By Dale J. Harrington
The number of articles and letters published in the Rossmoor News concerning how humans pollute the environment, including our own back yard, is astounding. Why are there so many letters and articles related to this subject? Why are we defiling the environment?
We are supposed to be intelligent, yet we often act as though we are ignorant. Part of the problem is we sometimes do not realize the impact plastic has on our environment. Plastic breaks down and forms microscopic particles. Bob Hanson described the process in a profoundly detailed Earth Matters article in the Feb. 19, 2020 Rossmoor News article and reprinted here on April 30, 2020. He wrote, “Studies have shown bottled water samples contain nearly twice as many pieces of micro-plastic per liter than tap water from a glass container. Chemicals from the plastic can leach into the water with serious side effects.” When I read this I immediately thought, “out of sight, out of mind. If I cannot see it, it does not exist.”
The Dangers of Microplastics
On Feb. 25, there was an article in the East Bay Times titled “Scientists gather to study risk from microplastic pollution.” The article contained following statement: “’Some of the concern stems from an unusual twist unique to plastic pollution. Because plastic is made from fossil fuels and contains hydrocarbons, it attracts and absorbs other pollutants in the water, such as PCBs and pesticides,’ said Andrew Mason, the Pacific Northwest regional coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s marine debris program.”
Are we defiling the environment because we are insensitive to the damage we are doing? Is it because we do not see the microscopic plastic in our water or the thousands of pounds of plastic floating in streams, rivers, and the ocean it does not exist? It may not exist here in Tice Creek or our pond near the golf course, but if you search the Internet you can find numerous examples of this desecration.
Is Our Reliance on Plastic an Addiction?
We have an addiction to throwaway plastic! Ask yourself, am I an addict? Well, you would probably say “No” because you think of addiction only in terms of drugs or alcohol. I went on the Internet and put in “Definition of Addiction.” Here is what I found: “… the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing or activity.” We are behaviorally addicted to the activity of purchasing plastic things!
Since it is behavioral, we can change if we decide to control our behavior. Sometimes it is not easy, but it can be accomplished with focus and dedication. First, we need to acknowledge our behavior. Then we need to examine the impact of our behavior. Then we need to take, possibly one small step at a time, to correct our behavior. I know habits are sometimes hard to change. Especially if we have behaved in a particular way for many years. And most of us living in Rossmoor have had many years of behaving “our way.”
We in Rossmoor are not totally insensitive to the environment. We are making good strides in recycling, composting and landfill. For some of us, living in Rossmoor is a new world, so to speak. Let us all extend this sensitivity to the broader environment for the sake of ourselves and others. Whenever possible, refuse to purchase plastic items. Refuse to contribute to defiling the environment.
Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, April 15, 2020. Email Dale Harrington at firstname.lastname@example.org.