Sunday, September 11, 2011

Earth, air, sea, life and plastic bags

aTriFf

The plastic bag is a thing of this world. A derivative of petroleum or natural gas, the plastic bag is a close relative of other esteemed domestic household objects: the salad bowl, the cheap kitchen clock, the asthma inhaler-device, the computer chassis, the CD we listen to. It figures as a part of our Teflon coated pans, the acrylic paint on our walls; as alloy to wind-resistant windows, even corn starch.

Every day millions of plastic bags are carried out of our malls and supermarkets. They wind up everywhere, peppering park's greenery, polluting the streets. A dense layer of flotsam (choking marine life) and jetsam (drifting to shore) dirtying our beaches.

Innocuous container or recalcitrant matter?

In his essay "Plastic Materialities," Gary Hawkins explores how things have the power to capture us in new relations. His idea is to show a less obvious perspective of the thing. In American Beauty, Ricky, the aspiring film maker and pot-head, is obsessed with beauty. He videotapes a plastic bag as it floats, to-and-fro, at the mercy of the wind. Ricky's video shows the thing-power, a "depth from which objects rise up towards our superficial knowledge."* Here's Ricky's narration:
It's one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing. And there is electricity in the air, you can almost hear it right? And this bag was just... dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That's the day I realized there was this entire life behind things, and this incredible benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever... Video's a poor excuse. I know. But it helps me remember. (PM,  p. 135)
One can think of other examples, such as this, where the plastic bag becomes a "chair-bag."

Ryan Frank, Plastic Bag Chair, 2008.


Frank re-presents the material, but the plastic bag's form becomes aestheticized, subsumed, concealed.    

Shipwrecked: My Life for a Bag, 2010.

British artist Claudia Borgna, above, presents the plastic bag as an organized society of ready-mades. The bags stick together as a kind of ghostly soul-buddies. Is this a real accumulation of thing-power?

What is thing-power
Thing power is a kind of agency, it is the property of an assemblage. Thing-power materialism is a (necessarily speculative) onto-theory that presumes matter has an inclination to make connections and form networks with varying degrees of stability. Here, then, is an affinity between thing-power materialism and ecological thinking: both advocate and the cultivation of an enhanced sense of the extent to which all things are spun together in a dense web, and both warn of the self-destructive character of human actions that are reckless with regard to other nodes of the web.(PM, p. 135)
I'd like to read Bennet's thing-power with Shvetashvatara's holistic glasses. The old Hindu sage would agree that all things "are spun together in a dense web". But "the self-destructive character of human actions" is as much part of the web as the rest. If the living and the non-living are connected, then creation and destruction become connective possibilities.

Shvetashvatara is not afraid to talk thing-power from the bottom up:
You are a woman, you are a man, you are a boy; also a girl. As an old man you totter along with a walking stick. As you are born you turn your face in every direction. You are the dark blue bird, the green one with red eyes, the rain-cloud, the seasons, and the oceans. (...) You live as one without a beginning because of your pervasiveness, you, whom all beings have been born. (Shvetashvatara Upanishads, 4.2-4.4)
In a perverse geological sense, we are walking plastic bags!

If ecology is going to address living and non-living, then clouds, air, trees, earth, sand, proteins, viruses, humans, plastic bags are all part of the whole. What's the point of differentiating when everything is (a part of) Brahman?**

We cannot think outside the whole. There is a democracy of creation and destruction everywhere. If we destroy ourselves that's inside the whole. Only by facing this predicament we can understand how to deal with our mounting ecological problems.

On the other hand, this sea turtle is out of the loop.*** Though part of a network that includes sun, sand, sea, predators, plastic bags, etc, it cannot fathom the subtleties and contradictions of thing-power. We have to find new ways to deal with our living/non living dichotomy.

Is it really about them or about us?


___________
* Jane Bennet, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, (Duke University, 2010) p. 2. ** Brahman doesn't have to be God. Just the totality of all things put together. *** Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation. Marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles can become entangled in the bags, and sea turtles can mistake them for food such as jellyfish, then die from starvation resulting from intestinal blockage.

47 comments:

Reniel Castaneira said...

