Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Plastics are Forever

I was frantically trying to speed-read the book I had to discuss within the hour (my co-moderator couldn't get in to work and it was her turn to lead the discussion. I had been complacently unprepared), when I was interrupted by a patron wanting my ear. He was upset by the Dasani/Coca-Cola vending maching in our foyer. His objections were many, but mainly he was opposed to the promoting of plastic containers that were contributing to the pollution of the oceans as well as the earth. Talk about coincidence! That was exactly what I had been reading about when he interrupted me! The book is called "The World Without Us " by Alan Weisman. He writes of the more than 10 million square mile North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (otherwise known as "Great Pacific Garbage Patch") which is 90% plastics flotsam. Plastic debris is now the most common surface feature of the world's oceans. Virtually every marine species is in danger of being snared by plastics or killed by ingesting it. And this stuff doesn't degrade. Every bit of plastic manufactured in the world for the last 50 years (has it only taken that long for us to do this amount of damage?!) still remains. That translates to over 1 billion tons!
So, what are YOU going to do about it? One woman's attempt to go plastic-free for one week is documented in today's (yes, TODAY'S--another synchronicity) Olympian: "Life Without Plastic." As for me, I'd love to follow my daughter's example and buy for my other daughter, FuzziBunz cloth diapers for my newest grandson. (I've got to get her buy-in though, as she will be the one laundering them...) In the end, it's not whether our small efforts make a difference, but how we feel about ourselves and what we have done with our individual stewardship.

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