Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dealing with the Plastic Plague

To respond to a recent post to an ecopsychology list I subscribe to, I wrote the following. I also highly recommend the article the original post is referring to.

> This is a most disturbing link. Sometimes, I just feel hopeless. I
> don't see how we will ever cleanup our disgusting messes on earth.
Our oceans are turning into plastic... are we?
> any encouraging thoughts out there on this horrible matter?

First, if you'd like more info on this, although the important parts are in this article, search the website for "plastic plague" (the main article to read is Plastics: Your Formidable Enemy) where you'll also find a link to an excellent documentary on this subject the Algalita Foundation put out called "Our Synthetic Sea," as well as some things you can do about it.

As Jan Lundberg of CultureChange says, "The time is over for more research as a substitute for decisive action, and it is everyday citizens who need to carry it out immediately."

Cities like San Francisco are starting to institute plastic bag bans and taxes, and one of the best things to do is to start removing plastic from your life.

But one of the main things to do, in my opinion, is that once you come to the following realization yourself, is to become almost militant (but in a compassionate manner) about spreading the word that the American way of life is an unmitigated catastrophe. Not only is it toxic, but it is shallow and meaningless. Not only is it disconnected from all the things that really matter in order to have a fulfilling life, but it is destroying life and possibilities for the continuation of life.

People don't like to allow themselves to feel this, and can numb the fact that they are living a catastrophe as long as the oil, fast food, entertainment, and Prozac holds out. They don't want to feel this so they keep themselves very busy trying to look good and be materially successful so neither they nor anyone else notices how empty the American way of life actually feels.

So, help awaken people from the consensus trance. Find the unique ingredients for the red pill your family, friends, and neighbors need. We don't need to wait for a catastrophe to occur for a shift in consciousness to gain the mass momentum to create a sustainable future based on ecological wisdom and social justice; all we have to do is pay attention to see that we are already surrounded by catastrophe.

And once you come to this realization, also realize that since humans have created the current situation, humans are also empowered to do something about it. Do not let yourself fall into despair. Let yourself deeply feel the catastrophe and let this feeling fuel your sense of righteous indignation and motivate your actions. Everything we do and believe in is based on a choice, whether we consciously articulate it or not.

A concrete action people could do is to come together to create a groundswell of support to force government to reclaim its duty to protect the commons and to revoke the corporate charters of companies who aren't serving the public good. And every company who makes products or who depends on materials that destroy our health and the planet we depend on for our sustenance falls into this category.

Spread the memes that the cure for breast cancer is shutting down Dow Chemical. The health of the economy cannot be allowed to take precedence over the health of people and planet. Convenience is not a substitute for life.