Insights / Photography

What’s to celebrate in July? Try freedom from plastic bags

Wall calendar, Kodiak, Alaska, Marion, Owen

Bag Free WorldEvery year I spend a glorious amount of time creating a wall calendar. I adorn each month with photos from Kodiak Island and dates for the rest of us to remember and celebrate. I research uplifting quotes and toss in a favorite recipe or three.
Let’s take the month of July, Picnic Month. The grid, as it’s called, begins with Canada Day on July 1, followed by July 3 which is International Plastic Bag Free Day. Think for a moment. Can you remember the first time you experienced a plastic grocery bag?

I remember. I was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 500 miles out the Aleutian Chain. I remember how the bag crinkled when the store clerk handed over my purchase of apples, crackers and cheese. As I stepped outside into the morning blizzard, I slipped my gloves through the two loops and thought, “Wow, this bag feels weird.”
That was back in 1981. Who would have thought plastic bags would grow into such a curse? According to, each plastic bag is used for an average of 25 minutes. Go to TriplePundit and you learn that Americans use 100 billion plastic bags each year. Plastic bags clog storm drains, litter streets, and are mistaken for food. Just ask a turtle.


Interactive map, courtesy of

I’m no saint. I forget my canvas shopping bags at home, too. But as a photographer, I’ve seen my share of ugly bags tangled in tree limbs and twisted in a pile of brown bear scat.
Please, please, please, as we celebrate the glories of summer, let’s be mindful of how we can leave this beautiful planet a better place for those that follow us by acting as if every day is a plastic bag free day.
Cheers and blessings from Kodiak Island,

International Plastic Bag Free Day, plastic, pollution

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