Ariane Carr

Ariane Carr
canvasser for the Ecology Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tottered on: 18 March 2009
Temperature: 50 F
Ceiling: night time
Ground: matted leaves
Wind: W at 5 mph

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TT with HD: Ariane Carr

[Ed. note: AC was canvassing for the Ecology Center in an effort to support state legislation that would require manufacturers of kids' toys to disclose the materials used in their manufacture. The effort is aimed at eliminating mercury, lead, and arsenic from kids' toys. More information on that and other Ecology Center Campaigns is available on the EC website. There's a case mentioned below of a handmade wooden rattle] manufactured by Camden Rose, an Ann Arbor company, related to testing required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission--it's not a case related to the canvassing being done by EC.]

HD: All right, shall we actually teeter totter up and down? Is this going to work for you? I think I need to scoot forward.

AC: Do I need to scoot back?

HD: Well, I think I need to scoot forward, or if you go back.

AC: Is that better?

HD: So, how many houses have you been to tonight?

AC: You know, I would have to count them. But I have been to a lot. I did a section of Liberty. And 7th in between Liberty and Huron and [inaudible] Washington. I would estimate like 60-80. But I don't know for sure.

HD: So if you just had to ballpark guess what percentage of people actually answer the door and talk to you for more than just to say, "Oh, a clipboard? No, I don't want to talk to you."

AC: We usually contact may be a quarter of the people. And then maybe a quarter of those people are supporters or talk to us for a while, even if they figure out that they don't really support this issue. I get more than usual in Ann Arbor, because people tend to know more about the grassroots ...

HD: ... so when you say you get more in Ann Arbor, you mean you get more in Ann Arbor as compared to other communities ... ?

AC: More supporters. Not like a ton more but I'll get a lot more people in Ann Arbor that will sign stuff and put their name down.

HD: So what other communities have you canvassed?

AC: Well, this is only my second week. So I did parts of Plymouth and Saline. And they're close, too. Still, we are not local to them, so it's a different kind of talking to people.

HD: So when you say, "I'm with the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor," they might have a different response than, say, I would, because I say Oh, yes, our Ecology Center.

AC: You know what it is. They might have no idea what it is.

HD: So do you get a positive response to the "Ann Arbor" part of it? Or do you even actually present that as a part of the name? Do you say you're representing the Ecology Center and then if they ask you tell them or do you actually lead with Ann Arbor's Ecology Center?

AC: Usually I say "in Ann Arbor."

HD: So do people have a visceral reaction either way?

AC: No.

HD: Not that you can discern, after two weeks, anyway.

AC: I mean, basically everybody's nice. And if people don't want to talk to you, they just don't answer the door.

HD: So you are winding down for tonight?

AC: Yeah, we stop at 9:00.

HD: Well, what time is it now ...

AC: ... it's probably getting close ...

HD: ... it's about 8:30. Yeah, so the AATA board meeting went pretty quickly. [Ed. note: HD had just returned from the AATA board meeting, which began at 6:30pm] So remind me exactly what the specific issue was tonight. Because I think I basically didn't allow you to get to that! [laugh]

AC: We are working to phase out mercury, lead, and arsenic, from kids products and toys. We are working to do that by making sure that manufacturers have to disclose what chemicals they put in what toys. And then on a state level we want them to make a database that's available online that lists what chemicals are in what products.

HD: And then the goal is to ...?

AC: ... have people not to buy those products.

HD: And the goal legislatively is to pass a piece of legislation that would require who to do what?

AC: Manufacturers to disclose what chemicals are either in their products or manufactured in their plants.

HD: So the idea would not be to ban the manufacture, but to make them tell exactly what it is, you use that information to create this database, you create consumer awareness, and because nobody is buying their stuff, they stop making it?

AC: Exactly. That's the idea. Because we don't want to hurt local businesses or anything like that. Because when bans happen, recalls hurt small businesses and then you've got re-sale shops ...

HD: ... you know, there was the case of the guy, I am trying to remember the name of the business, but they make wooden kids toys--maybe you are familiar with it--I remember seeing it somewhere that in order to get the requisite testing, for one of his most popular wooden rattles is going to be problematic for him. Basically a small local Ann Arbor business that had been affected by some federal level legislation. I can look that up, [Ed. note: See link at the top. It's a Consumer Product Safety Commission issue.] I'll look it up and try to fill in the details.

I noticed on one of the pieces of paper, I think it was a blank form that you were going to have me fill out,...

AC: ... the signature for the state rep.

HD: Right, the state rep, who is Rebekah Warren.

AC: Right.

HD: You know, she lives just like right over there.

AC: Really?

HD: Yeah. So if you had like a really good arm, you could probably throw a baseball and hit her house from here. [Ed. note: This is a slight exaggeration.]

AC: I wonder if it's one of the ones that I knocked on.

HD: Did you do 8th Street?

AC: I didn't do 8th street, no.

AC: So it's probably not if she's over there. I was doing 7th.

HD: So who decides where you go on a given night? You just have a map and you've got to cover the entire area, seating is plotted out?

AC: We just do as much as we can. I don't know exactly, I am still technically "in training." This is just my second week. So they gave me a map and said you know, Be friendly! And all that kind of stuff.

HD: And try not to scare people. Great, well, thanks for coming to ride.