Free 'Paris To Pittsburgh' Screening On Earth Day

By: Cape Cod Chronicle

Topics: Environment , Film

CHATHAM – To mark Earth Day, Sustainable Practices will sponsor a free showing of the film “Paris to Pittsburgh” at the Chatham Orpheum Theatre.

The film will screen at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 20. While tickets are free, they must be reserved at the theater box office.

The Brewster-based Sustainable Practices is sponsoring town meeting articles in eight Cape towns to prohibit town agencies from purchasing and distributing beverages in plastic bottles. The film looks at efforts of individuals who are battling the most severe threats of climate change in their own backyards, “which is what we're doing with the bottle ban,” said Madhavi Venkatesan, founder and director of Sustainable Practices.

“Plastic in a way is very symbolic of a multitude of issues, and also a convenience that we can easily let go of,” she said. Just a few decades ago, plastic beverage bottles were rare and there was no bottled water industry. Today, more than 100 million plastic bottles are used daily and only a small percentage are recycled. Not only does the manufacturing process create its own byproducts, some believed to be carcinogenic, she said, but discarded plastic bottles are also a major source of marine and land pollution.

The plastic bottle ban measure has gone through some wording changes to help make it more palatable in some communities. Venkatesan said wording has been added to exempt public safety workers—fire officials had expressed concern about being able to hand out bottled water at fire scenes—and emergency situations. In Chatham, a second petition article was submitted with the new language which will supersede the initial measure; both will appear on the warrant.

Venkatesan said the measure is a step toward a commercial plastic bottle ban, which the organization intends to bring to local towns to adopt next year. By promoting alternatives, such as water sold in glass or aluminum bottles, both of which are recyclable, the organization hopes to trigger a change in behavior. Targeting how tax dollars are spent first will, she said, lead to adoption by the private sector.

Part of doing that is providing the infrastructure to make water available to the public, through water bottle filling stations, decals for shops that have facilities where people can refill their bottles, and an app to show those locations. Chatham's town meeting warrant also includes a request for community preservation funds to install several public water bottle filling stations around town. Many schools, including the Monomoy regional middle and high schools, have stations where students can refill their water bottles.

“This creates a domino effect that will put the environment first,” she Venkatesan said.