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Through the magic of the internet we can change the world we live in with people power. I just put out a petition about invasive plants with change.or  that may or may not change anything, but read one  started September 30th by Molly Katchpole that has had an impact:

Dear Mary ,

When Molly Katchpole found out that Bank of America would charge $5 a month to use a debit card, she was upset — so she started a petition on

Since then, 225,000 members have signed her petition. And now Bank of America is under enormous pressure to cancel its new debit card fee. A Bank of America executive even called Molly and told her that while cancelling the fee would be “premature,” the bank was “closely monitoring customer feedback.”

More public pressure could be enough to push the bank to cancel its new $5 debit card fee. Can you sign Molly’s petition asking Bank of America to cancel its new debit card fee? Bank of America is listening to you — and other banks are, too.

In less than three weeks, Bank of America went from announcing a new $5 monthly debit card fee, to reeling under huge pressure from the media, Congress, and members. Here’s a quick review of what happened:

  • September 29: Bank of America announces a new $5 monthly debit card fee.
  • September 30: Molly creates her petition on; more than 150,000 people sign in the next 5 days.
  • October 5: The petition becomes a major national story. ABC News interviews Molly, then tracks down Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan and forces him to respond to it.
  • October 6: Molly delivers 153,000 petitions to Bank of America and closes her account. She appears on ABC World News again to discuss the petition. Local media in Charlotte (where Bank of America is based) openly speculate that the growing controversy could lead to the firing of Moynihan.
  • October 9: Molly is featured in a major article in the New York Times as an example of the public’s frustration with big banks.
  • October 10: Bank of America executive Andrew Pepler calls Molly Katchpole to discuss her petition.
  • October 13: Molly meets with Congressman Brad Miller to discuss a bill in Congress to make it easier to switch banks. The two later appear on CNN together.
  • October 18: Molly’s petition reaches 225,000, as Bank of America reports a $6 billion profit. The outrage continues to grow.

Other banks are paying attention to the public reaction to Bank of America’s new debit card fee. Citibank even said its “customers made it abundantly clear” that they wouldn’t like a debit card fee. 

What’s next in this campaign to cancel Bank of America’s $5 debit card fees? It’s up to you.

Please sign the petition demanding Bank of America cancel its new $5 monthly debit card fee. Click here to add your name:

Thanks for being a change-maker,

– Jess and the team

People power, by the numbers, works. In fact, people were so outraged by Netflix separating their streaming service with their subscription service, but maintaining the same charge, their customers quit them in huge numbers. Their stock  lost 50% of its value.  Netflix apologized and put in a fix. (I’m not a subscriber and I’ve forgotten what the fix is.)

Never underestimate the power of a  people {woman} scorned.



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When my grand kids were little and a trail of ants appeared on the counter top, I’d take swipe at them and eat them, just to watch their wide-eyed  horror.  Those were the days when American ants were still arriving unwanted in my house.  Now I wish I could find an American ant. Those that occasionally rummage through crumbs on my counter  taste putrid;  they are South American invaders. Even touching them, or  squishing them with a paper towel, or rag, sends up an offensive odor.  American ants taste like pepper.  The first  ants I tried came chocolate covered in a jar, thus my foray into ant eating.  And, today, after launching a petition with, I thought about something I used to  tell my grand kids:  If you want to get rid of something, like these ants, just make them a food source and they’ll disappear.

During the hippy 60’s I tried dandelion weeds, chamomile, purslane, and other kinds of non-essential wild plants using as my guide Euell Gibbons book, Stalking The Wild Asparagus. It was fun and not a permanent part of my cooking. But, like solar cooking, maybe it should be, methinks.

I used the internet to search for recipes for invasive plants.  Only one website actually provided a number of decent appetizing recipes.

This  recipe for  stuffed Garlic Mustard Leaves came from the website above.

Stuffed Garlic Mustard Leaves
Submitted by Alex Streat, The Garlic Mustard Cook’s Challenge 2001

20 medium garlic mustard leaves, washed and dried on paper towels
5 wooden spoonfuls of cooked sausage
4 wooden spoonfuls of cooked rice
2 Tbsp chopped garlic mustard leaves
1 Tbsp lemon juice

I had no clue what garlic mustard looked like until I saw this picture. It grows all over Washington State and Oregon. It adapted well  to the lush tall tree understory in the Thousand Trails parks where we stayed. Now that I know what it is, I’ll try recipes using garlic mustard leaves when we return to Washington State.  Japanese knotweed,  and other invaders that mostly populate the East and South, sounded pretty tasty.

