Dear President Trump,
Hey, good morning. Where are you today? I don’t feel like checking your schedule so I’ll assume you are back in DC, ready to menace us from up close this week.
I can’t find the article now, but did you see the news that’s come out recently telling us that you eat a bowl full of plastic every year? Yes, you. And me, and everyone else, but I figure if you know you are not immune, you might be a wee bit more inclined to pay attention. People who eat a lot of packaged, processed foods and drink from plastic water bottles and all that stuff are apt to eat more of it than those who go more sustainable routes and since you are all about profligate waste, I bet you end up eating two bowls of plastic a year.
I just looked up “profligate” to make sure I’m using it correctly and it may be that “profligate waste” is somewhat redundant, but I like it so I’m keeping it. And, I got a bonus in the look up because I was reminded that a profligate is also a type of person, just like you! Here’s that part of the definition: a licentious, dissolute person; synonyms: libertine, debauchee, degenerate, reprobate, roué, lecher, rake, loose-liver. Those are some pretty great synonyms, aren’t they? I especially like libertine and loose-liver, though I like loose-liver libertine even better. Suits you too a T.
Back to plastics. The other article I saw on the topic was all about how scientists are finding loads of microplastics on the ocean floor and in the middle ranges of the ocean, not just the ginormous floating garbage islands. It was weird to me, but the scientists who were quoted expressed all sorts of surprise that plastics have infiltrated the deepest oceans and are compromising the very beginnings of our food chains. They are generally smart people and it sure seems like commonsense that a lot of that plastic crap is going to sink and get moved around by currents and tides so why the hell wouldn’t there be plastic on the seafloor for the tiny things down there to accidentally ingest? What gives? Did the reporters only use the interview clips that sounded like “Oh gee, golly, gee, I guess we have more of an issue here than anyone could have imagined!”? Anyone but a reasonably smart five year old, that is.
We (adults) live in a la-la fantasyland far more elaborate and defended than any child’s. We go about our busy, ultra important lives in our important rushes from here to there, mightily keeping at bay the nagging suspicion that most of what enables these lifestyles is not so healthy for us or the planet. We breeze by the signs that things are off, that something is deeply wrong, that we are almost certainly contributing to the problems, because to stop and take stock could derail us from our critically self-important, self-assigned missions. Plus, it’s all just flat out overwhelming and I bet most of us figure that even if we refashioned our own individual lives so we tread much more lightly, it wouldn’t make any real difference so why put ourselves through all that sacrifice and inconvenience?
Small case in point: I decided a couple of weeks ago that I couldn’t keep picking up trash every morning on my runs because I couldn’t really run very well with all the stops. So the plan was that I’d run four days a week and pick up trash one day a week. That seemed like an ok compromise until this past weekend when I noticed how much more junked up the neighborhood looks since I’ve pulled back on my litter pick-ups. I’m not sure what the longer-term answer is going to be, but this morning I went ahead and “plogged” and just accepted that it would be a stop/start-take-way-longer deal. I focused on the Nature Valley granola bar wrappers and Starbucks lids and straws in the streets near the drains since they go straight to the Sound and diverting plastics from the waterways seems most pressing.
I know that whatever a single, regular mere mortal person might do is going to be a tiny drop in the bucket, but I’m hoping that if more of us ignore you and your self-absorbed modeling and feel empowered to do something, even something small, to tip things in a better direction, we might get some useful momentum going.
May we do something useful, instrumental, to safeguard the environment.
May we be willing to make sacrifices in service of our children’s futures.
May we get that our health is dependent on the tiny sea creatures’ health.
May we make peace with limits.