We need to make Plastic socially unacceptable.

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 7, 2012
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Update: Scientists invent silk food wrap that’s biodegradable and could replace plastic cling film – Bananas & strawberries kept at room temperature for more than a week did not go off after they were coated with a near-invisible film made from silk (independent.co.uk)

Update: “The amount of plastic trash in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has increased 100-fold during the past 40 years, causing “profound” changes to the marine environment (worldnews.msnbc.msn.com)”


“Nature functions by building up and breaking down…we keep putting things into the environment that don’t break down.”

“We did it with smoking, we did it with seat belts, we did it with drunk driving, when that became unacceptable…perhaps times will change and we will.”

Find out more at http://www.trashedfilm.com/

Trashed – No Place For Waste with the participation of Jeremy Irons, looks at the risks to the food chain and the environment through pollution of our air, land and sea by waste. The film reveals surprising truths about very immediate and potent dangers to our health. It is a global conversation from Iceland to Indonesia between the film star Jeremy Irons and scientists, politicians and ordinary individuals whose health and livelihoods have been fundamentally affected by waste pollution. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful: an interplay of human interest and political wake-up call. But it ends on a message of hope: showing how the risks to our survival can easily be averted through sustainable approaches that provide far more employment than the current ‘waste industry’.

(C) Blenheim Films 2012


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


11 Responses to “We need to make Plastic socially unacceptable.”

  1. oz_ says:

    Then again, maybe George Carlin was right:

    Regarding smoking – the major downtrend in smoking occurred decades ago, in the 70s and 80s, following the 'discovery' of negative health effects. The more recent notion that smoking is socially unacceptable doesn't really show up in the stats, or if it does, it's a much smaller effect. For more, see:

    Similarly, with seat belts, the usage of those devices did not increase dramatically until laws were passed that fined non-users. So it doesn't seem accurate to cite social acceptability as a criteria – this was clearly due to coercion and threats.

    I mean, we can make the hand-waving argument that fines and coercive laws are a manifestation of social acceptability, (hand-waving, because obviously, this is not always the case so there is significant room for a disconnect) but it would be more accurate to say that in these cases, it has been either the threat of financial penalties (drunk driving and seat belts) or personal injury (smoking) that caused people to change their behaviors, rather than as a response to appeals to social conscience. Real penalties of one form or another are what motivated behavioral change, not vague notions of social responsibility.

    So it seems if we are to see – and describe – reality as it is, non-euphemistically, our position (to mirror the examples given above) would need to be (since we cannot demonstrate personal health risks) that 'it's time to coerce people to stop using plastic by threatening to fine them if they don't' – and of course, this shows the area in which this notion is totally unlike drunk driving, seat belts and smoking: in those cases, individuals – drivers and smokers – were the primary instigators of the action. Here, it's corporations that make plastics, corporations that package in plastic, corporations the effectively are 'plastic pushers' – so this has less to do with coercing individuals and more to do with regulation of corporations. In essence, we would need to STOP allowing corporations to socialize their externalities. Alternatively, we would need to END subsidies for fossil fuels, making plastic more expensive. Or both. In fact, both of those moves would solve numerous social and ecological problems rather than creating new metaproblems.

    If you have a problem you wish to solve, the first thing is to be clear about the parameters of the problem. That includes looking to how related problems were solved if the idea is to apply similar solutions. But if the problems are unrelated in crucial ways, then the solutions to the one will not apply to the other. In fact, this kind of 'fuzzy thinking' has been the bane of the environmental movement in many ways, and IMO is (and continues to be) one of the primary reasons that movement has proven to be such an unmitigated failure in America. If you misdiagnose a disease, then chances are your treatment regimen will fail (and in many cases create other problems due to the Law of Unintended Consequences). So getting the diagnosis right is all-important. We need to give more attention and thought to this than we currently do if in fact we hope to effectuate change.

    We can only hope this film gets that right. Frankly, the trailer is not encouraging.

  2. Olga says:

    Thanks Waylon for showing this! It's fantastic! I'm a program manager for a youth program. I'm going to add this to our curriculum! Thank you!

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  4. Totally agree and trying to!! http://www.backyardagrarian.com/tareware.html
    Drop a line, mention this article and we'll send you your first TareWare sticker for free!
    ([email protected])
    Tare it up!

  5. Ayngelina says:

    In Toronto we started charging 5 cents for bags and the use of plastic bags dropped significantly. I thought we were doing a good job until I went to Maui, they just banned them – no 5 cents no bag. If you need a bag you have to buy a reuseable one. I wish we did that here in Toronto.

  6. Leigh says:

    I'm all for reducing our plastic consumption and becoming mindful of what I buy.
    Last week I wrote a post – Greening up your travels – a weekly feature now – with one green tip a week. I discussed some of the hard numbers as it relates to how much oil and water go into delivering that 1 Liter of bottled water. You can read the article here if you'll allow the link – http://hikebiketravel.com/18050/greening-travels-

  7. Oh, yes. I've been working to lessen the amount of plastic in my life. They don't make it easy here to say the least.

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