Bring Me A Straw

I like wildlife. I want (*most) critters to stick around for the next generation. I’d wager that I’ve spent more time in the outdoors interacting with bambi and whatnot than a large percentage of the population. When it comes to the sea, I got my open water SCUBA certification when I was 13. Grew up surfing and sailing. I’ve paid my dues to the ocean gods.

Why do I tell you this? Because I love plastic. Plastic is one of the greatest inventions of the modern era. It is possible to equally embrace plastic and have an appreciation for the outdoors that rivals many eco warriors. The assault on plastic, while well intentioned, is outrage at the wrong problem. Seeing images of single use bags floating in waterways or piled in landfills, I get why you’d think banning them is the right path. But it may very well be that the overall environmental impact of forcing paper and reusable bags is greater than for plastic bags.

Regardless, trying to kill a very useful product after the fact seems pointless. We’re always going to have waste products that shouldn’t be dumped in the ocean or just buried in a hole in the ground. Selectively trying to ban “bad” things is an ineffective game of whack a mole. The real problem is that we need a more effective waste management solution.

I hate to break it to you, but plastic isn’t going away. Posting “I’m against straws” memes on the Facebook and public shaming restaurants/cities into completely ineffective bans that make virtually no impact is silly. Want to make a real change? Lobby to restrict foreign aid to countries with reprehensible waste management practices. Boycott cruise lines that simply dump their waste. Find out what your city/county’s 10 or 20 year plan is for waste management and publicly comment on it. Ask for more government R&D money for creating that 1.21 jigawatt plastics incinerator rather than funding research into the mating habits of the monk fish.

In the meantime, I want a goddam straw with my fizzy, tropical umbrella drink. And I need plastic bags. The hound poops at least three times every time we run and I have yet to see anything that beats the good ole fashioned poop bag.

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*Except snakes. Snakes can disappear.

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