League of Women Voters – Environmental Issues Group

by Kathy Panko



The Environmental Issues Group (EIG) met on July 11. The first guest speaker was Catherine Uden, campaign organizer for Oceana, South Florida.

Oceana is the world’s largest international nonprofit organization that focuses solely on ocean conservation. Catherine discussed  her work as a grassroots organizer and shared experiences of some of her successful campaigns. She identified practices and tips that will assist the EIG in its advocacy efforts. The topic for this discussion was plastic pollution. 


ISSUE: A ban on single-use plastics is too large to tackle through volunteer efforts. It’s time for statewide action to tackle pollution at the source.

GOAL: Ban single-use plastics in your community.


  • Support H.R.5845 – Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020
  • Identify Challenges – Who is your opposition?
  • Coalition Building – Join forces with like-minded groups.
  • Use the human health aspect, especially with young children.
  • Research lawmakers – Who will help? How educated are elected officials?

Give examples of success stories from other municipalities, for example:

Lauderdale By The Sea – Plastic Straw Ordinance

A Girl Scout group met with business owners and asked them to switch to paper straws that will help keep single-use plastic straws from entering our marine environment. The town voted unanimously to pass the ordinance.

Hollywood BeachEnforcement of an existing ordinance stating that all businesses east of the “Intracoastal Waterway” cannot dispense non-biodegradable food-service products, such as plastic straws, and polystyrene cups and take-out containers. Many businesses were unaware the ordinance existed. Code enforcement began on October 1, 2018.

Deerfield BeachPlastic Straw Ordinance & Ban on Foam Containers. Prohibits the use of single-use plastic straws and stirrers within the City. Officials banned foam containers from all city events. Even vendors can’t use the material, which is not biodegradable and often ends up in the ocean.


Catherine concluded with – After the Ordinance Passes

– Second Reading & Thank You Notes

– Social Media & Press Releases

– Enforcement & Gather Future Testimonials


The next speaker was Ron Lovell, EIG member. Ron demonstrated the En-ROADS Climate Change Solutions Simulator. En-ROADS was built with MIT Sloan and Climate Interactive to help people learn how various climate solutions (e.g. carbon price) affect outcomes, such as temperature.

Below is the main En-ROADS simulator interface:


On the left is the main graph that shows coal, oil, gas, etc. On the right is the main impact – the global temperature increase by 2100. The simulator allows the user to select key elements of climate change. Along the bottom are various adjustable sliders. Options within the sectors of Energy Supply, Transport, Buildings and Industry, Growth, etc. can be changed and the model immediately calculates the impact. The climate assessment tool was designed to understand the interactions of environmental factors and climate change.


To learn more about Oceana, go to oceana.org

To learn more about H.R.5845, go to congress.gov

To learn more about En-ROADS, go to www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads/