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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Our Plastic Nightmare, Now on Video

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, plastic, pollution, oceans, wildlife, Fake Plastic Fish, Plastic Manners,

As we enter the season of plastic-intensive picnicking—would you like some plastic-bottled water to accompany your meal eaten off a plastic plate with a plastic fork?—it’s worth remembering that our convenience comes at nature’s cost. This video that dramatizes plastic’s toll on the environment, and on wildlife, is shocking and powerful, despite—or because of?—a soundtrack consisting solely of Queen’s bombastic power ballad “Who Wants to Live Forever”:

Take this as a reminder: It’s not impolite to bring your environmental ethic to a cookout. The next time you head out for summer fun that includes eating outside, bring a few extra things—washable and reusable plates, cups, and utensils—and leave your guilt behind.

(Thanks, Fake Plastic Fish and Plastic Manners.)

julie capuder_2
5/22/2010 4:27:02 AM

Gut wrenching and heart wrenching. Brings me to tears.


julie capuder_2
5/22/2010 4:02:32 AM

For those of us who never really left the world of 'greening' in this country, it may not be too late for us to shine the spotlight on American Indians....who understood and upheld with reverence the intimate, symbiotic triune relationship between the spiritual world and humans in coalesence with the providential rhythms and seasonal flows of all manner of nature. They knew well how to live with it.


anyse_3
5/21/2010 1:47:04 PM

This has definitely influenced me greatly. I have just got 5 new bags over the past few months since living on my own after a divorce. I will keep them by the door and in my big basket on my electric tricycle! Yesterday, when I went shopping, I was astounded as to how many of those plastic bags I got for just a few items: 1 at Target for a glass jar; 4 at the Dollar Store for only 6 items; 3 at Safeway (one for the cucumbers and 1 each for two quarts of Half and Half). When I got home and saw them, it bothered me. Today, after seeing this, I now know why even more! We use plastic without a thought! I also learned from another site today, to make sure to bring my own containers to restaurants for leftovers rather than using the styrofoam containers we usually get there. We have so many options not to use plastic as much as we can. Buying sodas with those plastic loops connecting them together is another aquarian biohazard as they get their heads stuck in them when smaller and then choke to death when they get bigger as well as other problems and outcomes! We need to be much more conscious in a country that consumes more than 35% of the world's resources as well as all of these plastics. Let's get "mature" about our use of plastics. I am now beginning . . . sad that I waited this long . . .