The Future

Remeber this scene from “THE GRADUATE?”

MR. MCQUIRE
Ben – I just want to say one word to
you – just one word –

BEN
Yes, sir.

MR. MCQUIRE
Are you listening?

BEN
Yes I am.

MR. MCQUIRE
(gravely)
Plastics.

They look at each other for a moment.

BEN
Exactly how do you mean?

MR. MCQUIRE
There is a great future in plastics.
Think about it.  Will you think
about it?

BEN
Yes, I will.

MR. MCQUIRE
Okay.  Enough said.  That’s a deal.

Yeah, when you look at the bottom of the ocean, it’s pretty clear that plastics have been such a part of our lives.  Today’s SF Chronicle has a front page story on the amount of plastic particles accumulating at the bottom of the ocean.  Some bits and pieces are so small that they are like grains of sand, but others are larger and look a little something like this:

 

Pretty gross, huh.  But how do you even start to clean up a debris field of plastic that’s about double the size of Texas and a 1000 feet down? The reality is that we can’t.  But we can reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the dumps by recycling, pressure businesses to stop with the plastic heavy packaging, and most importantly, get our elected officials to do more to address enviornmental issues that threaten us.  Yeah, I’m talking about human beings.  “Save the humans!”  “Let’s go homo sapiens!” “Save the planet for you and yours!” Whatever slogan gets the message out, take your pick. And that message is pretty simple:    We’re screwing ourselves (and our children) the more we screw th environment. 

Yeah, I realize that I’m preaching to the choir (for the most part).  But when you have bought and paid for politicians saying things like “We need sound science,” “The jury’s still out on environmental problems,” and other stock phrases designed to confuse people, it’s a stellar example of the connection of ideas and action (or inaction in the case of our current administration’s desire to do something about environmental problems). 

It’s easy to bitch and moan about how Bush and Co. are a bunch of short sighted/bottom line types who care more about destroying humans through war and constant conflict to keep power, than through promoting peace and a cleaner world for all of us.  They’ve got a year more to do their worst (and the probably will), but we need think beyond what we’ve got to who we’re going to elect in 2008.  The hard part is being active, vigilant, and motivated to not only take action (that means being more environmentally aware in your day to day habits), but also push candidates and elected folks put their money where their rhetoric is. 

Here in California, we’ve got an Attorney General and even a Republican Governor who are trying to be active agents for a cleaner environment.  Certainly, the difference between the politics of Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger are quite large, but one thing both individuals have in common is that they actually listen to “The People” when it comes to the environment, rather than actively trying to confuse and frustrate them by saying one thing while doing another.

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