By Steve Otto
Yesterday was Earth Day. I usually post something on this day. I often attend event put on for this day. But, probably because of the pandemic, I was not aware of any events. Of course, there may have been some events I didn’t know about. It really doesn’t matter, I just can’t seem to find much to celebrate on Earth Day. Some people are very conscious about the environment. But more people just don’t seem to care.
One example is paper bags. The plastic bags at the grocery store never really break down. They are filling up our trash places and will not really ever break down. I often do my shopping at Target or Dillons. In both stores I can use, and I do use paper bags. Usually I am the only shopper who does. At Target, I often have to ask for paper bags, as they are not always out in the open where I can get to them. Of all the times I shopped at Target (and that has been a lot) I have only seen one other person use a paper bag, a nine year old girl. And the girl’s mom used plastic. I guess the store is set up as if everyone uses plastic bags. They are small and don’t hold near as much stuff as the paper bags. So, it takes a whole lot of plastic bags to carry all the groceries. And a person almost has to consciously ask for paper. I can remember when it was a choice—paper or plastic? But now they just assume we want plastic. That is because plastic is way cheaper. But somewhere in the ocean there is a nearly 100 mile stretch of plastic, that is mostly powder and it will never break down. Today I read this from the Center for Biological Diversity:
It's time to get at the root of this ocean crisis. The Center (for Biological Diversity) has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating plastics as a pollutant and is working to stop plastic pollution at the source, before it ever has a chance to reach the ocean.
The problem is growing into a crisis. The fossil fuel industry plans to increase plastic production by 40 percent over the next decade. These oil giants are rapidly building petrochemical plants across the United States to turn fracked gas into plastic. This means more toxic air pollution and plastic in our oceans.
They are just NOW taking action?! This is something that should have been addressed years, even decades ago. And what do I see every time I shop? Those white plastic bags. They are cheap. But they are helping destroy our oceans. And from what I can tell—NO ONE CARES!
That is just one of many environmental problems. For years I have complained about the constant expansion consisting of building new homes, which takes up natural lands as well as farmland. I have written about the need for a “no-growth” economy that I posted years ago. When I talk to people around the Wichita area, concerning a no growth economy, they look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. Constantly using growth to boost for a healthy economy means constantly using up more resources at a faster rate each time there is growth. That means we need more land, more fuels, more food, everything people need to survive gets used up. And many of our resources, such as gasoline, are non replaceable.
And that leads to population growth. Again, this is a touchy subject. Many people think it is their moral obligation (often due to religious beliefs) to have LOTS of children. If a couple has more than two children, they are adding to over population. But many people see it as their right/ and, or moral obligation to reproduce.
Plastics, growth economy and over population all works against the environment. Much of what needs to be done should have been started by now. It is like global warming. It is already started and simply doing nothing will add to a problem that has already happened. It will take a lot to reverse global warming, but we haven’t really started on it yet. That is the way it is with most of these problems. There has been talk for a few years now of banning plastic bags—which is a no brainer. Of course, we need to stop the production of plastic trash. But it has not happened yet.
So, on this Earth Day I simply don’t think most people take it seriously. For many people it is no more than a joke. Unfortunately, I’m not laughing.
Maybe next year will be different. But this year I see little to nothing to celebrate.