To the Editor:
I came across quite an eye-popping story about China recently.
The story was covered by the New York Times, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, the Huffington Post, Forbes, and various other so-called “liberal media” sites.
Here are the first two sentences, as reported by the BBC: “Nondegradable bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all cities and towns by 2022.”
“The restaurant industry will also be banned from using single-use straws by the end of 2020.”
That’s quite the story.
Yes, China is banning plastic bags and straws — not just in a little town, but in the entire country of about 1,380,000,000 people.
I looked to see if Fox “news” covered this story. Nope. In fact, I could not find any so-called “conservative media” sites that covered this story. Perhaps some did, but I found none. “EL Rushbo” himself did not mention it, and most notably, the current occasional resident of the White House, who profits by selling plastic straws for $1.50 each, had no comment. All these people and organizations, as well as local conservative commentators on The MV Times site, have been consistently mocking any effort to eliminate anything plastic. On this Island, our schoolchildren are criticized and deemed “brainwashed” for taking the lead to ban any kind of single-use plastic items by right-leaning commentators on the MVTimes website.
So here is the hypocrisy: Any time there is a discussion about eliminating plastic waste, we hear from the conservative side about the folly of it all. Not because it’s such a bad idea, but because “India and China are the problem.” What are the conservatives to do now that China has taken the lead on this issue? How can they blame China for our failures now? We will likely hear from the “conservatives” that China won’t really do it, or that it’s “fake news.” And, of course, they will still blame India for the world’s ills.
But what about India? I fully acknowledge that India has some environmental problems. In fact, the Ganges River, which flows through India, is the world’s sixth largest single source of plastic going into the ocean.
They could do better, and capture some of that plastic waste before it enters the ocean.
But let’s look at reality.
The U.S. allows approximately 242 million pounds of plastic to leave our shores and get into the ocean every year. That sad statistic places the U.S. as the 12th largest polluter of the world’s oceans. India, as a whole, is somewhere below that. That’s right, India, with more than four times the population of the U.S., puts less plastic into the oceans than we do.
Every “conservative” I talk to also thinks that India is the problem with carbon dioxide emissions, mostly because they burn huge amounts of coal.
They deny the facts. India has nearly a billion more people than the U.S., yet it produces less than half the total carbon dioxide emissions of the U.S. (India produces 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions; the U.S., 16 percent.) The U.S. burns 70 percent more coal than India does. (India burns 8 percent of the world’s coal, while the U.S burns 13.5 percent.)
So I have a question for conservative readers here: When will the party of “personal responsibility” quit blaming others, stand up, and take some responsibility for their willfully ignorant and irresponsible opposition to anything that is good for the planet? Unfortunately, I suspect, not too soon.
In the meantime, I am proud of the children of this Island, and indeed around the world, who stand up to a generation of “adults” who display apathy, willful ignorance, and utter disrespect for the health and well-being of their generation. Speaking directly to the future leaders, I encourage you to continue to take the lead to try to create a better life for yourselves and future generations. When criticized, disregarded, disrespected and dismissed, I suggest you double down on your efforts, think “OK, boomer,” and keep your eyes on what is right.
Settle for nothing less than the respect your entire generation deserves.