bags.  Most of the cashiers and baggers are upbeat about it, but on occasion I have had a surly clerk who acted as if I were intentionally making her life hard by bringing my own bags.  Twice in the past few months, I have written to the management of my local Kroger store, asking what their plans are for replacing plastic bags with paper or some other biodegradable material, but have yet to receive any response.  The U.S., it would seem, is far behine Australia and at least 31 other countries.

Well, that’s your good news for the month, and now I’m going back to my usual fare, complete with snarking, ranting, growling and grumbling.  Have a happy Sunday!

29 thoughts on “A No-Snark (Mostly) Sunday

  1. That last pic of Obama, hugging a patient looks so warm and full of genuine caring. I cannot imagine Trump being capable… Actually, I wouldn’t want to be touched by him in any capacity.

    The move by Germany to end it coal powered electricity sounds good, but it is (like UK) switching many of them to biomass in a lot of cases… Most of it from European and American forests. Beware what you wish for, because there are some unscrupulous moves to take the biodiversity of North American forests, by removing old growth biodiverse forest and replacing them with monoculture that take 20 to 40 years to reach timber size. It has already started in Louisiana and South Carolina on a massive scale.

    Even here in Thailand, a number of supermarkets have stopped issuing plastic bags for groceries, but they have a long way to go yet. One positive is that buying plastic bags, has become quite expensive for retailers.
    We have carried home made cloth grocery bags around with us for years, but any plastic bags we get here (regardless of size), we wash, if they are dirty, and fold them up and take them home with us. We use them and reuse them. We do not buy trash bags but use the grocery bags to dispose of anything non vegetable that can’t be easily recycled. Nothing gets wasted.

    Wouldn’t it be great, if they could take all the plastic, use it in power plants, using special scrubbers to remove all the toxic gas to secondary burners, etc, until nothing toxic is released. I am sure that could be done, but the cost of the energy would go up…

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, there isn’t a sincere bone in Trump’s body. I don’t know if you recall or not, but there was a mass shooting earlier this year, and a baby’s parents were killed. Trump and Melania posed for photos holding that baby and grinning like two Cheshire cats. Such poor taste … the Obamas had class oozing out of their pores … Trump has naught but filth oozing from his pores.

      I will have to look into the biomass thing, for this is the first I’ve heard of it.

      Thumbs up to you on your efforts to avoid plastic! I do use my own grocery bags and produce bags, but we still use plastic garbage bags. I cannot believe that scientists haven’t been able to come up with a viable, biodegradable alternative to plastic yet!

      Yes, it would be absolutely wonderful if they could find a way to make positive use of all that plastic, but … if they did, the fossil fuel industry would find a way to shut them down, I’m betting. Corporate greed will be the death of us all.

      So, you’re still in Thailand! Is hubby doing okay? Are you having a bit of fun somewhere along the line? Hugs, my friend! ❤


      • Hi, yes hubby is all healed up after his surgery. He has a 2″ scar, but it is very flat. The surgeon did a nice job. All the tissue around the cancer was healthy (he removed lots to be sure he got the whole lot).

        We are just chilling… Not doing a whole lot. The insects are all missing in large numbers here… I have not used any repellent and not had any mosquito bites. 10 years ago, I had to almost bathe in the stuff. It is a worrying thing to see so much life disappear. I am trying not to look so much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Re this comment related to our (regrettably) PAST prez — One could make a comparison to another who spent the day in a luxury resort and on a golf course — AMEN/AWOMEN to that!

