Think globally and stand up locally
Unfortunately, at the state level we are seeing an alarming trend in the opposite direction, where local actions to protect our ocean, waves and beaches are being thwarted at the state level.
As a result, hundreds of communities around the country are passing local ordinances to limit plastic and water pollution.
Unfortunately, there is a growing trend towards statewide preemption of local laws across the country.
State legislatures, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, Florida and New York, have all taken away local rights to pass single-use plastic bag bans.
This statewide preemption is often driven by big industry and takes place in reaction to local legislation that is in process or has already been passed.
As a result, the successful multi-year grassroots efforts that led to the single-use plastic bag law for New York City will essentially be undone.
Preemption is limiting the ability for concerned citizens to address important issues at the local level because state legislature has seized the power, often to the benefit of corporate special interests.
The ability for citizens and local government to address local pollution issues is critical.
It is not only essential that we take action at the local level, but we must also protect our right to create change in our cities and communities.
Get involved with grassroots organizations that are working on the ground across the country, such as the Surfrider Foundation; call your state legislator and oppose any preemption bills at the state level; let your local elected officials know about this trend and how their positive work can be undone by special interests.