If it hasn't been incinerated, every piece of plastic ever produced is still with us. There is no time for any species to biologically adapt to cope with plastic, including us. We have to make an effort to culturally evolve with way less plastic.
Without substantive recycling, in these ways or others, we perpetuate waste. Waste is excess. Excess is pollution. Pollution dirties our air, corrupts our land, fouls our water, poisons our ocean, and diminishes our future.
I'm pretty sure that Inhofe must be reading different news feeds than I am, otherwise, how could he fail to be as concerned as I am? Below are some of my top anxieties, not necessarily in order of my angst:
Mountaintop removal, hydraulic fracturing, open pit mining, dams, highways, filled wetlands -- these are just some of the many other examples of human-engineered intrusion into natural systems that are not typically planned or valued within the full context and cost of their use.
Scientists believe steelhead are more likely to survive climate change without the dam. Creek water temperatures will increase along with air temperature, possibly exceeding the steelhead's tolerance range.
In 2013 the Canadian artist Kelly Jazvac and a geologist Patricia Corcoran discovered a new form of stone: they called it plastiglomerate, congealed masses of plastic waste merged with oceanic lava rock, coral, and sediment.
Despite its status as one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created, PVC and its associated chemical additives are managed in much the same way as food scraps and grass clippings after disposal.
This initiative represents a powerful and focused effort on the part of international leaders to regenerate and refocus our collective energy on solutions that respond most directly to the intervening negative circumstances that have challenged the world ocean ecosystem to its core.
There are alternatives: ground apricot shells and cocoa beans are proposed as substitute natural exfoliates for the various products. But if the industry ignores the argument and resists product modification, there is as always the option to legislate a solution.
In the long run, we need to fundamentally change our manufacturing paradigm, including how we produce, collect and reuse the range of products we depend upon every day. But in the short run, we have to stop the flow of plastics reaching the ocean.
Phthalates used to soften and make flexible rigid plastics like PVC, are also endocrine disrupters. Just like BPA, the impacts from these endocrine disrupters is most dangerous when the fetus is developing.
Of the many organizations and initiatives dedicated to ocean sustainability, we often point to smaller groups and individuals attempting and succeeding in making a difference through specific actions directed at local issues and solutions.