When It Comes to PLASTIC, We Need to PUSH
My story begins 25 years ago with a walk I took in Breezy Point, NY (the one hit with all those fires during Hurricane Sandy). This small two-mile long beach peninsula is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Brooklyn on the other. It is a wonderful and beautiful place, and one that holds many cherished memories for me.
Starting on the ocean side I set out one day to walk along the bay side, eventually rounding back to my home. As beachcombers know, there are many interesting and mysterious objects to be found as you walk the water line. I do not know what first caught my attention. It could have been the multitude of oil cans or milk cartons. Or possibly the plastic Coke and Pepsi bottles, or the wrapping that held them together made of, yes, plastic. I had always been aware of the abuse of litter, but on this day I started to see the plethora of plastic attached to our lives. Pens, lipstick cases and wrappers. Containers of every size and shape scattered everywhere. And, of course, the convenient plastic bag. I don’t mean you would find plastic every thirty feet. I mean every single step introduced a new form of plastic that was, and still is polluting our lives. We now know that entire eco systems are being changed—nothing escapes the irresponsible tolerance we have allowed. Convenience has replaced common sense on the issue of plastics.
As I continued to walk, my stomach was turning. Low tide had exposed the discarded plastic mess for us to clean up. Then the tide change would move the leftovers out to sea so a new cycle could begin. Anger crept into my mind—who are these people who discard their trash without conscience or shame?! Initially thinking of those I’d seen ejecting trash out of a car window or from a boat, I also started to resent local authorities for not clamping down on the littering that we allow the public to get away with. Then I became infuriated at the million and billion dollar companies who do not seek alternatives, and put profit and one dimensional thinking into their decisions. “Why,” I asked myself, “would we stay locked in this dogmatic self-destructive cycle? How do we move ourselves, and the companies to change?”
I know some good changes have occurred and we are on the right path, still we need the change to move faster. Please consider becoming a clean-up volunteer (see article on page 36). Also try to “vote with your dollar” by supporting organizations and businesses who practice environmentally sound principles. And naturally, write and call your local, state and federal officials to let your voice be heard...loudly.