Listen to the Visitor

A week or two back there was an article in the Guardian Weekly to which I responded with a letter to the editor. You can read the article here

This was my letter.

Listen to the visitor

Regarding your 20 November story Crowdfunding plan to tackle ‘Great Pacific garbage patch’: we need to look at our world as a visitor might.

A visitor to our planet might see the plastic crisis we have created and ask, “What are you going to do about the plastic that is endangering life in your oceans?” We might respond, “Well, we are thinking of trapping it and then recycling it back into more consumer products.”

Our puzzled visitor shakes his head and asks, “Have you considered banning it completely where there are alternative materials?” To this we might respond, “Just how you would propose we do that?”

The visitor continues: “Considering that it is the people of the entire planet who will bear the consequences of inaction, my advice is to ask the people from all your 190-plus nations to formulate the plan. Together, list everything made of plastic, and have the people decide just what they can live without. Start simply while you gain public support and then tackle whole groups of things such as toys, building materials and packaging. Be determined and ignore those with a monetary interest in the status quo.”

To which we might reply, “Seriously, what should we really do?”
Matthew R Foster
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

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