It wasn't exactly Woodstock, but the six dedicated women who gathered in front of the downtown Safeway on Earth Day (Monday) were serious, and dedicated to the notion that they could change the world "one bag at a time."
The women, all environmental advocates, want shoppers to break the habit of going to the grocery story empty-handed. Instead, they want them to bring along the reusable bags that are growing in popularity.
"We've got to put an end to this over-use of plastic bags," said RC Ferris, one of the organizers of the event. "It's hurting the animals, and it's not doing the humans any favors either."
Proponents of plastic bags argue that conveying meat and other food items in a reusable bag can create potentially harmful risks, thanks to the contamination of the bags. But environmentalists retort that bags can and should be routinely laundered.
The plastic and paper bag industries are not without political clout, but a new bill is now before the state legislature to ban the use of plastic bags throughout California stores. Several cities currently have bans on the bags. Martinez has not yet brought up the subject at the city council level.
But one of Monday's participants in the Earth Day event was Martinez Chamber of Commerce president Marie Knudson, who urged shoppers to avoid plastic bags in favor of reusable ones. That could signal a change in the local retail climate on the issue.
So yes, the Earth Day group was small. But they were determined, and as they approached the front door of Safeway, preparing to ask shoppers to change their plastic bag habit, they seemed downright formidable.