Topic of the week
To think or speculate curiously.
The ability to see the miraculous and remarkable in everything.
I think this is going to be a bit of a rant post! I had the idea that I would do my regular Friday Fragment post but I realized I have something to get off my chest and writing about it here was the thing I had to do.
While we were in Lake Tahoe last weekend, we were standing in the elevator with a couple of women who were going back to their room after getting drinks at the hotel's manager reception. The Residence Inn has chosen to use paper instead of plastic straws and ladies were discussing this with a clear intent to broadcast what they were saying to the other elevator riders.
Woman #1 "This straw tastes terrible. What ever happened to plastic straws?"
Woman #2 "Everything has to be green these days. Tasting good doesn't matter."
Woman #1 "It is ridiculous." and added VERY sarcastically, "Everyone knows plastic kills."
At this point the elevator doors opened and I was left with my ranting reply swirling in my head. I wanted to shout out "Yes, as a matter of fact plastic does kill!" and site the National Geographic's report on the 100,000 sea turtles that die each year strangled in plastic bags not to mention the huge ocean garbage patches which are filled with photo degraded plastic* which millions of fish and sea birds inadvertently consume because it mimics the look of edible items. I could also site some very depressing facts about the toxins which may leach out of plastic and actually do kill people.
Then I realized, all science facts aside, that there is a huge problem. These women were expressing a"green backlash" opinion which I would guess is felt by the majority of American Citizens. When Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2005 it stirred up a great deal of concern about the environment and a record number of Americans polled were concerned with Global Warming and other environmental issues. As I write this today, Gallup reports that Americans are now less worried about a series of environmental problems than at any time in the past 20 years. This is frightening to me.
I mean even if you don't believe all of the hype many so called green products profess how can it be considered ok to continue tossing piles of plastic crap into our oceans? I'm clear the woman ranting in the elevator would never intentionally feed her plastic straw to some unsuspecting fish but by totally ignoring the consequences of our plastic consumption we are well on our way to destroying the planet that is trying to feed us. In the rush to take advantage of the growing interest in planet healthy "green" products the global marketplace has totally corrupted and made people wary of all environmental claims.
Image from Care2 Petition Site
Paper or Plastic? The debate and statistics pile up for both sides making the average consumer dizzy and stressed about doing what is right. You see, I whole heartedly believe people want to do the right thing. The woman in the elevator no more wants turtles to die then school children do but unless we get clear about the truth of our consumer decisions, and the reality of the impact of those decisions, we are living in a Pollyanna place where ecosystems are destroyed while we watch in disbelief.
Do I have the answers or even a remarkable resolve like Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish (click to see the shocking photo that changed Beth's life)? No, I do not. But I realized, as those elevator doors closed, that it is high time I got clear about where I stand. Green marketing be damned, I am not interested in being eco-chic, we have a problem on the planet and for the sake of my daughter and all the people that will live after her and I, it is about time we un-muddle the truth. Drinking from a paper straw may not be as enjoyable as a plastic one but doing so %100 guarantees no animal will be choking on it in the future, and this is an inconvenience everyone can live with!
The Practical Environmentalist - 21 Practical Ways to Help the Environment
Ecology Center- Seven Misconceptions about Plastic and Plastic Recycling
Care2 - Causes and News (information on any issue of concern to you)
(* The problem with plastic is it doesn't biodegrade - it photo degrades into smaller and smaller pieces which in turn are eaten inadvertently by smaller and smaller animals, killing those animals and/or making them undigestible by the larger animals who depend on them for their food supply.)
Has this post made you think about your use of plastic?
Next Post - The Wonder of the Ocean
My Thirteen Virtues of Great Parenting are:
Fun, Discipline, Creativity, Love, Wonder, Listening, Curiosity,Compassion,
Trust, Acceptance, Empowerment, Humility and Flexibility
This week is all about Wonder. Next week 's topic is Listening.