While walking down the street, I once came across to a sign that read “we do not inherit earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our future”. This becomes more obvious when we start thinking about problems such as the ones involved with plastic bags. It is certain plastic bags have become ubiquitous and very useful in our everyday life. However, they pose serious consequences to life, and the world we live in. The destination of a plastic bag affects us all in some way or another. People should become more aware of the effects of plastic bags in our environment, and to wild life. Only when we become more conscious about it, we will make better decisions. I propose the use of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Recombinant DNA technology to deal with the situation. Instead of using expensive petroleum to make bags that will take years to degrade, bacteria can be used to make natural plastics that will be easily broken down by other bacteria in a shorter period of time. In their book, “Biology”, Neil A. Campbell and Jane B. Reece discuss some properties of bacteria to meet this purpose. Some bacteria synthesize a polyester known as PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) which they use to store chemical energy. The PHA they produce when fed sugars derived from corn can be extracted to make durable and biodegradable plastics. Bacteria can also be genetically engineered to transfer the “plastic genes” to other bacteria in order for the plastic to be mass produced. A plastic bag made from this material will certainly degrade before it can choke wild animals and pollute our water supplies.

Feminista said...

Triff: I have my eco-bag and use it for my shopping. No to plastic. Yes to paper. By the way, thanks for bringing up Jane Bennet. I'll look her up.

Anonymous said...

The plastic bag dispute has been a long and problematical debate. The effect it has on our environment vs. cost efficiency is an overused subject too often talked about and not enough solving the situation. Production for plastic bags is massive and cheap to produce and in turn, plastic bags can often be re-used for books and other materials. Yet, more than half of plastic bags produced today end up littering and flooding our environment, clogging earth’s resources. I think we should care for other life beings in this world because without them we would not exist nor survive. Other life sources help balance us and keep the ecosystem in check. Frankly, many corporate companies that produce plastic bags fail to see this or simply ignore the situation. Environmental laws are not strictly enforced, if at all. If this trend continues than we would fail in our part to also help keep the balance in this world. It would be a domino effect as most things are but for a catastrophic purpose. We all have our parts to play and while human life is vastly important I think animal and plant life are as equally important and should be treated as such.

Anthony DeCollibus

TheStorian said...

Plastic - many people use this material, a synthetic material that indeed is useful and sometimes attractive. Grocery store can be one example. However, after leaving the grocery store, or after placing your purchased items in their preferred place, are the plastic bags still useful? To some it may be recycled, but to most the plastic bags are dumped out to the land and soon after make their way to the beaches.

Why dump it out? (Human 1)
It's just plastic. (Human 2)

Well, that same plastic can hurt marine animals which most land animals and even humans depend on. This, then contravenes the food chain.

I don't want to go much in detail, but the whole point that I'm trying to show is that:

Yes, it's plastic - now - but can cause long-term risks not just to animals but to our lives.

geovis18 said...
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geovis18 said...

Topics of plastic bags drive me directly to supermarkets. I have to recognize that I am one of the persons that does not care too much about it, but supermarkets do not help us neither; each time that I go there, they give me a lot of bags for the things that I buy, sometimes they only put one thing in each bag or they give two bags for the same things, so when I get home I don’t have where to put it; I keep some of them and the other ones go to trash.
I am not able to tell people about stop doing it because I do not even do; However, I want a better world without pollution and the other consequences of the plastic bags, so I will become aware and I will make the possible to change my mind because I want to lead by example and leave something good for my future generations.
GEOVANA VAZQUEZ

niggi stardust said...

According to Turtle Trax, "Plastic resembles food closely enough to fool even a mature turtle. Ingested plastic is not only toxic, it also obstructs the stomach and prevents the turtle from receiving nutrition from real food. This can often lead to a lingering death." It may seem odd to think that plastic bags resemble food, but keep in mind that sea turtles eat jellyfish, and a plastic bag floating in the ocean looks just like a jellyfish.



ITS SO SIMPLE..bring your own cloth bag when you go shopping, it is reusable more fashionable, and most importantly KILLS no living creatures!