    Oregon just passed a no plastic bag law! Yay!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We banned plastic bags in stores here a few years back. Don’t even think about it any more – have several bags tucked in the car, including a couple of wine bags, just in case a workday requires a quick stop on the way home…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I cringe when I return home, even though I used my own bags wherever possible, and see the amount of ‘throwaway plastic’ that I have brought home. Broccoli in a plastic bag, carrots in a plastic bag, bread in a plastic bag, meat wrapped in plastic … and the list goes on. Sigh. I am glad you keep a wine bag in your car … so do I!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. They banned the bad bags here in Woodstock NY last year, and maybe it’s in all of Ulster County too. We always carry reusable bags, mostly very crappy ones that cost a dollar or two at supermarkets and are themselves not recyclable and not very trustworthy-seeming–we have to doublebag them to keep them from exploding. Now and again I’ll buy a paper bag for recycling purposes, although I keep the bags I put recycling in and reuse them as much as they’ll stand–we take out own trash and recycling to the dump, which is so fun, since there are all kinds of free goodies there. Last time was a giant tv, as big as a windshield, for free, and nice glassware and all kinds of stuff. People leave things and others can take them for free.

    Yay for Obama–I miss having a president.

    Yay for Germany.

    Best wishes to all for a great new year and beyond–

    Liked by 3 people

    • Best wishes for a happier new year to you, my friend! Buy some good re-usable bags for $5 or so … I’ve been using mine for 2 years now, they are still nearly good as new, and well worth the price! I miss Obama more than ever … sanity, grace, dignity, ethics, and integrity in the White House? I’d almost forgotten what that was like!

      Liked by 1 person

      • WE do have some good canvas ones, but my partner went on an ill-advised spree a few years back and bought the cheap quality plastic ones that the stores sold, and they are so dreadful in thinness and poor quality that they need to be doubled or more. Oh well–that was a lesson learned the ugly way!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We’re all still learning! I learned a lesson too, for I bought big bags that would hold A LOT! Trouble is, they are so heavy when fully packed that I cannot lift them without causing back pain or chest pain! Lesson learned! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Regarding your Obama story: Ya, don’t go there – there is no comparison. Regarding the use of plastic bags: I bring my own reusable bags. Plus, when a clerk asks if I need a bag, I proclaim, “No, I don’t believe in single use plastic and I think everyone should bring their own bags!” loud enough to shame those in line behind me.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Oh I miss Obama…
    And you might know, I live in one of those stupid states that have preemptively banned plastic bag regulation.
    Gee could it be cause trump lives here?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Me too!!! We didn’t realize how good we had it from 2009 until 2017! Yes, it is ridiculous to ban legislation that would help people, help save the planet. But, the plastic lobbyists had money to burn, so the planet lost that battle. Sigh.


  7. Our Sainsburys has just got rid of those flimsy little plastic bags for the fresh fruit and veg, you can buy mesh bags right there or bring your own containers. At our lovely local REAL greengrocers ( they only take cash ) I just have everything loose in my shopping bag – except for potatoes which come covered in real mud, those I put in the brown paper bags supplied and which then go in my compost bin. Happy Shopping.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ahhhh yes … Sainsbury’s! I’ve twice included them in my good people posts, the last time in June for their reduction of plastics! Great job on their part! They put our own stores to shame! And thumbs up to you, my friend! Every effort counts!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Obama just keeps reminding us what a president really looks like.

    Our plastic bag legislation isn’t perfect, but it’s a good start. It’s usual to see people bringing their own bags when they shop. But…does the key on the map reading ‘States that have preemptively banned plastic bag regulation’ really mean what I think it does?

    Liked by 5 people

  9. It’s great to see ex prez Obama still takes some duties seriously and he seems very sincere and caring about it. He seems to find great pleasure in it..I wonder whether prez Knucklehead undertook any similar duties on Christmas Day that were done with any sincerity.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Indeed … I saw those pictures and just sighed … I want him back in the Oval Office! No, Trump played golf and fed his fat face … he hasn’t a care for sick children, veterans, or any of us. Sigh.


  10. That’s someone who understands what public service means. Both our countries desperately need a return to this. Here you are charged for plastic bags. Now retailers have started removing plastics from food packaging – but not quickly enough. It’s a start but has to be rapidly developed. The US has to catch up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The U.S. should have led this initiative, but instead we give in to people’s greed and laziness, and the fossil fuel industry that create the plastics. Live for today, to heck with tomorrow seems to be the motto of far too many on this side of the pond. Yes, I would love to return to the era of Obama … sigh … we just didn’t know how good we had it!

      Liked by 2 people

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