Something we CAN do

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All my life, our civilization has been under threat of extinction by nuclear warfare. I find that puts a big crease in one’s sense of well-being, and confidence in the powers that govern the world. You see, it was my native land, the United States of America that is still the only nation to have ever used nuclear bombs on other people.

All my life, our civilization has been under threat of extinction by nuclear warfare. I find that puts a big crease in one’s sense of well-being, and confidence in the powers that govern the world. You see, it was my native land, the United States of America that is still the only nation to have ever used nuclear bombs on other people. That immense power to annihilate is currently vested in the hands of a few
madmen, and beyond the control of average citizens of Planet Earth. One misstep by the Donald Trumps, Vladimir Putin’s or Kim Jung Un’s of the world, and a chain reaction could be unleashed, that could end life as we know it, via the absurd construct of Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, as it was portrayed in the movie Dr. Strangelove. Perhaps some scattered remnants of humanity would survive, but it has been said, that the living will envy the dead.
But cheer up! There’s another world-threatening crisis, that we can control, because it has been created by the billions of ordinary people. To quote another movie from the 60s, the Graduate, "I have one word for you:
PLASTICS." I remember a time before the plastic revolution. Everything was made of wood or steel or glass, and lasted for years, and could be repaired, re-used or repurposed. But, plastic is disposable, so you use it once and then, just THROW IT AWAY! I thought the future had arrived. Ooops.
As it turns out, plastic is NOT disposable. Sure, you can just throw it away, but it never really leaves. Every molecule of plastic ever made is still out there, breaking down into ever-smaller particles, totally useless to us, but still there, drifting out to sea, fooling fish and krill into eating it, but not becoming gone, ever.
So, where’s the cheerful part of this diatribe? This problem was created by our laziness, and can be made less menacing by our actions. Quit buying and throwing away plastic crap that you don’t want to keep. It’s possible, though not at all easy. Don’t think that garbage wrapped in plastic is harmless; it’s not. Separate organic from actually disposable waste, and compost the organic for your (or your neighbour’s) garden. Recycling plastic is better than throwing it away, but plastic does not recycle as cleanly as glass or metal. Try to buy items that are not wrapped in permanent plastic. That is a real challenge, since nearly everything we buy is now manufactured in China, and is encased in protective plastic that will last twenty times as long as the item you’ve bought. But then, humans have gotten this far by rising to challenges.

Robert Wills
THORNE