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Is There Life Beyond Plastic?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/09/04/there-life-beyond-plastic

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There are biodegradable plastics which are suitable for quite a lot of uses. Many will complain that they are not cost effective, but that is because the environment is considered to be an externality in the current economic paradigm. Reworking our decision-making (economic) systems to remove externalities such as pollution, poverty, war, etc. would open the world up to a whole host of better quality of life opportunities in manifold ways. It does, however, take political will and significant “out-arm-wrestling” with experienced lobbying forces. Until the “bottom line” takes into account the People and the Planet and not just corporate profits expect the Pacific gyre to grow. It does not have to, but the People have to put a stop to it.


The real question every American must ask themselves is, “Is there life beyond the Duopoly?”

The answer must be, "Hell Yeah."

And we all must begin working towards the "Movement For A People’s Party."

And fast before these Duopoly parties kill us with more plastic.

The answer to the plastic problem is as WiseOwl states above.

Here is a secret the oil companies do not want you to know.

Anything made with hydrocarbons in oil can just as easily be made from carbohydrates in vegetable crops like HEMP.

We have all been undermined and played like fiddles.


I lived in Eugene OR in the 70’s and 80’s. I was able to buy biodegradable kitchen trash bags at the time. They worked for me, and I remember that the did cost a little more but it wasn’t prohibitive. They were made from potato starch. I haven’t seen them since.

Now I hadn’t thought of this until your comment reminded me so I searched it and bang. There are a lot of hits on this one. Hell, Amazon has pages of them (not that I would buy from them).
Thanks for the reminder. I’ll be switching over (again)


Good point.

Nothing will fundamentally change

Biden Vows to Continue Fracking
In response to a claim by Trump, the Democratic presidential nominee assured a crowd in Pennsylvania that he will not do away with the practice.


There was a year or so when I couldn’t pay for trash pickup.

Carrying bags of trash through the street for a mile or so to illegally use some local business’s bin was something I wanted to put off, so I quit buying cans and shrink-wrapped products. I looked for jars that I figured I could re-use. A backpack and some canvas bags cut down on most plastic packaging from stores, but not all. So over weeks I got more used to using things from the garden, something I had intended to do anyway. I wound up eating dolmas or nopalitos or verdolagas where I might otherwise have cleaved a section off of an iceberg lettuce. It meant less to carry, too, and my arthritic back was not thrilled about the pack, which made it easy to decide against jars and bottles.

Things came in the mail, of course. I sorted them into two groups: toxic and non-toxic. I kept having to remind myself that the distinction was supposed to be literal rather than referring to the written content, probably because it turns out to be prevalent that toxic ads are printed onto toxic paper.

The toxic I set aside for when I could return it to the society whence it came. As the pile slowly grew over months, it started to appear oddly significant to me, a sort of inverted and museless objet d’art. The rest I used. I composted some, lined rabbit and chicken habitats with some and then composted it, burnt some as kindling or fuel for the fireplace and composted ashes.

I will be surprised if we do not have jarring changes ahead in some day that most of us alive now will see. I doubt that the loss of plastics will be one of them. I suspect that if we learn to recycle bottles again, that will cut down on the amount of trash-picking the society winds up doing, since resources have to come from somewhere.

I used to wonder whether it was more ecological to use plastic than to chop down the organic matter for paper or whatnot, but I suspect that this will continue to become clearer. With organic product, we can reap while we are willing to sow. With what we fabricate chemically or chip out of the ground, we mostly have just a bit of time that will become like a snapshot from another day, where we wonder at how like us that old relative might be about some part of the eyes or face, when the dress and the exposure and the context and the attitude appears so different.

Some of these temporary things are valuable. I am typing on something that requires mined product. It would cost us a good deal, and not just in dollars, to go back to pressing information onto paper. How long do you reckon we have with this?


Do you think for humans to evolve and thrive we have to kill each other and make our planet inhospitable in the process .

Progress is not made that way it only leads to demise .
Taking care of each other and the planet is the only viable solution.

