A riddle for you: What has three words, eight letters and one meaning?
My blog following now stands at 381. This number is special to me because it says 3-8-1, and to me that says “I love you”. I do love my followers; they make me feel special: but if there’s one thing that I love more than people it’s this planet we share. And we humans are currently treating that planet like our own personal rubbish tip.
Anyone familiar with the story of the ongoing (and nonsensical) ‘debate’ about climate change ought to have heard of the book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway called ‘The Merchants of Doubt‘, and perhaps also the documentary of the same name. The book and the movie both track the same sorry crowd of usual suspects as they have — successfully — persuaded the public into wrong-thinking about a whole gamut of toxic subjects including acid rain, tobacco smoking, global warming and pesticides. The recurring tactic these contemptible folk employ involves ‘keeping the controversy alive’ by spreading doubt and confusion.
“Oreskes points out a tragic paradox: that doubt-induced delay in taking action on climate change actually increases the likelihood that heavy-handed government intrusion will be needed when the problem grows to crisis proportions, as we saw in the market meltdown. Mending the earth is dependent upon mending people’s belief in limited but effective government, and in the value of hard work–the sort that leads to scientific consensus.” (from a comment appended to Professor Naomi Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt talk)
My question is:
Are the merchants of doubt going to start working to delay action on plastics?
Any firm that manufactures, say, plastic packaging is stuck if its customers all start insisting on plastic-free packaging solutions, because unless the business is in a position to switch wholesale to an alternative, its only option, if it’s to stay in business, is to continue making the product it has. (Which is why the ‘free market’ doesn’t work in such cases — it can’t cure problems it has created — and national backup must be brought into play so as to buffer large changes of this sort.)
There are alternatives to plastic for a variety of things, such as myco packaging, but such innovations are going to need a lot of support if they are to succeed in supplanting the entrenched plastics industry. ‘Support’ includes regulation and government intervention, and to many people with a certain ideological bent, such things are simply anathema.
(Suggestion: use deturl.com to download this film to watch later.)