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OPINION: Connecticut works at banning plastic bags

OPINION: Connecticut works at banning plastic bags

So, what do you think of plastic bags? My thought is that I’m a little ashamed about them. There was plenty of opportunity to do the right thing before government got involved.

But government got involved, and now there’s no more plastic bag use in Connecticut. Or, almost. The goal is no more plastic bags, and in the meantime the state raises some money. There’s a fee of 10 cents for each bag under rules that went in place just the other day. Under this approach, little by little the message gets delivered (the pocketbook being a good way of delivering a message) and by the time the use of plastic bags is completely banned, by June 2021, maybe everyone will have figured out how to do without plastic.

We should have not needed a law about this, but convenience has a way of slipping into our lives without gathering a lot of notice — that’s what convenience is, after all. Recognizing that a convenience may not be a good thing can be difficult, and when it’s taken away it can be unsettling.

So now maybe no more little plastic bag carousels. No more little plastic bags for everything. How long will it take Connecticut shoppers to get used to it?

Not so long, maybe, judging by some recent comments:

“It’s a good change. I love it.”

Maybe not everyone shares the enthusiasm of the owner of that statement, Gloria Hubbard, who was shopping at the Meriden Stop & Shop recently. She’s been reusing bags for the last three years, according to a recent R-J story. “Everybody should get on board and help save the environment,” she said.

Well: Yes!

But maybe you can’t count on everyone seeing it that way, so now there’s a rule. I’ve been where that has been in place for a while now, California, and I can report that it remains The Golden State. My guess is The Land of Steady Habits will absorb the blow.

Plastic, of course, was the famous advice issued to the hero of “The Graduate.” Decades later we can see it as a warning as well as an investment strategy.

Today we can’t be blamed for being wary. That’s because little pieces of the stuff are finding ways into our food sources, like fish, and there are blobs of plastic the size of Neptune in our oceans.

Plenty of people want to get on board and save the environment, is my guess, but figuring out how is not so simple. Your future, your children’s future, their children’s and so on is at stake. The overall threat of climate change, which has been getting some attention on these pages lately, can seem overwhelmingly large, as big as melting polar ice caps. It can get even more unsettling when it’s labeled a hoax and when science, which is our only defense against politically-motivated obfuscation, is pushed aside or snowed under by rhetoric.

Misuse of plastic is something you can do something about. Don’t forget that reusable bag.

The Earth has been around a long time, a lot longer than humans, and you can pretty much bank on it being around long after we’ve exited the scene. When we talk about taking care of the planet, we’re talking about taking care of us.

The world is home but we‘re guests. One way a good guest behaves is by not leaving a mess — and yes, that means controlling the use of plastic. If we want to stick around on this planet we’re going to have to learn how to behave ourselves.

Reach Jeffery Kurz at 203-317-2213, or jkurz@record-journal.com.

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