Most of  the recipes I found  were for  invasivores, a new word to me, which means invasive tilapia, carp, rusty crayfish, tiger snails, feral pigs, rabbits and so on.  Fish and meat.

The rest of what I learned on my forage was mind-boggling.

Invasive species have contributed directly to the decline of 42 percent of the threatened and endangered mammal and ocean species in the U.S. (Travaglini, 2009).

To date, over 5,000 alien plants have invaded the natural areas of North America (Tallamy, 2007).

Non-indigenous weeds are spreading and invading approximately 700,000 hectares of U.S. wildlife habitat per year (Pimentel, et al 2005).

The estimated damage from invasive species worldwide totals more than $1.4 trillion – 5 percent of the global economy (Pimentel, et al 2001).

The annual cost to the United States economy is estimated at $120 billion a year (Travaglini, 2009).

I complained about the Australian plant, pampas grass?  Australians  are fighting with Florida invaders, pond apple, in their country. Floridians love pond apple and the Australians hate it because it is wiping out their sweet melaleuca  berry trees. Such irony.

The above website lists invasive species that are edible, but the recipes are no longer available from the site.

Now a word about my petition. I received a call from a friend who is a scientist. She told me an environmental scientist friend of hers explained why she  would not sign my petition to halt the sale of non-native invasive species by our nurseries;  because it is too non-specific in its wording and does not address how it could be fairly implemented.

The petition is not a law. gives you 75 characters to state your petition. If it gets enough interest, it can then be pedaled to a congress person to turn it into a bill. The study for the bill would help define the language used and be vetted for legality. It is just a first step in the  process. And, I’ve had a huge education about invasive species since starting it. Most invaders get here by accident, commerce, trade, transportation. Not through nurseries. Yet not selling them can have a beneficial impact. I would never have bought pampas grass if I had known what a monster it was. I would have bought something else to decorate that spot.

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Jim says I don’t rant as much when I’m on the road as I do when I get home.  Of course, he is right. I’m quite shielded from all of the muck going on in the world while we travel. It feels good. But, I return and quite happily get back in the fray. On the streets of Sonora Saturday, a woman told me her daughter was afraid to come to the protest for fear of someone seeing her,  reporting back to her boss,  and costing  her her  job.   I don’t have a job to lose, thus it is even more important that people like myself get out and make sure we don’t give our freedoms away and that we stand up for what we believe in.

My first real job, after high school, was at the Alameda County Jail.  My first day of work,  I was told I would have to remove the bumper sticker on my car. (It was my father’s car.)   The bumper sticker in support of Don Dillon running for mayor of Fremont had nothing to do with any County election. I was indignant at age 17 and full of  idealism. At home, Dad said, remove the bumper sticker, you need the job.  For this woman to fear for her job made me realize  we are not as free as we think we are and our freedom and rights have to be continually protected.

This is a long away around to get to, an organization that allows you to set up a petition about something you believe should be changed.  They will help you give your idea legs as you spread the word to your friends and they spread it to their friends, if anyone out there  thinks your idea has merit.

I’ve had this thought at the back of my mind for years. Why do we allow California Nurseries to sell non-native invasive species? I had a horrible experience with an Australian  pampas grass plant when I planted the Calaveras Community Studio Garden. It’s fronds are sharp like tiny razors and the pampas I planted began to spread into the nearest parking spot. Finally, no one could exit their car door without getting scratched. It even made tiny scratches on car paint. Our studio manager tried cutting it with a chain saw. It bucked the saw back at him and snarled the chain. We cut the fronds individually, a nasty job,  and poisoned it over a period of weeks. It couldn’t be dug up with shovels,  the root ball was so deep and fibrous. What a mess. And, worse, it seeded to a neighbor’s property.

When Jim and I drove the coastal route from Washington to California, I saw plantations of pampas grass, and parking lots and roadside banks where people have tried to mow them down with little success. Yet, we allow these monsters, beautiful though they are, to be sold by nurseries all over our state.

Another invader that has proliferated is Scotch Broom, again, beautiful, but invasive. They grow incredibly well without any native enemies to keep them in check, much like star thistle. Star thistle in its native Scotland has  a parasitic enemy that keeps it in check. It has cost Calaveras  County over a million dollars to control star thistle and it is still growing and needing constant treatment. Expensive.

Now that I’m done ranting, I’ve developed a petition through to gather signatures for a petition that seeks to  make it against the law to sell non-native species in our nurseries.  Realize that it will cost us huge amounts of money to eradicate them when they get out of hand.  If you are like minded, please sign my petition.

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