Leatherback turtles have been around for 100 million years, but if changes are not made for these they will be extinct in no time!
and its not just our turtle friends we need to be worried about other ocean dwellers,such as dolphins and sea lions have also been found with stomachs full of plastic bags!

-domenica sorrentino

Gerald said...
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Alex said...

This is a very interesting topic on pollution. This waste that pollutes the sea, land, air. All from human use and disuse of items to where it would be thrown away to get it out of our way. We really don't know the huge impact we have on this earth. The scene from American Beauty can be related to show that we are part of Brahman, and that there's life behind nonliving things. He said the video is a poor excuse, but he needs to remember, which I think we should all remember. In a sense, if we are part of Brahman and we are polluting the beautiful bubble we call Earth, aren't we blindly polluting ourselves and dissolving this intricate "thing-power" web described on the post? I loved the video from ITVS on the Plastic Bag because it really documents the life of a plastic bag. It's a great perspective to understand the impact of waste, and to encourage positive choices to save the planet.

Alex Molina

Gerald said...

No matter if it is referred to as Brahman, nature, or the divine; western religious thought separates mankind from it on a fundamental level. Instead of being empowered by one’s belonging with existence, one is disempowered and at the mercy of the gods. At the same time it sets humans up as stewards over the world instead of active participants, divorcing them from responsibility. Whatever the master does is correct. One cannot perceive of harming nature if they do not see the exterior world as part of themselves. This does point to another ponderable: As humanity is part of nature (Brahman, reality, etc.), are any of its acts or creations unnatural? If Brahman is all, then so too are plastic bags, nuclear bombs, and financial fraud. Perhaps the real issue has to do with Brahmacarya. Items like plastic offer convenience, and what is convenience if not pleasure? It takes the work out of work. Over indulgence, however, leads to the absurd. Purchase a plastic bottle of water and receive a plastic bag. Once the water is finished, the bottle is placed in the bag and then placed in a plastic garbage bag. That goes into a plastic garbage can to be picked up at a later date which is whisked away to an unseen land where someone will take care of it. No need to think about it, says convenience, it’s all so easy. Self-destructive is too limiting of a term, especially since the harm caused involves much more than just the human race. What if instead humanity is proving itself not worth of existence? One final thing; don’t worry about the earth (or Brahman, or nature). It will go on just fine without us, probably better. We cannot kill it off, but we can kill ourselves off.
Gerald Learnard

swampthing said...

The turtle does not romanticize, why should we. The problem with polymers is in our lusting blunder. Their tangled traits are sufficiently suffocating to arouse alarm with logic slow as molasses. The lowly turtle move faster than plastic degrades, but appetites overwhelm a trajectory of tragedy.

Anonymous said...

I've been bothered by people littering for years, noticing every detail of their ignorance towards waste and excess. I've come the conclusion that there is no big rocket science behind it, other than, in my opinion: Ignorance, selfishness and laziness. This concern however, leads me to other questions, falling in the same category. Why are you are NOT walking to the store that is 100 feet away? Its, 2011, why are you NOT recyling? Lacking care of anything other then our own issues is a big contributor to this attitude. The thinking of one person NOT changing a thing, quickly multiplies in the thousands and eventually millions with the same thinking patterns, and starts the crumbling effect of our environment being overwhelmed with "excess" beyond reasonable expectation.

Anonymous said...

We have become such a careless society!! We polite this planet that doesn't even belong to us. There is no other reason for this than the demand for better lifestyles. As a whole society we have become addicted to material things. Most people are oblivious to what they are doing to our mother earth. I believe there should be more awareness about pollutants. All people should be inform about this pandemic, not only developed countries. I always wonder to myself what will happened to the human race. Either we clean up our home and create awareness, or the human race will be doomed. - zabdi Rodriguez. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXfZAiYXxPo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Romell McLeod said...

"Earth, air, sea, life and plastic bags","all part of the whole, and everything part of Brahman." Everything floats in that universal cycle of creation and destruction. Many things in the whole are recalcitrant, but the only part with any degree of control is mankind. We alone possess the ability to appreciate a role of responsibility within the continuum of life.

Laura Vargas said...

