Profiting From A Crisis

Thus far, eight states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont) have banned single-use plastic bags in the U.S.  Fourteen others, including Florida, have moved in the opposite direction, adopting laws to tie the hands of local officials.  In January, New Jersey attempted to pass a law banning single-use plastics, but the bill failed.  Why?  Why aren’t all 50 states on-board with this legislation?  Take a look at what plastic bags and bottles are doing …bags-1bags-2

bags-3

bags-4And the answer to the question why all 50 states aren’t doing their part is simple … the GOP motto is: profit over all else.  Profit is more important in this nation than people, than wildlife, than the environment … in fact, today’s profit is more important than life on earth tomorrow for far too many of our so-called ‘leaders’.  I could expound at some length about this concept, but for today I have a single focus:  those damn plastic bags that they shove down our throats at the grocery store.

Even though only eight states thus far have banned plastic bags, it’s a start, it’s progress.  Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have raised public awareness and many of us now bring our own reusable canvas bags to the grocery and use reusable mesh bags for produce.  Even with that, the stores have been very slow in finding packaging alternatives, so we still end up with unwanted plastic in our rubbish.  Single use plastics account for around 20% of solid rubbish in the U.S., and only about 10% of that is recycled, so 90% ends up in landfills, rivers and ultimately the ocean.

Never let it be said that big industries, focused solely on profit, miss an opportunity to increase their profit, even at the cost of earth’s future.  Enter the coronavirus.  By March 18th, the plastic industry in the U.S. had kicked into high gear.  The trade group Plastics Industry Association requested that the US Department of Health endorse the idea that “single-use plastic products are the most sanitary choice when it comes to many applications.”  A conservative nonprofit called the Independent Women’s Forum started running ads pressuring Washington state, New York, and California to reverse their bag bans. IWF’s ad’s claim: “Researchers say COVID-19 can survive on reusable tote bags for nine days. However, some state legislators are enforcing draconian bans on plastic bags, which might contribute to the spread of the virus and other harmful microorganisms.” 

Many of the groups that have picked up these claims, including the Manhattan Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute, receive support from the Kochs, the infamous family of moguls who made their fortune in the petrochemical industry.  Now are you starting to smell a rat?  The plastic industry’s tactics seem to be working: Maine’s plastic bag ban was supposed to go into effect on April 22, but it’s been postponed till January 2021. New Hampshire’s governor Christopher Sununu, who has misrepresented climate science, has gone further to use the state of emergency to temporarily ban reusable bags. Republicans in Washington state, New York, and New Jersey have been waging campaigns to reverse or delay the blue states’ bans because of coronavirus.

On Sunday, when I had access to daughter Chris’ car and could go to a grocery store a bit farther afield than the Kroger that is only a half-mile from my home (my van is not reliable and I go no further in it than I could walk home), I went to the Meijer store, a midwestern chain, hoping to find some of those rare items such as toilet paper and Clorox wipes that had been impossible to find at Kroger.  A sign on the door warned that re-usable bags were prohibited, but I entered anyway, figuring to argue the point when I got to the check out.  But a young manager stopped me almost before my posterior had cleared the automatic doors and informed me that I could not bring “those bags” into the store.  I rarely give away pieces of my mind, as I have so few left, but he got a rather large piece.  Enraged, I accused him of personally killing every fish in the ocean and also told him that the lives of his own grandchildren (he was only about 25) were on his shoulders, as he was ensuring they would die from lack of water to drink and air to breathe.  I then indignantly stormed out and returned to my own Kroger, hoping against all hope that they had not implemented a similar rule.  They hadn’t, but I was informed I would have to bag my own groceries, for they wouldn’t touch my bags.

Now, there are two things to argue here.  First of all, my bags are a few million times less likely to have any form of germ, let alone a corona-bug, on them than that can of peas you see in aisle #12, or even the tomatoes you picked up in produce.  My bags were wiped down with disinfecting wipes after their last use, and have resided in my locked van ever since.  They are sterile!  Every item in the store is germier than my bags!

