Will the plastics industry be the next target of the merchants of doubt?

A riddle for you: What has three words, eight letters and one meaning?

Screenshot capture showing 381 followers of 'Wibble'

I love my followers :)

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.)

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Biodiversity, Business, Communication, Core thought, Culture, Economics, Education, Environment, Health, Phlyarology, Strategy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Will the plastics industry be the next target of the merchants of doubt?

  1. I have added the Movie to watch later Pendantry and there is a huge debate on the questions you ask.. I have lots of thoughts upon this topic and others.. Its like the TV here in the UK.. Each morning as my husband watches the news, there is a topic of health issues.. Each week there is a theme.. What is good for you and what is bad for you, Over the years these change, one minute something is bad, then not so bad, Take coffee, then tea. Saturated Fats. Good Cholesterol and Bad Cholesterol.. Confuse Confuse..
    I could easily add to the conspiracy theorises with my own research. But then I would only end up driving myself even more insane! ;-)

    Liked by 2 people

    • pendantry says:

      I found the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ movie a little hard to watch, as it employs a… rather odd presentation, shall we say; the entire film appears at an angle in front of a graphic depicting an empty movie theatre. Rather odd choice (had it been me I would have employed that for the opening and closing credits only, not the entire film!).

      But it is still worth watching. Like the book, the content is very well researched. I don’t think ‘conspiracy theory’ can be applied to it: it’s fact, not fiction. Like the book of the same name on which it’s based, it’s certainly an eye opener.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric Alagan says:

    I’ve not watched or even heard of the movie – Merchants of Doubt. Thank you, Colin, I’ve bookmarked and will watch it when I get an hour or so.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Ray OF LIGHT 144 and commented:
    Our planet is not a toilet so why treat it like one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So sad to see this but necessary to wake people up. I recently bought a book about sacred activism called “A New Republic Of The Heart” (An ethos for relvolutionaries) by Terry Patten. It’s basically for people who wish to or who are taking action in the world based on what they are galvanised to do. I am reading through it now, worth a read if you haven’t already.

    Liked by 3 people

    • pendantry says:

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll certainly look into it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just been across to Amazon and read the details of that Terry Patten book. I’m tempted by it but will hold off for this simple reason. While my heart wants to take action my head is telling me that I am the wrong age to be an activist and supporting others, especially via blogging and writing, is a much better road to take.


      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Paul, I don’t think there is a ‘right’ age to be an activist & the rule of thumb is to follow your bliss. Terry Patten says to act on whatever in the world breaks your heart because that is the very thing that you are truly most passionate about. Activists tend to be called to something so listen to your heart but also bring inquiry to your thoughts question everything, even the ground of your being, the answers will come.

        Liked by 2 people

        • What breaks my heart is the lack of interest, the lack of concern, about the interconnectedness of everything. No better underlined than by the comments left by readers of my blog post today: Wolves and Rivers.

          Liked by 2 people

          • pendantry says:

            Speaking of ‘the interconnectedness of everything’, give me a second, I’ll put a link in your comment to your post :)

            Liked by 1 person

          • I understand the lack of interest is very dispiriting but the main thing is you are interested & everything begins with just one individual. There are a lot of people out there who are rising to the challenges facing us & I for one am heartened by that. Everything is interconnected whether other people can see it or not.

            Liked by 2 people

      • pendantry says:

        Thoughts? Tricky… you make a good argument, but just today I passed a bunch of students loitering along a path. I went past the same place a few hours later, after they’d all gone, and what did I see? Litter, everywhere. So, clearly, those youngsters aren’t ‘the right age’ to care, either…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. masercot says:

    My ex-wife used to say that industrialists are destroying the planet’s habitability because they think they’ll just be able to move to the moon or something. There’s a distinct lack of far-sightedness in their thinking… almost childlike…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Squashy Moss says:

    I am at work on my break so I will watch the film later. I think that all food manufacturers will soon be forced to rethink their packaging. Already in this country UK you have to pay between 5 and 10p for a plastic carrier bag. It definitely encourages more people to recycle their bags

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Squashy Moss says:

    Yes that’s a brilliant idea a bit like when the Corona man used to sell fizzy pop off his van in glass bottles and you got some money back for returning the bottles. I remember queueing with my nan with an arm full of bottles.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Fandango says:

    Just so you know, I used your “?random” thingie and it got me to this post and the video at the end of ghis post tells me that Sony Pictures has blocked it in my country (the U.S.) due to copyright grounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Dang, that’s a blow. Useful to know, thanks. One option would be to use a VPN to pretend you’re somewhere other than in the US… although if I’m honest, that movie is a bit odd, in my opinion (it’s all shot at an rather peculiar angle, which I found made it hard to focus on the content). The book (Merchants of Doubt), on the other hand, is very readable. And quite enlightening.

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s