Unfortunately, this planet has been exclusively for the human species. There has never been a serious collective concern for the live and conservation of living organism, or in this case for inert plastic bags. Earth has been used, and reused to supply us of our needs, and if that means total destruction of the place, so be it. Nobody really thinks about what happens in the post part of the supplying-of-our-needs cycle. And that is exactly the problem. As a society we don't care about the life cycles that make up the world. We don't even respect the human life cycle for that matter.
But since for better or for worse, we are part of the same whole we must be preoccupied of ALL the parts. Plastic bags included.
This is an ideal that seems utopian for this generation, but until every object living and non-living is accounted and taken care of, we will all continue to disregard basic aspects of the life of our planet.

Oceanna Dawn said...

I feel that every person in America should take a trip to a local dump. If you have a child or friends or family that have not been to a dump please take them. It is so easy for most people to throw things in the trash can, never to be seen again. The ocean has become a dump for the world and you can see that just by taking a walk on the beach in miami. roughly 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of the oceans, according to a 2006 report from the United Nations Environment Programme. There is a floating trash pile twice the size of texas 1000 miles off the California coast. Every major city has a large dump and it is an educational experience to see how much waste is produced. I believe people will reuse and recycle more if they see with there own eyes a large city dump. If you live in a building write a letter to the association or just have a conversation with the building manager about recycling. Let them know that if there was a place to put recycling that you would take the extra time to separate and carry your recycling down the hall to that place. Every change starts with intention.

Andrew McLaughen said...

Damn, I wish this subject was a little vaguer because most of the people commenting took the words right out of my mouth. Well, out of my computer. So instead of reinstating what others have said, I mind as well try to say why I feel this “plastic bag apocalypse” is happening. Plastic bags pollution is probably a form of pollution that affects us the least. We don’t have much interaction or even much connection with the animals being killed by this pollution. If these animals died out our lives would probably continue as they were, like the death of the Maderian Large White Butterfly, which died due to pollution in 2007, or Pyrenean Ibex, which was hunted to extinction in 2000. Bet you didn’t even know existence of these species let alone their extinction and yet your life remains the same. I’m also not to convinced, along with the producers of the plastic bags, that plastic bags have the potential of killing off an entire species. But, is producing a product that causes unnecessary harm to anything wrong? Of course. I just had to ask and answer that painfully obvious question to make myself not look like an uncaring jerk. I really liked Reniel Castaneria’s mention of the use of degradable plastic and this is a fantastic way of dealing with this fiasco. There is a problem though: unless it’s cost affective, a company will not change its ways out of sheer guilt. If this biodegradable plastic is more costing then regular plastic the board of directors of these companies will offer you there condolences and allow the security to escort you to the exit. These changes usually have to be forced on the companies by the government ruling over them, however most of the time nothing is ever done. Governments usually drag their feet or simply ignore threats to humans’ health and livelihoods, so the expectations of a government taking a turtle’s life legitimately seriously seems to be just a faraway dream. So yeah, sucks.

Adrienne Jackson said...

Not even speaking from a philosophical standpoint, it's just plain common sense that we need to cut back/eliminate the usage of plastic bags. As Americans we're so used to having everything at our convenience that we just throw them away without a second thought, or we just dump them in the street. We never seem to think "where is this bag going to end up?" or "how is this going to affect the planet and/or wildlife?" Unfortunately, we never seem to think of those poor little sea turtles until we see a picture splayed across our computer screen with some type of plastic trash in their mouth or around their neck. Then we vow to recycle more or use paper even though it barely lasts for more than a week. But maybe if everyone did look at it from a philosophical standpoint such as we are all Brahman we might have second thoughts before using plastic bags. If everyone thought of it as "I'm a part of Brahmnan and when I kill the sea turtles I'm killing myself and God" then maybe we'd have a much more healthy planet.

Vanessa Vergara said...

If Jiva is any living being, how could something synthetic and inorganic even be considered Jiva? It was a hard concept for me to grasp, or even think about. I also wondered how this concept would help us with the ever worsening environmental conditions. The truth is, we are more like that plastic bag then we want to admit. We too drift around searching for answers, purpose, and whatever happiness we can find. The video seemed silly to me at first, but this interesting from of personification gave me a new perspective on our relationship to man-made materials and nature itself.

