Letter To The Editor: Foul On Plastic Bags

By JOHN GONZALES
Los Alamos
 
What the Environmental Sustainability Board is trying to do with this plastic bag ban (green initiative) is to do the right thing as an entity for the collective good of the people.
 
This means to reduce, reuse, and recycle through the use of greener products (and concepts i.e. plastic bags) etc., will reduce the amount of waste we make (and impact we have on the environment) and is necessary for a better tomorrow for Los Alamos and the world.
 
But, when they do this they seek to have community involvement, and they got quite what they did not expect with this community. We have “fouls” being called. We’ve got people holding to the idea of “consumer choice”, “convenience”, and “ease of use.” These are all the labels for not wanting to change and do the right thing.
 
Consumerism is eating planet earth of house and home. There’s a lot of statistics out there,…you know about how 80% of the Nation’s consumptive water use is consumed, 45 percent of all land in the U.S. is used for agriculture, etc.,
 
American consumerism could be labeled glutinous. A lack of willingness to use cloth grocery sacks instead of plastic bags could 
be labelled as laziness. Self-justification could be labelled as “consumer choice” in the name of “not doing the right thing.” 
 
Instead the 60 percent or so of Los Alamos residents who don’t want to be “forced” to to the right thing, justify themselves to do the “wrong thing.”
 
It’s a fact that in the U.S. we have manufactured and used more plastic grocery bags in the last 10 years, than we used in all of the last century. Now I could go on about all the damage it does to the environment; that 8 percent of all petroleum is used for the manufacture of plastic bags, about the persistence of plastic in the environment..etc,..etc,..
 
But the fact is that the United States kind of takes the lead in the world and here we’re not leading, we’re just justifying. 
 
Subsequently the United States is also leading (or pretty high up there) the world in the consumerism of meat. So we’re running out of agricultural lands to support the consumption of meat that the new population is requiring. Keep in mind that meat is a luxury item. Plastics, a convenience item.
 
In the very near future it is going to be a fact undeniable that we are going to have to adjust things…the way we eat, the way we 
shop, and the way we live. And, if Los Alamos cannot agree on doing the right thing with respect to a simple plastic bag, then humans are doomed as a species and so is the planet.
 
And to naysayers and holders of half-truths…you wouldn’t know the truth of the matter if it can up and bit you on the rear. Everybody who wants to keep using plastic bags, your’re in the dark. You are destroying the planet. 
 
Just use the plastic for the produce, but use cloth bags for the groceries. And in addition to that, recycle those fewer bags that you do get from produce. Easy solution. No consternation, argumentation, justification, or the calling of a “foul.” So clinging are we to our ways of justification and convenience in American Consumerism that we are blinded to be able to do the “Right Thing.”
 
To those who are clinging, I say, open your eyes, and see.
 
Los Alamos was conceived and established with a revolutionary idea. Los Alamos is home to an idea that changed the world. What have we done lately? Lots. But, banning plastic grocery bags, can be a beginning to change the world again, for the better. This time to change the world again. Come on Los Alamos, take the lead. Banning plasic bags has immediate and real effect. So justified are we with consumerism that we fail to see Mother Nature having a need. If she could talk she’d say, “uh, yeah, use the cloth bags, you know?” When told differently we’re still set in our ways and don’t want to change. This is why there is violence in the world…it’s the same thing. If you wanted to ascribe a label to the notion then you could call it the “seven deadly sins.”
 
If folks are so called “religious” and believe in the life “here-after,” or do believe in the notion of doing good unto others (Golden Rule), then the failure of the ban is the failure of the rule. As I understand it, the majority of Los Alamos residents are against the proposal and doing the switch from plastic to cloth and paper. To do it is the simplest thing. Let’s all keep in mind that there are much more complicated issues in the world. For this majority of people who don’t want to change (or Evolve) our plastic bag situation, it makes me wonder how much more offended they’d become, when driving down the street, and getting cut off by another driver. Or being told to do the “right things” with respect to Mother Nature in other things. This is the same thing. 
 
The argument could be made that in doing “little things” well, you’re going to do “larger things” well, as well. So, in the smallest of things, if we mess up, then in the larger things, we are going to mess up as well. So the plastic bag issue is the same thing.
 
When Oppenheimer uttered the first words out of his mouth after Trinity; “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” it applies as well to plastic bags. Now, of course, Oppy got his Q Clearance removed, was ridiculed horribly, and had to deal with all sorts of difficulty because of his views. So, if you want to look down upon me for imploring that plastic bags be banned, and saying “recycle, 
reduce, and reuse,” and in addition to that; use cloth grocery bags, then so be it. I happily join the “Moral Minority.”   
 
The “Moral Minority.” Hey, why don’t you join us? Let’s get the majority of folks who reject banning plastic bags down to 49 percent. 
 
This is something we can do right now in the real and present time to do the right thing; to “reduce, reuse, and to recycle,” to save a little bit on waste and it’s a beginning, it’s a minor thing. And if we cannot (or will not) do the “right thing” in a little minor thing, then what are we going to do when it comes to bigger things? 
 
You know?
CSTsiteisloaded