I mean life will go on with or without humans .
But if humans wish to go long and have there place as a universal species amongst thousands of others we must Awaken fast .


Very little time. You are certainly right that “most of us alive now will see.” Accelerating curves reach sudden changes, fast, and having now reached the point where the changes (ecological, social, political, etc.) are noticeable in real time, while still accelerating, means time is extremely short.

One statistic i keep pointing to, is that animal wildlife on Earth has declined by well over 50% just in my lifetime. Ecological destruction at this scale - again, still accelerating - cannot continue for very long at all. The article notes that in the first decade of the new millennium, more plastic was produced than in all human history prior. Recycling will not escape this trajectory. “Informed consumer choice” will not escape this trajectory. Only fundamental change to “the economy,” and to all the human lives that depend on and occur within “the economy,” would have any hope of escaping that trajectory.

We have entered into the “jarring changes.” The fact that the Earth’s climate is visibly, experientially changing - again, still accelerating - is probably the most obvious indicator of the fact that things will be much, much, much different, and very soon.

There certainly will not be 10 billion humans alive on Earth at the same time. i doubt we will get to 8 billion humans alive at the same time. Those alive when the reduction of human population picks up speed - those alive will likely look back on 2020 as the year it began, if not 2020 then certainly within the first half of this decade - will not be thinking at all about recycling, not in the sense of industrial recycling programs or “curbside pick-up.”

And because “the news media” are mostly captured tools of propaganda, PR and marketing for the very interests who think they “own” everything and “earn” billions of dollars fueling the acceleration of everything, most people see essentially zero meaningful reporting on actual ecological, economic or political trends. “Public education” has been grossly degraded too, by the same interests. So it becomes almost impossible to have any reality-based discussion with anyone about any of this. Pretty literally drives me crazy.

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Also, in broad general terms, we literally do not need the vast majority of manufactured industrial products. If we hope to slow and turn around the accelerating trajectories fueled by “the economy” we will have to stop “the economy” from producing the vast majority of what it does.

We need food, water and air. We need shelter. We need soil and ecosystems and millions of species in an elegantly balanced ecology. We do not “need” automobiles, and Netflix, and major league sports, and the Interstate Highway system, and brightly colored plastic playground equipment, and the Internet, and Las Vegas, and the F-35, and nuclear weapons. To name a few.

We need accelerating transformation of “the economy” to sync up with “the ecology.” So we need accelerating consciousness of all these trends and the human systems that fuel them.

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The tininess and brevity of human scale relative to global events makes it all appear to be happening in slow motion, it seems, even when we ought to interpret systems as approaching free fall, since much of what currently supports us will not complete another cycle.

The following is tangential, but I think relevant to the question of time. I put in a good deal of study working out how literature would migrate onto the Net, and then, while I worked out details on the side, it happened–at least the aspects of the process that I had framed into my conceptions; there are other shoes to fall, obviously. I had mostly imagined that it would happen without the people involved ever understanding, though that was remarkable to see in practice. What I did not anticipate was that so many people would participate in the event every day, even professionally, and never become aware that it had occurred. They had not been aware of a certain aspect of what they did prior to '95, they were not aware what they were doing after '15, and so the relevant actions had only changed circumstantially for them, with no appreciation that practice had changed in ways that made most of their acquired wisdom fundamentally false. The younger people put things together similarly, but in an updated system, and their elders as being more senile and less untrained than is actually the case.

Of course, events involving ecological collapse will have a viper’s sting at the end, but I have taken to wonder what sort of awareness that will and will not cause even so. So often people regard the matters that we do perceive as isolated or circumstantial, with no awareness that the circumstance is only the part of a system that lies in view.

The wee point of optimism that I retain in all this comes from the people who have moved to set up food, water, and shelter, as you say–and education, though not necessarily formal.

To throw out one more metaphor, at some point you know your in a crash, but your foot on the break still might save your spine, or your ability to talk or to feed yourself. Here’s to the people on the street, but also to those in the field.

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