A more specific definition of Jiva states that it is anything “immutable, eternal, numberless and indestructible,” much like the bag that laments “I wish you had created me so that I could die” once it finally reached the vortex. Similar (in concept) to the spiritual aspect of our existence, plastic is comprised of durable molecular bonds that make it extremely resistant and difficult to degrade. Once we understand that we are not too different, making more eco-conscious choices can becomes less laborious and more about saving ourselves and those around us.

Christian Pain said...

I love turtles. Well, I like turtles. Actually, I don't think much of turtles. But seeing one eating a plastic bag makes me, empirically, love turtles. I mean, the poor thing is eating plastic. the flavor isn't great, I'm sure of it. Otherwise, they would serve it in restaurants.

What makes my head explode is how people can look at these sort of pictures and have the same reaction that, shamefully, I used to have years ago: It happens. It happens????? I condemn my past self for thinking that way. These things, sure, they happen, but they are not inevitable, imminent things. Who gives a F&CK about the plastic bags? Well the majority of that demographic are actually turtles. And that is sad. More of us should, like I read on a different post, use paper bags! Forget the plastic bags! They are treacherous anyways. They carry your items, all nicely and polite, and then POW! They brake, sending your groceries into a hell they surely prayed to avoid. Anyways, use paper bags. Use them until the problem is lack of trees. Then, maybe plastic bags will be the environmentally friendly things to use. But until then, paper is the way.

And if the picture of the hungry turtle doesn't even feather the thought of paper bags into your cranium, well, then you should eat a delicious, vegetarian, plastic pottage. See how it goes, turtle hater.


Christian Pain

Vanessa Quiroz said...

To many a plastic bag is just that,a bag made of plastic. It is rarely seen anyone giving a plastic bag true meaning.This material objec is often seen as a lifeless and meaningless but there are people who see These objects for more than their material purpose.There is jiva in all,material and non material. We live in a world where we preach open mindness but we do not practice it. Jiva is in all things, one must open their eyes,and their mind, to a deeper purpose to everything they see. see the problem of the human race, in my opinion, is that we hold too much ignorance. Not only to ourselves but to our surroundings as well. We are destroying our Earth by our own actions and we don't realize it yet. Ignorance is NOT bliss like the famous quote says. This applies to the dilema of plastic bag. We simple see it as a bag and because of this ignorance we are polluting our earth. We must open our eyes to see Jiva in ALL things.

tim smith said...

the concept of thing power is new to me but im also very intrigued by it. im not even sure what to make of it or how to go about describing it. however, the way it was described in relation to the scene in "american beauty" does give me some sort of idea. the argument of thing power is kind of between physics and philosophy. both disciplines are needed to start going about the task of understanding thing power. i do not know if it is the things themselves that make me notice that they exist, or if it is my mind that makes the first move and decides that these things exist. but i think that the truth to thing power is hidden somewhere in that argument. i know what i just wrote is a lil bit convoluted but this is that kind of argument i think. something else that i found interesting was what was said about plastic bags. what a wonderful and poignant example to try and explain thing power. whether things have power or it is just a figment of our imaginations one thing that is sure is that plastic bags will be around for much longer that any human being ever was. they may have never been alive but they will exist in a stable form for many thousands of years. usually when we speak of the creations of man that will last for thousands of years, we are speaking of large monuments, statues, things made with stone etc. however, plastics may outlast them all. which is odd because an individual item made from plastic, like the bag, is only used for a hot second on the time scale of thousands of years.

BlahBlah2009 said...

http://www.rnw.nl/english/radioshow/plastic-fantastic-0

This was the article brought up by Alex, the podcast is a mild scroll down.

Anonymous said...

