In the immortal words of Sesame Street (slightly modified): "Some of these things are not like the other!!" California has been a US leader, in particular San Francisco (the first US city to ban bags), but even they have met upon resistance all along the way--especially from the Plastic Bag Lobby of the American Chemistry Council.
Luckily here in 2012, more cities have jumped on board. For a complete list, check out The Plastic Ban Report. There you'll see articles on a slew of cities, including Los Angeles, the first big US city to ban plastics bags. We're moving in the right direction, it's just taking awhile!
This past June, an article came out in the China Daily verifying that in the four years since China's June 1, 2008 plastic bag ban, over 24 Billion (yes, "B") bags have been saved due to reduced consumption. That is equivalent to 4,800,000 tons of oil that was NOT put into production for disposable throw away bags. In terms of coal, that would be equivalent to 6.8 million tons. That's a lot of saved energy and natural resources.
So as the eyes start opening, perhaps more will follow suit.
The question you may be asking is, where can I start--especially as an educator. The answers are simple, and many:
1. Watch BAG IT! Check it out on Netflix, or this Sunday, July 15 at 4 pm on the Documentary Channel.
2. Check out the Educator Page on the BAG IT website for resources and information as to how to become a BAG IT school, educational advocate, books to read, or how to host a screening
3. Look into the 24 page BAG IT curriculum which is geared to 4th--12th grade.
4. Read the Plastic Ban Report.
Skip the Bag, Save the River pic from http://riseaboveplastics.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.html; all other pictures in this post are screen capture pics taken from my iPad from the movie BAG IT!