The story I’m linking to today is a long one, but it bears reading and sharing far and wide. It presents a stark vision of our future that has little to do with climate change or air pollution or the litter that disfigures our countryside. It’s about what happens to all the stuff we throw away.
And, if you think recycling or beachcombing for washed up plastic artifacts is the answer, think again.
Way back in the early 1960s I submitted a short story to the tutor of a writing correspondence course that I never finished. The young man at the centre of the story believed he had a great future in plastics because plastics was the future. That prediction of mine has certainly come true: in the 50 years since, our plastic production has increased 600 fold, from less than 50 million tonnes annually to over 300 million.
And the frightening thing about plastic is that, unlike timber or natural fibres, it does not rot and become a biologically useful substance. It disintegrates into particles of ever decreasing size which are ingested by fish and animals, thereby entering our own food chain.
There is, it seems, nothing we can do about it. Our best hope is to stop producing it. Banning plastic bags is not the answer, recycling plastic bottles is not the answer. If we cannot learn to live without it we are doomed. If you don’t believe me, read the article. As I say, it is long; but it is beautifully written, wide ranging and contains many lessons about the horrors that homo sapiens is, at this stage of his development, inflicting upon his home planet.