Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bagging Ecological Concern by Phil Goodstein - September, 2013

 From the time of the emergence of the modern ecology movement in 1970, basic differences have divided those who claim they are working to save the earth. Some have probed causes, especially a devastating economic system which plunders everything and everybody in the name of making a profit; others have attributed ecological filth to individuals. The use of disposable bottles and diapers by everyday people, their failure to recycle, and lack of individual initiative, the latter have loudly argued, is why environmental threats are as severe today as when friends of the earth celebrated the first Earth Day 43 years ago.
Those who blame individuals for environmental degradation never see or learn anything. So it is with their campaign against plastic bags in stores. Supposedly, banning or charging for them will reverse waste. Unstated is that such bags emerged after the ecology movement was in full blast. Groceries and other merchants found them cheaper and more efficient than traditional paper bags. At one point, conservationists agreed, bemoaning the destruction of forests for paper bags.
The focus on plastic bags has no larger dimension. It says nothing about the way corporate domination has been unchecked. Not surprisingly, those crusading against plastic bags, led by veteran Democratic Party hack Debbie Ortega, make no mention of the ever worse threats to the land linked with the endless extraction of petroleum resources. The Democratic General Assembly, backed by the establishment environmentalist organizations, had a chance to do something about this when it convened last January. The solons failed to act, especially in redressing fracking.
Nobody has been more opposed to powerful regulation to check the environmentalist damages wrought by oil companies than media darling John Hickenlooper, a man stemming from the petro-leum industry. The governor has also been silent about Colorado Department of Transportation plans to vastly expand Interstate 70 through the heart of Denver, complete with toll lanes operated by a private concern. But raising such points and actually fighting severe, immediate threats to the environment is heresy. Groups such as the Sierra Club have been so dedicated to the Democrats that they never reflect on larger issues. Instead, condemning people who do not recycle or prefer plastic bags is at the heart of their operations as they provide as noxious a smoke screen for a filthy system as anything produced by the worst of corporate polluters.


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