Preparing Youth for Bag-Free Future

As Angelenos head toward a reusable future, with L.A. City Council moving forward on an ordinance banning plastic single-use bags that’s expected to be approved in spring 2013, Heal the Bay staff decided it was time to refresh our approach to our sixth annual Day Without a Bag (DWAB) campaign.

Held the third Thursday in December, DWAB gives Southland shoppers an early holiday present, courtesy of a reusable bag giveaway at locations throughout Los Angeles County.

Taking a page from marketers everywhere, this year we’ve focused on youth to advocate for change in their own communities, training them on how to build support for the ban all over the city. 

On December 1 we organized the Day Without a Bag Youth Summit, bringing together 35 students and teachers from eight different schools to train them on the skills necessary for recruiting business partners from their local community into the campaign. 

“We wanted to support teachers seeking hands-on ways to teach civic engagement and environmental stewardship,” said Meredith McCarthy, Heal the Bay’s Director of Programs. To that end, students learned how to shape their own campaign tasks, manage team members, and speak with local businesses about their support.

One of Heal the Bay’s strongest advocate partners, 15-year-old Zola Berger-Schmidt joined us as our keynote speaker, telling of her success as a student leader in the environmental movement, and how important students are in effecting change. Zola was instrumental in our campaign for Marine Protected Areas in California.  

The day was filled with empowering ‘a-ha!’ moments and excitement and students became charged with the task of bringing those ideas back to their community to garner support for the ban.

Now as we approach Day Without a Bag on December 20, students are reporting back in impressive form, with stores all over the city handing out bags and joining in support of the ban. From grocery stores, to the East Hollywood farmers market, to Amoeba’s Hollywood location and mom-and-pop shops,retailers are taking part in A Day Without a Bag, and the students have made sure their communities are counted.

Students from the following schools attended the youth summit:

–Edward Murphy

Secondary Education Coordinator

Join us on December 20 throughout Los Angeles, as we celebrate going bag-free on A Day Without a Bag.