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The Politics of Plastics

plastic trash is a global issue – one of the great issues of our times

It’s been several months since I published my Open Letter to Ian Calderon, regarding California legislation on the use of plastic straws.

I have received LOTS of feedback on that article. The response has been broad, with comments all over the map. Of interest, most of the responders commented on the tone. Some comments are given below, in alphabetical order:

angry, condescending, crass, entertaining, funny, gloomy, great, hilarious, insensitive, judgemental, off target, priceless, salient, sarcastic, snarky, Swiftian (I don’t know if that referred to Jonathan or Taylor), tongue in cheek, and trenchant.

Of these, my favorite is trenchant[1].

It is a hot topic of course, and my letter obviously hit a few nerves. My intent was to get people to think. Politics aside, I dislike bans on anything. They seem like a knee-jerk reaction to a problem. A ban is kind of like a wall, something used to separate and divide. Except we are not talking about a little thingy we use in the checkout line at the grocery store – we are enacting legislation about human behavior. I prefer to talk about bridges, and the things that connect us.

Plastic trash is one of the great issues of our times. It is a global issue, one that affects every human being on this planet, regardless of whether you live in California, Michigan (the Great Lakes State), Minnesota (The Land of 10,000 Lakes), China, or Australia (The Island Continent). Not only are we connected as human beings, our rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans are all also connected. Products that are Designed in America, Made in China, and sold all over the world, also end up as plastic trash in oceans all over the world.

We need to implement thoughtful solutions that bridge our connections.


[1] Truth be told, I did have to look up the word trenchant. What a great word. It is now on my list of favorite words. For those who are interested, the word at the top of my list is fecundity. Which also seems to be a favorite word of William McDonough, co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.


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