Plastic bags, plastic bags, plastic bags ! I don't think they'll never get ride of it. Paper or plastic ? That Debate been going on for awhile now and yet many still choose plastic bags. Go to most store and the first thing they quick to give you is a plastic bag, they probably give you a paper if you purchase is small but rarely. There are plenty of facts that plastic bags are bad for the environment then again most of the everything in/make the world is somehow bad for the environment. Examples ; gas, factories, electricity, etc. But wee need all of them, without them we wouldn't have anything. Unlike the people in the other countries who doesn't have none of them. Haiti for instance, you see how they don't want plastic bags in the USA, in Haiti it's a really useful thing. When you go purchase something, you have to bring your own bag or you have to buy one, that's money that getting waste because those bags cannot carry anything that's heavy, they get tear up real easily. My mom used to come from her job with a bunch of plastic bags to send to Haiti and they very helpful. People in The USA doesn't give it any importance other than it's bad but in some other places they wish they have it instead of spending money to get one every time they make a purchase. I Personally cannot stand paper bags, they feeling of it in my hands irritates me just like turning the pages of a newspaper, I do not know why but it does. Anyway, plastic bags being good or bad, people going to still use it. So I think we should focus on other things other than that.

Lava Arms said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lava Arms said...

"So long as one retains one's sword, one has not attained complete fearlessness."

Fear is the mother of all business. So long as people are afraid, they will consume and consume until there is nothing left to fear. The fear of not having water has led us to water canals and irrigation. Fear of not having food has lead to mass agriculture, mass slaughter of animals for meat. Fear of the dark has led us to electricity. Can we blame ourselves for being born into a world ridden with fear? Why can't we just let go and start over? It is much too difficult. How can we possibly live with out the internet? Fear of losing such conveniences is what keeps us in the same losing race that ends with our ultimate downfall. Everyone is absolutely horrified, and because of this, we are swimming in our own waste, and the ones with power live in fear of losing it. No one wins.

We, as civilized men, shit in glass pots and waste cubic tons of water just dealing with our own fecal matter. When was the last time you shat in the woods? The trees would see you as a better man, and thank you for spreading her seeds.

-Pedro

Victor Pedrosa said...

Obviously, the excessive use of plastic bags along with extremely poor care of them results in big problems. Unfortunately, the person that throws a plastic bag on the floor does not get affected by it directly.
The common shopper is not even aware of articles and blogs like this one. They are blind to the truth due to innocence. Some may call it ignorance, or just simply not caring.
The truth is that we are so caught up in our everyday routine and responsibilities that we do not take the time to think about the consequences of our actions. Unless it affects us directly and immediately, the consequences of our actions and attitudes are not completely thought out.
A solution to this problem would be to continue to spread the word and hope that it will deliver the message.

Guerlain Rodriguez TR9:50am said...

I think it is extremely unfortunate that us humans, Americans to be more exact are so wasteful of resources and unconcerned with the environment. To think our garbage is the cause of deaths the sea turtles and marine life really saddens me. I have to admit that I do not recycle as much as I should, but after reading this article I will staring bringing my own cloth shopping bag when I go shopping, it is 'reusable fashionable". I think the reuse of plastic and other items is also a good idea, like the chair!

Johanna Meneses said...

My take on this subject is that unfortunately someone has to always pay the price for our comfort. With every step we take forward into the future we put ourselves and others in danger. I believe the problem is that our main desire is to always stay in the comfort zone and that is a major problem in today’s society. It keeps you from reaching your maximum potential, limits your world view and pretty much handicaps you in every possible way. People don’t like to be inconvenienced with anything so they usually pick the easiest way out of things. They say that honesty is the best policy ,but I know that’s not true, people love to be lied to! Being a person that thinks takes work and responsibility. If you don’t know something then technically you are not held responsible for it. However, you have no excuse when you know. People see their world as their things, their families and their work environment, ect… But they must be blind because as they care about “their” material things and direct people around them they should also see and care about hungry dog in the street, their paper cups about to float into the water, and their plastic choking and killing other living beings. Don’t they care about their things? The only time something gets done is when the problem arrives at their doorstep. So if people stop being so damn lazy, stop playing the dumb card and maybe would see past their tiny pathetic world then maybe we would be able to solve some real world issues. It’s nice that we find ways to be environmental friendly, however, the bigger impact is to actually care about something other than yourself.

David Perez said...

