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Chatterbox: What about them?


The futures of Americans, and the world, rely on many things other than politics. Yet, so many of those things start with politics.

Nations around the world took longer to get on the plastic/pesticide train than America, and many still haven’t boarded. Those which have, not only don’t match our widespread, wasteful consumption and use of the things that pollute, but don’t match our population. Additionally, many are far ahead of the U.S. in clean energy and banning plastics.

It’s time we ask, “What about the kids?” Many people aren’t, but certainly should be, thinking about them. The next generation certainly wonders about their future home. Anyone who has children or is planning them, has nieces, nephews, students, or is concerned about future generations, should be considering this issue. Anyone who can’t consider the change, is in denial of the fallout, or is profiting from the continuation of plastics use/sale/manufacturing around the world, might want to think about their own future generations, if not everyone else’s.

Anyone caring to have a chat with a young person about this situation and where it’s heading will discover that our young people are hopeful, but definitely worried. So, what’s the problem that leads to the delay? Money.

Plastic is, as is so much including the gasoline we put in our cars, a petroleum product. Its environmental issues are negative, obvious, indiscriminate and universal. Some people are still confused or still in necessary denial about that, but most people know that profit is why this situation is so hard to rectify.

We’ve talked about the top industries that have a chokehold on America and a wrist lock on the rest of the world, but none of us lives exclusively in the “now.” We all leave footprints, everywhere, with everything we do. The plastics industry is huge. Its profits are huge. That profit, and the legislation and delays it can buy, are the greatest part of the problem. We shouldn’t have such a fight on our hands changing over, or back to, safer, more earth friendly packaging and products. Pencils don’t need to be shrink wrapped, and coffee stirrers can be bamboo. Again, it’s about intense profits.

The other big issue we have in this country is understanding clean energy. The petroleum industry has a huge stake in that game. No one can blame it for fighting hard against transitioning out of a fossil fuel driven world. However, it is time and we have the options. Despite the industry’s vocality, fossil fuels are outdated and, just like the ice man, those with money in that game must reinvent, and reinvest, themselves to the tune of the future. Wind energy, however misrepresented by profiteers, pundits and political candidates, works very efficiently and it works clean. It, and solar power, are being proven all over the world, even in America. Those who demonize it and its mechanics do the whole planet, and themselves, a huge disservice.

Packaging and products aren’t our only inorganic issue, but we have reliable, unbreakable, biodegradable, inexpensive, accessible alternatives to plastic in every way. Right now, plastic, which, once created cannot be destroyed, is being blasted into particles that have been found all over (and I do mean “over”) the world. Even uninhabited areas of the planet have been found coated with its micro-particles.

And, what about our young people? What about the health and sustainability of the planet we’re leaving to them? Sure, we need to be realistic: walking away from plastic is going to require time and readjusting. Still, it must be done, albeit smartly and gradually. Again the delay is money.

The preservation of the oceans, the health of which is imperative to all life on Earth, even people’s, must be addressed. In addition to the dangerous, everlasting trash, as the average temperature of the planet rises, weather is altered; ice flows change; ocean temperatures change; currents change; and so do animal migratory paths. Wildlife birthing locations, patterns and numbers will change. As all ocean life changes, all food chains are affected, including ours.

More quickly and efficiently than humans, animals might adapt. The earth definitely will eventually reinvent itself, reclaim itself, and go on as a space rock of some sort. We humans will most likely go the way of the dinosaurs. We can’t justify that to young people we love.

What do we tell our kids when they ask, “What about us?” How do we explain that we, knowingly, are killing their only home planet for profit?

What comes now?