Thursday, February 28, 2008

Careful what you wish for

I do believe the whole plastic bag thing is now a done deal. Just like any attempt at discussing climate change. At least for reasoned debate. You are either for the ban, or you are an enemy of Gaia. No matter whether it, other in the most simplistic, absolutist terms, might or might not be effective on a few key environmental levels, at least without some other more pressing and vital areas (such as sorting out our woeful waste collection and disposal systems) being addressed first.

Some noisy people have spoken, the media mob has seen a soft target, decided, and it's all over bar the P45s... and possible worse planetary enviROI from the as yet not very clearly explained alternatives (Paper? Much worse for carbon. Biodegradables/compostables? Not really ready to be dealt with properly as yet. Bags for life? Well, yes, but these do seem to be getting rushed out a bit).

No issue that these things are not optimal on about any level, but I'd love such as the Daily Mail to please explain how 'M&S banishing the FREE bag' (today's headline) stops 5p plastic bags getting into the waste stream and choking a turtle. Or at least becoming part of a toxic soup solution. It's mankind's consumerism, and the fact there are an awful lot of us (and growing) consuming ever more, that is pumping ever more crud into the air, land and sea, mostly thoughtlessly or carelessly, that is doing for these precious icons of nature.

And it is driven by a much broader set of entities all complicit in this, including those placing the ads such as those on p24 of the Mail, for M&S, suggesting we dash out and buy Mum a nice bunch of posies (from where?) and chocolates (wrapped in what?). Ditto Tesco on P30. Plus booze. Pampers at Sainsbury’s p18, if you fancy the next cause, guys. I personally support Green Nappies, but not sure what their ad budget is.

But I guess fewer bags might help... maybe along with those in papers that hold the inserts and FREE CDs, etc. And I do notice that on top of the efforts of the Indy and Guardian, the Telegraph today has a FREE 'eco-friendly bag' for each reader... which you need to send off for. Oh, just noticed; the Daily Mail too. What are they giving away next week to persuade us to buy their papers that gets posted back? The container ships (shipping is an issue, too, I imagine, for anything in the sea) from the East must be bulging! Bless.

And in the spirit of jumping bandwagons, as I was listening to the Jeremy Vine show today, there was the delicious irony of one caller in favour of an immediate Planet Ban-it (all anti's selected by being rabid 'who cares about nature' nutters), who had just 'flown in' from her dive business on the Red Sea... and these things were spoiling her UK clients' weekend getaways. Bless. Hope they cycle there and don't use sunscreen (apparently it kills coral).

Yes, things that are harmful to the environment do need to be identified and phased out where alternatives can be found (and maybe even if they cannot). But when the barely informed (I'm still on a steep learning curve ) mob rules, careful what you wish for. Who knows what... or who... may be next in line?

Mail - Marks & Spencer joins The Mail's campaign to Banish the Bags by charging for them

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