The other thing, and the whole point of this post, is that the coronavirus pandemic is a short-term problem.  Yes, a very serious problem at this time, but nonetheless one with a limited lifespan.  Destruction of the environment is an ongoing problem that is shortening the hope for the continuation of life … any life … on earth every single day.  Just because we have a serious problem with this pandemic does not mean we can ignore all the other problems in the world!  The coronavirus has resulted in thousands of deaths and may even rise into the millions.  I’m not making light of that, but there are 7.8 billion human inhabitants on this planet, and exponentially more other life forms that rely on us turning around the damage that has been done over the past 150-200 years.  Plastics in all forms are part of that destruction, and single use plastic bottles and bags are one of the biggest culprits.

The re-usable bags aren’t the problem, but rather the excuse that is being used as the plastic industry seeks to profit from this human crisis.  Once again, We the People are being lied to and tricked, and I for one am damned sick and tired of it.  And for the record, I will never shop at Meijer again, nor any other store that attempts to force me to use their plastic bags!  Excuse me … I need to breathe now.

24 thoughts on “Profiting From A Crisis

  1. Pingback: Profit Over People | Filosofa's Word

  2. Refuse to use unreusable bags! Put your purchases in your grocery cart, take them outside, and fill your reusable bags as you put them in your vehicle, or if you are walking or busing, pack your bags outside. Don’t give in to stupidity. You are smarter than that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I shall, my friend! I will not be forced to further destroy this planet. I will take in a cardboard box if I have to, or … I wonder how they’d like me to bring in my laundry basket to carry my groceries home in? No, don’t worry … I’m not giving in to their greed and stupidity. I’m just about ready to start growing my own damn onions! Not sure they’ll allow me to raise chickens here in da hood, though.

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      • I wasn’t just talking to you, Jill, even though I know it sounds like it. I think that was Gronda’s problem, thinking I was talking directly to her.
        But I was actually offering ideas to everyone who shops at stores stupid enough to insist on killing the environment. Plastic is not going to help kill the corona virus, or any lethal bug. But it sure as hell will continue to kill wildlife everywhere around the earth. We cannot let capitalism run rampant. Someone has to be caretaker to the earth. I think that has to be us.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know you weren’t … but somebody has to be the first to protest, and it might as well be me! I was prepared to do that today, if I had needed to, but fortunately nobody batted an eye over my canvas bags. Yep, it has to be us, for the rest of the world are too ignorant or selfish to be bothered.

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  3. A Standing Ovation, which you can neither see nor hear, but I stand and applaud and cheer anyway! Needless to add but again, I shall anyway, I am in total agreement with this eloquent and factual post! The video is chilling and whilst difficult to watch, it must be seen. The fact remains, though sadly many lives will be lost, there will be life after this pandemic is either controlled or it subsides as others have done. Going backwards and increasing the use of plastic bags and one-time use plastics during this crisis is short sighted and a losing proposition for the environment and future generations in the long run.Thank-YOU!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why, thank you, ma’am … I shall take a bow! I was pretty sure you would agree with my stance on this one. I was so furious that the plastics industry and our government are lying to us, attempting to force us to further destroy the planet and the beauty of the land and seas. I’m so fed up with the greed of humankind.

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  4. The Earth was naturally balanced until man evolved. Until we are gone, it will remain a horror for all the other creatures and much of the plant life, as well.
    Much is going on under the table that is not good, as the virus occupies all the news. Man’s greed and selfishness never end. It’s a no win game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are 100% spot on, Mary. The ecosystems were in perfect balance until humans evolved. A failed experiment all the way around. We had to destroy nature to make ugly skyscrapers, factories, and housing projects, and now we are destroying it just so we can flit and fly in fancy machines that … nobody needs! I do think the day is coming when the human species extincts itself, and hopefully nature can restore the balance. Sigh.

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  5. Thank heavens the cashiers at our local grocers are a bit better informed….we take our reusable bags with us all the time. they still use plastic bags, but the bags are hidden under counters and they encourage the reusables or paper bags. Granted paper bags do not break down very well in local landfills, but give em ten years and they will. plastic? never.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the way your store does things!!! They should all be that way. Paper bags don’t kill fish, and they are far more environmentally-friendly. Once I got the hang of using the re-usables (like, remembering to take them!), I love them and absolutely hate the plastic ones. Thumbs up to your store! 👍👍

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  6. Simply outrageous and ridiculous. Human stupidity never ceases to amaze me. At the very least, they could have just had you bag your own, like Kroger’s did.
    We have become victims of our own fear, in this crisis, and have been reduced to the lowest common denominator of blank-minded panic.
    Although more single-use bags will be harmful to the environment, I understand that overall, the environment is benefiting from this crisis, due to less air and water pollution. So at least we have that silver lining.

