Posted by: David McKay | October 31, 2010

Rate Your Awareness to Plastic Pollution:

What I am discovering in my attempt to make sense of the plastics in my life is astounding.

There are varying degrees of awareness to plastic.

Let’s make a list:

  • The Completely Oblivious:  These are people who absolutely do not think about plastic.  It is a non-issue.  Double bag everything!  Hell, triple bag it!  Yeah, put a maximum of three things in each bag at the checkout.  Yes, I need a little plastic bag to separate the ice cream from other foods — you bet I do!  The same for the raw meat that is already wrapped in plastic.  Buy plastic bottled water by the dozen, shrink wrapped in plastic.  Recycling works — well that’s what I am told.  But I don’t care; I don’t have time to recycle, and I don’t.  I don’t care.  I really don’t.  Why should I?  What do I get out of it?
  • The People Who Know People That Care:  These are people who know that you know that you are sick and tired of plastic.  They are aware that plastic is an issue.  But that is that.  It is not an issue for them.  Someone else will take care of it.  These people may be classified in many ways: indifferent, apathetic, preoccupied, bored, self-absorbed, unaware, unconcerned, busy, tired, ambivalent, complacent.
  • The People Who Are Aware, But Do Not Care:  If you click on this link: the American Chemistry Council you might wonder if these people are the ones against plastics.  Nope.  They oppose anybody that wants to limit the plastic being produced on this planet.  They love plastic.  Plastic keeps them employed in a capitalistic system.  Plastic allows them to make a living, feed their families, enjoy the luxuries of life.  They employ tens of thousands of people so that they may enjoy the fruits of their labors as well.  They are very aware of what plastic is doing to this planet; as aware as the tobacco companies are about their products.  But there are junkets!  Lobbyists throw money at politicians to turn their backs on the sanctity of this planet that we all have to share.  Who wants to give a rat’s ass about anything but that bucket of ice-cold Corona’s on a beach somewhere?  Sounds nice.  You may want to check the beach you lounge on for washed up plastics.  Once pristine beaches thousands of miles from civilization are now covered in plastic.
  • The People Who Care: That’s the rest of us.

Mostly, I feel like the Man behind the curtain is a real son of a bitch, and he can kiss my ass, ’cause I ain’t takin’ his shit — I brake for plastic bags — and if I were on the yellow brick road, I would hope that there would be a fork, perhaps a road less traveled, and I’d take it even if all of the climbers of Mt. Everest were traipsing up and down it, ’cause I’d be glad to kick every one of ’em in the head for not following the first rule of hiking: pack it in, pack it out.

This is hard.  It is a psychological battle.  It is a material fight.  It is a rethinking of a value system.  Nobody taught this to you — not if you grew up when everything in America was rosy and golden.  We are so dependent upon plastic products.

And we are oblivious to it.  We skip down that yellow brick road. . .

. . . to oblivion.

Hello!  Flying monkeys!?  Can we get a clue!?

Where are you on that list?

Respect.  Relearn.  Realize . . .

Rethink.  Refuse.  Reduce.  Reuse.

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Responses

  1. Great post, David!
    I’m with you, in the people who care…trying to make sense of it all…trying to make a difference.
    I love the 3 new R’s you added: ‘Respect. Relearn. Realize.’
    I feel like one of the hardest parts about this issue, like many tough issues (weight loss, exercise, etc.), is that even when we know what we should be doing (using less plastic), we need to constantly ‘recommit’ to sticking with it. When the cashier sticks your bread in a plastic bag even though you brought your own reusable bag and reassures you that your bread is ‘safe’ there, you need to reassure them that you don’t need their plastic bag and your bread is fine (inside it’s own plastic bag) sitting on top of your reusable bag. And then you need to think about ways to get bread that isn’t packaged in plastic, start making your own, or at the very least reuse and then recycle the bag that it comes in. When your kid’s school hands you a water bottle on the way into an event, you need to politely refuse it…..after all, you brought your own reusable water bottle! Are these ideas extreme? When I take my bread out of the plastic bag and give the bag back, the cashier looks astounded. Why should one plastic bag matter? It’s no big deal, right? We need to bring back the lesson of compounding interest and reapply it to plastic. The stuff doesn’t go away. Unless we want to live in a plastic world, we need a lot more people to join the group who cares….and does something about it.


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