Reading this post reminded me so much of a video that I happened to see on youtube. "The Majestic Plastic Bag - The Mockumentary" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLgh9h2ePYw)

Its sickens me to see that we humans are depleting such a wonderful, beautiful creature like the sea turtles. As human beings we are constantly looking for ways to make things easier and make this faster and better and many times we tend to overlook or ignore what harm we are going to cause to the environment. We throw out so many things and we continue to pollute the world in which we live in. If only everyone could view the world in the perspective of Brahman and realize that if we continue to use products that dont disintegrate, and we dont recycle and dont do things to help nature that we are only polluting ourselves in the end. The plastic bag is not making our lives any easier. The plastic bag in a way is maya. Its deceiving us in to thinking its extremely useful when in reality its destroying our environment. Currently there is over millions of plastic garbage just circulating in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Clearly its time for a change.

-David Perez

tatiana p. said...

Plastic is materialized doom for wildlife - fatal for animals such as the sea turtle as mentioned in this blog. Polluting facts such as this one aren't really unnoted by many Americans however the connection to galvanize is. An incident this weekend brought this topic into personal experience; my father brought home a number of balls for my dog, being busy I failed to notice that a number of these were plastic. About an hour later my dog begins wheeze and is struggling to cough up an object of obstruction. Amidst this moment of panic I spot the plastic red ball more than half of it missing, instantly I know the culprit of my dog's chocking, plastic. Just like the sea turtle my dog would have died from plastic consumption - we rushed him to the vet. Nonetheless unlike the sea turtle dogs have deeper connections to humans that make their safety of higher priority. I just know that if the same harm was being done by plastic to our very much loved domesticated pets the outrage and advocation for change would be much widespread. But it seems that for many humans as long as devastation isn't experienced first hand we are able to just continue disregarding the causes and live without any sort of guilt for the man made destruction affecting our earth and its other inhabitants.

Llompart said...

It is safe to assume that we are all interconnected on this planet, the Earth being the one common factor that everything shares with each other. We all essentially come from the same elements. Now that brings us to the question of whether we have a responsibility to behave a certain way in this planet, i.e. conservation of nature. As rational human beings, if we are aware of something that causes harm to our environment should we not strive to prevent it. If not ethically motivated, the utility of it should be motivation enough. Most can agree on this, now what is it that prevents us from acting in a way that benefits the greater good? The answer is the relationship between scarcity and our desire to consume more. It is no secret that plastic is around because it is useful and cheap and to us in general, the utility now and cost effectiveness now outweighs the long run benefits and costs of not using plastic for so many things. Where the dilemma comes for me is this, if it is hard wired in our DNA to consume more and create more, and we're good at it, then perhaps aren't we ourselves an agent of the Earth's own destruction and renewal process? Are we like forest fires that destroy the dry brush in summer, brought about by the extremely efficient system of evolution and planetary extinctions that have shaped the Earth for billions of years? Just a thought that occurred, I'd like to hear what someone else thinks about this.

Llompart said...

It is safe to assume that we are all interconnected on this planet, the Earth being the one common factor that everything shares with each other. We all essentially come from the same elements. Now that brings us to the question of whether we have a responsibility to behave a certain way in this planet, i.e. conservation of nature. As rational human beings, if we are aware of something that causes harm to our environment should we not strive to prevent it. If not ethically motivated, the utility of it should be motivation enough. Most can agree on this, now what is it that prevents us from acting in a way that benefits the greater good? The answer is the relationship between scarcity and our desire to consume more. It is no secret that plastic is around because it is useful and cheap and to us in general, the utility now and cost effectiveness now outweighs the long run benefits and costs of not using plastic for so many things. Where the dilemma comes for me is this, if it is hard wired in our DNA to consume more and create more, and we're good at it, then perhaps aren't we ourselves an agent of the Earth's own destruction and renewal process? Are we like forest fires that destroy the dry brush in summer, brought about by the extremely efficient system of evolution and planetary extinctions that have shaped the Earth for billions of years? Just a thought that occurred, I'd like to hear what someone else thinks about this.

A.T. said...

Where the dilemma comes for me is this, if it is hard wired in our DNA to consume more and create more, and we're good at it, then perhaps aren't we ourselves an agent of the Earth's own destruction and renewal process?

Maya's unraveling!

Llompart said...

Triff I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar, what is Maya's Unraveling?

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