In my mind, anything that helps the environment, or I should say, anything that lessens negative human stresses on the environment, is a good thing. Especially when it comes to mundane things that involve serious behavioral changes by people who, let’s be honest, could care less about the larger picture when it actually involves changing their behavior for the better.
Like the use of plastic bags.
Single-use plastic bags are awesome. They’re convenient, they’re cheap, and they’re everywhere—the trash bin, the recycle bin, covering bicycle seats, tied to dog leashes, pretty much every place of business, wrapped in street-lining fauna, trampled into the mulch, wrapped around table legs of your neighborhood Starbucks, and piled high along river fronts and coastal beach areas.
E V E R Y W H E R E
So when places like Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md. start charging you a 5-cent fee on single-use bags at groceries and retailers, it makes sense. Though, the “tax” is more of a deterrent, or not a big enough deterrent, and more needs to be done to encourage reduced use of single-use bags.
A step toward reducing pollution that results in an eyesore on landscape, and clogs and harms watersheds like the Anacostia River. Cool.
With every conscionable effort made to help the environment, there’s always an entity who feels threatened.
Twelve-year-old Abby Goldberg started the petition after her efforts at a school project to ban single-use plastic bags in her Grayslake, Ill. community was shut down. She started the school project after learning about the devastating effects plastic bag pollution had on the environment.
Pretty awesome, if you ask me, that a 12-year-old would take it upon herself to make an effort to impart a positive change within her community. (Reminds me of 9-year-old Martha Payne who authors NeverSeconds. She got her school to offer healthier lunches just by posting photos of her lunch plate.)
The awkward, ironic, yet not-so-surprising spin about all this, according to the petition, is that the plastic bag honchos, and other industries involved in the ever profitable plastic bag business, have lobbied to make it illegal for small towns like Goldberg’s from banning the use of plastic bags—something that could benefit their immediate community, and set a model for other communities.
Limits home rule powers further in home rule units with 2,000,000 or fewer inhabitants by (i) making any effort to regulate the collection and recycling of plastic carryout bags through the imposition of a ban on those items an exclusive power and function of the State… (IL SB3442)
It’s bad enough when industries are buying up our politicians and influencing policies and legislation under the guise of “good for you”, but if Governor Quinn signs this law, what repercussions will it have? At what point will the people’s interests in better communities, lives, and environment trump dirty money bags of ol’ Franklin?
Here’s a good related story on Slate, about solar energy and Big Energy.
I'm an intern in Bethesda, Md.
When I'm not working, I'm writing, photographing, reading or enjoying some other equally leisurely activity.
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