Mary Ellen Sikes

Secular Majority

Guest

Humanist, and founder of Secular Majority, a grassroots network of activists who work to endorse political candidates committed to secular values

Mary Ellen Sikes on KCRW

The Constitution never mentions God, and the Founding Fathers were adamant about the separation of Church and State.

America Is a "Christian Nation" — Since When?

The Constitution never mentions God, and the Founding Fathers were adamant about the separation of Church and State.

from To the Point

The Constitution never mentions God, and the Founding Fathers were adamant about the separation of Church and State.

America Is a "Christian Nation" — Since When?

The Constitution never mentions God, and the Founding Fathers were adamant about the separation of Church and State.

from To the Point

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“We can’t recycle our way out of this crisis.” That’s according to California’s Democratic State Senator Ben Allen-- just one of many politicians around the country proposing to ban all straws, bags and other single-use plastics. At the overwhelmed Recycling Center in Burbank, California, Kreigh Hample says, “Our packaging has gone up exponentially in just the last few decades… it’s a sad story in the way we eat, the way we dispose of things and the way that we’re living.” A throwaway culture may be convenient, but the costs include cleaning it up with taxpayer money--not to mention worldwide pollution. China now requires recycled products so pure that the bottom’s gone out of the market, but the plastics industry is bigger than ever. Former EPA official Judith Judith Enck says half the world’s plastics have been produced in the past 13 years. One new process has developed from coal fracking, and development is being encouraged by President Trump with support from the fossil fuel industry. But just 9% of the plastic produced is getting recycled. Some goes to landfills, but the rest turns into worldwide pollution. Images of plastic waste floating by the acre in the Pacific Ocean are all too familiar; microplastics are turning up from the depths of the seas to the remotest parts of the Arctic. In Texas and other states, it’s illegal to ban plastic products. But, in Sacramento, Allen says it’s time to hold the plastics industry accountable. California is big enough to influence the nation’s economy, so his efforts are being scrutinized by politicians and advocates around the country.

from To the Point

Since March some 387 Boeing 737 Max jets have been grounded by regulators and airlines with no end in sight. Boeing profits have tanked. Last month the company recorded its biggest ever quarterly loss and deliveries are at their lowest since 2012. Boeing says it expects the plane to return to service by the end of this year, as it continues to focus on the plane’s software system, thought to be the cause of both plane crashes. Boeing’s crisis highlights a problem beyond flight safety. The aircraft manufacturer chose to prioritize big spending on CEO compensation and stock buybacks rather than reinvest profits on its employees, infrastructure and R and D. Last year alone, Boeing’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg took home $30 in compensation and gains from options. Buybacks over investment; the financial strategy that’s great for shareholders but may well have cost Boeing the public’s trust.

from To the Point

Climate change is an existential crisis. If Americans cut just one hamburger from their diet every week, it would be like taking 10 million cars off the road every year. After cutting energy use, less meat and more plant-based food add up to the easiest--and healthiest--way to reduce your carbon footprint. From the land and water needed to raise feed and the methane produced at the end of digestion, “Cattle are actually mini fossil-fuel, greenhouse gas producers.” So says Sujatha Bergen, head of health campaigns at the NRDC. As her title suggests, eliminating beef from your diet--in addition to pork and lamb-- is also better for you. She explains the trade-offs for helping to reduce climate change and says, “Starting with your fork is much less daunting for many people.”

from To the Point