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    • I fully agree. I am still, two days later, seething and I’ve written letters to the store manager and the corporate offices informing them why my family and I will be boycotting their stores. Next I’m thinking of writing a letter to the local newspaper. Thing is … far too many people just flat out don’t care. You’re right … people are in panic mode, going off half-cocked, more concerned for their personal safety, though they can easily enough practice exceptional hygiene and protect themselves in so doing, than the future of life on the planet. Yes, I’ve read that the air quality, with few planes in the sky and few cars on the roads, has improved, but we both know that as soon as the green light is given, that will all revert back to SNAFU. Sigh. If I have to return to earth at all, it will be as a wolf, not a human.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Can your businesses behave any differently? I think the logic behind the formation of the US of A is individual freedom (and companies have recently become persons) & taken to its extreme end it is to pursue those individual goals without regard for others or environment.

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  8. I have to say I sagree whole heartedly with you, Jill. But the sentence that really raised my ire was this: “Fourteen others, including Florida, have moved in the opposite direction, adopting laws to tie the hands of local officials.” In a nation that prides itself for limiting government interference, that takes the biscuit.
    The logic of those who claim that plastic bags are less likley to be contaminated than reuseable ones is flawed since the virus can survive on a plastic bag just as long as on the reuseable one – and who knows what happens to that bag once you dispose of it? I bet few of the IWF members will disinfect their plastic bags before chuckiing them in the trash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Frank! It sickens me that since Trump took office, the goal has blatantly been to rob from the poor and give to the rich. His total disregard for our environment, our very lives, disgusts me. What’s worse is that his followers are the same. I had one recently tell me that “God put everything on earth for our pleasure, and he will take care of everything”. Had I been face to face with her, I’d be in jail today! So much ignorance in this world, and it’s costing the lives of our future generations, not to mention all the beautiful, innocent critters that were here long before humans! Sigh. I’d like to wrap a few of those plastic bags over the heads of some of those IWF members and let them see how the fishies and turtles feel!

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  9. The current world is unsustainable due to us. It’s taken a virus to bring enforced change. This is our chance to make that stick long term. Unfortunately the likes of Trump are already bucking that trend. While he is in charge prolonged improvement in sustainable living is as likely as seeing his unedited tax returns.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, this is a chance to see just how much better off this planet is without planes and cars filling the atmosphere with carbon fumes. I hear it is already making a positive difference in the air quality in most places. But, you and I both know what will happen as soon as the green light comes back on. Sigh. Yes, Trump and his cronies in the big industries will be the death of us all … already I hear he is lowering emissions standards for cars, saying it will bring the cost of a car down. WHO CARES??? I’ll never buy another new car in this lifetime, and if I were to, I would not buy a U.S.-made car. Yeah, he’s as big a crook as any I’ve ever heard of, including Al Capone! Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautifully said.We owe a debt to the ocean for the fish it provides to feed so many people,But the fish are dying from the pollution we cause and eventually will end up poisoning mankind. We have managed to pollute the dry surfaces of the planet and are doing the same to the wet areas.It’s rubbish to say our own bags will carry this virus and the next one when they are wiped down with some form of disinfectant every time they’re used. It’s an irresponsible and deliberate lie by the makers and users of plastic bags to continue with that myth.Store operators save money if they don’t have to buy and supply plastic bags so it’s in their interest to stop using them. A boycott of any stores that bans the use of own bagss would be in order here.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, David! Indeed, humans seem to manage to pollute whatever they touch. My fear is that the plastic industry will have their way, our re-usable bags will be banned from all stores within a matter of weeks, and even long after the threat of the coronavirus is but a memory, we’ll still be forced to use their horrid bags. I’m inclined to go with rawgod’s idea, if it comes to that. I’m so sick of the greed that is costing us all our very life, not to mention the lives of the creatures that were on this planet long before we were. I am definitely boycotting Meijer, and I wrote a letter to both the local store manager and the corporate headquarters to let them know and to tell them why. Next I’m considering a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. Overkill? Yeah, maybe, but … this is just so important.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

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