Monday, June 23, 2008

"I want to say one word to you. Just one word."

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?

I mean it's out of control! This past weekend in the New York Times Magazine an article titledSea of Trash about an remote shoreline in Alaska that has piled up with trash over the years and one man's symbolic effort to clean it up. The volume of plastic trash everywhere is unbelievable, but conceivable when you think about everything that has plastic in our lives. A lot of this plastic ends up floating into our oceans and creating literal islands of plastic.

As imaginable as that is, I was struck by a post by green blogger Arduous on discovering her Body Shop face wash was full of plastic microparticles that is causing all kinds of badness in the oceans to our sea life as they get consumed all throughout the food chain. It's disappointing that this facial watch came from the Body Shop which has powerfully developed a brand of being socially conscious when biodegradble alternatives exist. More greenwashing?

Perhaps this is a casualty of selling off to the highest bidder, thinking that the money made can be put effectively to use. However, as Yvon Chouinard has noted, it's not about making money that environmentally conscious businesses make, but making a model that works for others to emulate.

Plastics and synthetics are truly amazing inventions, but their durability is now their weakness as they never disappear. When all else disappears future archeologists will know us by our plastic. Is this what we want to be remembered for?


At 10:47 PM , Blogger arduous said...

It IS out of control. There are lots of great things about plastic, but right now there's very little moderation.

At 6:42 AM , Anonymous Kenny said...

It's a shame that so many products we buy only last (function) for a short amount of time, but their plastic parts last forever.


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