[OOC] Going Green, seeing red

I’m all for being environmentally friendly.

My carbon footprint has been small since long before that fad phrase even existed. It’s not that I believe we need to save the planet; the polar opposite in fact. I think the earth was fine before we even existed, and it will heal itself and be fine long after we’ve managed to somehow wipe ourselves out. We should call our eco campaigns “Save the Humans” or something, as it really just is a vain and impotent effort to extend our flawed existence as a failing race.

But that isn’t the point of this rant. Today is about plastic bags.

Sure, plastic grocery bags are made from petroleum based products and are very bad for the environment, taking 450 – 1,000 years to breakdown, I get that.

But do you remember the days of paper bags and plastic bags that were recyclable?

We don’t even have that option anymore. Paper bags are 100% recyclable. Plastic is 99% recyclable. The problem of course is the laziness of people. 1% of 1 billion bags are actually recycled. That is a disgusting figure that just reinforces my earlier statement about us being a flawed and failing species.

But not even this is my point today.

Today is about being charged 5 cents per plastic bag. Really? You’re going to rant about something so obviously good for the environment?

Yes, yes I am.

I mean, before the days of environmental awareness being a catch phrase and plastered all over the media, companies still charged us for these bags. How do I figure? Easy, operating costs. Bags have always been factored into the final markup of a given product. The expense is always passed on to the consumer. It’s simple business logic. It’s the same as rent, wholesale purchasing costs, staffing costs, and everything else that factors into how much more we pay for products at the end of the day.

So riddle me this. Why is it now that if I go into a grocery store and I bring my own bag (which I will rant about in a minute), I don’t get a discount on the items I purchase to offset the hidden cost of the plastic bags I’m not using but are already factored into the cost of the item I am buying?

And why is it if I do need plastic bags, I am charged an additional 5 cents per bag on top of the hidden cost already incurred for them by the company?

The answer is surprisingly easy: it’s a cash grab, plain and simple.

While I let that roll around in the back of your head, let me talk about these new re-usable fabric bags that cost between $1 – $2 but are somehow marketed as good for the environment.

Did you know they are ZERO percent recyclable? Fact.

So what happens to these bags? Well, they certainly do last longer; that is the objective. In the short term, they produce less waste. But what happens 10 – 20 years from now when all those bags are torn with holes and no longer of use? They’ll start being dumped in our landfills.

But in typical “Think about the now” approach, this generation thinks it’s a good idea. Let our kids sort out our mess. Lovely. Let’s continue to ignore that greater symptoms of convulsive death and apply a band aid solution and hope it takes.

And again, with no alternative like paper bags, as consumers we’re pretty much screwed. I mean, I get dirty looks at the grocery store when I ask for plastic bags, or bring my own plastic bags. Oh how influenced by media we are. How dare he not purchase those fabric bags for $2 each, of which none of the proceeds go to helping the environment. The scoundrel!

But back to the cash grab, and why we shouldn’t stand for it.

I support charities monthly. I won’t tell you which ones, as that’s my business, but I donate my money, and my time, to causes I believe in and support, and encourage others to do the same for whatever stirs fire within them. Get involved. Make a difference.

Is that 5 cents per bag going into some government or private fund to help the environment? Nope. If you don’t believe me, Google it. Look up any grocery chain’s environmental statement to see what they are doing to help our environment.

All of them say the same generic bullshit about carbon footprints, offering fabric bags, reducing plastic bags, etc, etc. I came across only ONE grocery chain here in Canada that actually is using the money to research better packaging methods and alternatives with the money collected from grocery bags. Only one. Failing race.

So where is that money going then? Right back into company profits. They’ve already charged us for the bags in the price of the products we consume from them. They’re charging us again in the name of the environment. And yet, the money goes straight to the corporate coffers, padding the profit margins, and making the rich richer.

It makes me sick. It really does.

So I walk into a Subway restaurant the other day to order a sub. I like Subway. I’ve lost weight because of Subway. Their $5 footlong specials have also helped me maintain a decent budget for work lunches at times. Of course, they’ve increased the price of that deal to $5.49 now…

So I suck it up, figure it’s still a deal, though I won’t be eating there as much anymore, and head to the cash.

“Would you like a bag for that?” the clerk asks.

“Yes please, it’s to go.” I respond politely.

He charges me 5 cents for the bag. Have you seen a Subway bag? It’s about 1/6th the size of a grocery bag. It’s a thin, narrow sleeve that a footlong sub barely fits into, and he’s charging me 5 cents.

He doesn’t bat an eyelash about it. We’re so ingrained as a non-thinking, conforming society to just accept what we’re told, that it seems perfectly natural and reasonable to him to charge me for this pathetic excuse of a bag.

I cancelled the order and walked out. I won’t be going to Subway anymore. Don’t even get me started about the 25 cent Interac fee they introduced…

I just wish people would start thinking. That’s the crux of it. We’re fed fantastic marketing lines, and we blindly swallow it, like fish on a hook, but what good is it really accomplishing? I mean, what happens to the fish? Nothing good.

Is the earth going to be saved because of plastic bag initiatives? Are we even making a dent? And does it even matter at this point?

Look at the weather systems around the globe. Look at how the earth is already violently responding to what we’ve done to it.

It’s in the process of wiping us out, in self defence. We’re already doomed. We’re not going to make it, and we have only ourselves to blame.

It’s like I tell overweight people that want to get in shape, “You didn’t get overweight overnight, so it’s going to take you a while to change how your body looks. Don’t give up.”

Unfortunately, the same doesn’t apply for the environment. We’ve been destroying our beloved earth for hundreds of years now. It’s passed the point of repair. We’re prolonging the inevitable.

These are simple facts that anyone can find if they were just assed to look.

But nobody does.

We don’t want to accept reality. We want to live in our little bubbles of perception that leave us feeling comfortable and safe. It’s why we go to church to absolve our guilt. It’s why we help old ladies across the street. It’s why we shovel our neighbour’s driveway of snow in the winter.

We live in constant denial of who and what we are as human beings. We think ourselves superior in every way, and that nothing will end our reign of authority on this planet.

Well guess what, we already lost; we just haven’t accepted our extinction yet.

And no, I’m not being fatalistic. I’m quite a happy person, and as guilty as any.

After all, all this is coming from a guy that likes internet spaceships.