Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Bounty in "BAG IT!" ~ Part 1

With it being summer, I'm catching up on podcasts via TeacherCast.Net, TED Talks I have missed, documentaries on Netflix that I've been stockpiling, and perhaps a soap opera or two. Through it all, I see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.   Especially when it comes to environmental issues.   Namely: Plastics.

Just ask Mr. McGuire from 1967's "The Graduate"...

..or ask author Norman Mailer, who was quoted in 1983 with saying:
“I sometimes think that there is a malign force loose in the universe that is the social equivalent of cancer, and it’s plastic. It infiltrates everything. It’s metastasis. It gets into every single pore of productive life.”
Both commentaries were before--well before--today, where we have...
  • Giant vortexes of plastic trash swirling about in every one of our planet's oceans;
  • Generations of sea creatures eating plastic bits called nurdles which make their way up our marine food chain, all the way to our plates;
  • The threat of the toxic, endocrine disruptor BPA (bisphenol A) in everything from former baby bottles, to plastic toys, to canned food linings, to containers that fill our house, and more;
  • Petroleum is a non-renewable resource, where there are shortages globally--yet we continue to use that petroleum to create a wasteful, disposable, throw away society filled with more and more plastics;
  • The disillusion that "Yay! We are recycling!" yet still today, many plastic trash gets burned or dumped elsewhere upon recycling, causing us to continue our plastic waste use, continuing the cycle.
Bag ItCan you tell I'm not pro-plastics?! (Not a surprise to anyone who has been following GTG.)

One of my "favorite" viewing finds (in a disturbingly eye-opening sort of way) is the documentary BAG IT!  Interestingly, it's not new to me, as I wrote about it nearly 2 years ago when it hit the big screen, here in the GTG post "BAG IT!"  When it finally hit Netflix, I never got around to it, untiil now. But finally, having seen it, I feel it really should be mandatory viewing for all!

Bag It Intro from Suzan Beraza on Vimeo.

The basic premise of "BAG IT!" is that we, as a world, need to "bag" the whole idea of plastic bags, bottles, and more. About 4 minutes in, there's a poignant comment: "Plastic is an incredibly valuable resource. It is something that really has a purpose and needs to be used for that purpose in our society.  Petroleum is way too scarce, and way too important to us to be thrown away as a plastic bag." I wholeheartedly agree. 

From the film, I learned that we use about 1,000,000 plastic grocery bags a minute. This calculates out to 500 billion bags a year. Those are some numbers for something that was ultimately designed for a 20 minute life span. That equals a heck of a lot of wasted barrels of oil!

I think it is also interesting that just this past week I heard that "climate change" was no longer the top environmental concern. Yes, people are still aware of that growing issue (which seems to become more and more irrefutable), yet the greatest concern nationwide is now water/oceanic pollution and air pollution. Plastics touch both.

I have more...lots share on this subject.  But until then, check out the trailers, and then check out "BAG IT!" either at Netflix, or when it airs on the Documentary Channel this Sunday, July 15th at 4 pm. 

In the meantime, "bag" the plastic!!

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