Monday, July 21, 2008

And sometimes the claws come out....

Warning...the following entry contains Conservative Viewpoints that may be offensive to some at your own liberal risk...

I think of myself as a fairly nice person. I don't really like confrontations. I would even describe myself as a little shy. That being said, there are a few things that I get really passionate and fearless about. If certain buttons get pushed, I can become a pretty brave person. I am passionate about my family, my faith, my country, and some political issues. One of those issues being The Environment...but not in a way you may think.

I know some people who refuse to use plastic bags when they go to the grocery store. And for them, it is a big deal. To them, it is a sin. There are several messages out there right now screaming at us about how plastic is considered evil, and if we stopped using it, it would help us cut down on our dependence of foreign oil, and save all of the animals that are choking on our discarded plastic bags.

First of all, I want to say that I am all for cleaning up our messes. I think we should all be responsible stewards of the earth. We need to care for it and also for the creatures that share the earth with us. I think it is important. And there is certainly nothing wrong with using cloth bags every time we go to the store.

What really bothers me is the hypocrisy of it all, and the misinformation. So I felt like offering my opinion, along with some facts that I have researched for myself. This is the way I see it. You are welcome to disagree. And I am sure that some of you will.

I personally reuse all of the plastic bags I get at stores for several things at home. Lining smaller garbage cans, lunch sacks, holding wet swimming suits. I keep one in my diaper bag for disposing diapers when I'm away from home.

People who do not use plastic grocery sacks, and who are self righteous about you use zip locks? Plastic food containers? Plastic jars and bottles that contain our grocery items? With lids that animals choke on? garbage bags? Maybe you don't use those either. But if you don't, do you use soap to wash out your garbage cans? Soap that is changing the PH levels of our waters and streams and polluting our oceans? Do you use toxic cleaning supplies? Are you using electricity, that is created by burning natural resources and polluting our air? If you are reading this, you do.

One of the quotes from the link (Jan. 2008) reads, "China will save 37 million barrels of oil each year due to their ban of free plastic bags"...Let me set the record straight about that. Every barrel of oil is refined into ethane, propane, hundreds of other petrochemical products and, of course, fuel for your car. The plastic "by-product " needed to produce the bags is then mixed with polymers and manufactured to create the bags. It is a by-product of the oil. A by-product that is left over after we take everything else out of the oil barrel. At least we are using it for something. The by-product is going to be there no matter what. We have to dispose of it some other way that is just as harmful as making it into bags. So it is a LIE to say that cutting down on our use of plastic will in ANY way cut down on our dependency of foreign oil. The only way we can not be dependant, (until someone builds the water car), is to drill our own, here. I understand most of the Montanans want to do it. (If you want to learn more about how plastic bags are made, so you can know for yourself...just do a google search for "How plastics are made" and you will get dozens of valid websites giving you the correct information on how it is a BY-PRODUCT of oil.)

I am all for using water to make cars run, and I hope we can figure it out some day. Until then, our ban of plastics is not going to decrease our need for foreign oil, not one bit.

When I read things like this, I wonder how many other lies are being told. And how many people just accept lies because they saw it written down, or heard it from some self-righteous celebrity talking about it. Or because they feel like to jump on the Environmental Bandwagon gives them some kind of feeling of superiority?

Like I said, I think it is a fine idea to use canvas bags. It is better than using paper. I could get into a whole thing about how plastic is tons better for the environment than paper. Lots of evidence there. So canvas is great. Something I do think we should all do. And I am all for doing everything we can to save the animals. And I try to be considerate. But just ask all of this information that I am forming my opinions on true?

There is a quote from Ironman (my favorite movie of the summer), "It's an imperfect world, but it's the only one we've got." And we need to protect it as best we can. But it's complicated. Plastic bags are the tip of the iceberg. It may be a good place to start, but I feel that it is a superficial response to the real problem.

I wish there were some easy answers for our environmental problems. If I could be certain that no more whales or dolphins would be killed by my decision to never use another plastic bag again, of course I would do it. I love Whales and Dolphins as much as anyone. Unfortunately, The National Marine Debris Monitoring Program has said that 10% of the worlds coastline pollution is caused by plastic bags. Yes, that is 10% to much pollution, but what is causing the other 90%? Everything else we are just not ready to sacrifice. So lets admit it and stop pretending. Until you live in a cabin in the woods, made from some kind of recycled wood product, never take a trip, grow all of your own food and cotton for your clothes, never take advantage of any of the miracles that technology has provided for us...don't pretend that you are better than me, just because you carry your groceries in canvas.


Miranda said...

WOW...very interesting thoughts and expressions of your opinion. I have been totally enlightened and have honestly learned a lot. You go girl!!!

Greg & Andrea said...

Aunt Rachel someone must have really pissed you off! But I totally agree with you. And I reuse my plastic bags for all kinds of things and I have also wondered what people who don't use plastic bags use for all those little things. It seems like if they were really smart they would see that by reusing plastic bags it also would save them money. And who doesn't need to save a little? Anyways good post.

Shelli said...

Dear Senator Bingham: I enjoyed your highly enlightening letter, you have my vote!!

Laryl said...

I totally agree!! Way to do your research! If more people would actually find out the details instead of jumping to their own pompous conclusions we'd all be in a better place!!

And just to add to your note...carpet and carpet pad also come from petroleum by-products. (But I don't find many people willing to go without their "home-comforts")
Hey...Ive got it. We should just hand-weave all of those nasty plastic bags into a new-age floor covering! YIPPEE! Problem solved!

Laryl said...

I can see the tag-line already..

"Don't throw your shopping bags into our landfills....just weave them together and put them on your floor. Easy to clean, and easy to repair...just go shopping again. And for a coordinated look..only shop at one store."


Rachel Bingham said...

Love it!