With plenty in the “this gives me anxiety” column, we highlight three positive stories each week. This week, the Washington state legislature passed a long overdue plastic bag ban and the fossil fuel industry hit a legal road bump with significant future implications.

If these stories don’t get you to a happy place, check out the 2020 Grist 50. These 50 “fixers” are taking on the world’s problems. Let them inspire you!

Paper or paper? Washington lawmakers ban plastic grocery bags, add 8-cent fee to paper ones

By Claudia Yaw, Seattle Times, March 10, 2020

  • Washington State Senate voted 33-15 in favor of a statewide plastic bag ban. It will go into effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends.
  • Grocery shoppers can bring their own reusable bags or purchase paper bags for 8 cents each. The 8-cent fee replaces the previous 5-cent fee in Seattle.
  • The democratic sponsored plastic bag ban bill earned bipartisan support. Conservatives cited its potential to revive the state’s pulp and paper industry. Others championed its environmental implications.

Maryland Climate Ruling a Setback for Oil and Gas Industry

By David Hasemyer, Inside Climate News, March 6 2020

  • A federal appeals court ruled that the city of Baltimore’s lawsuit claiming 26 fossil fuel companies are financially responsible for damages posed by climate change can be heard in Maryland state courts. Moving lawsuits to federal court has been used repeatedly by the fossil fuel industry to get favorable rulings under federal laws.
  • The ruling is the first in a series of city-led climate change lawsuits, and could influence further rulings.
  • Per the article: “Baltimore’s lawsuit claims that the 26 companies are responsible for approximately 15 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the five decades from 1965 to 2015.”

Climate change: New rules could spell end of ‘throwaway culture’

By Roger Harrabin, BBC, March 11, 2020

  • The European Commission will review plan called Right to Repair that could create manufacturing standards that would ensure products will last longer and be more easily to repair. The proposal seeks to end “throwaway” culture, in which cheap products are easily broken, discarded and replaced with a new version.
  • The document begins: “There is only one planet Earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three.”
  • Per the article: “total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress come from resource extraction and processing.”

Feature photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.