Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fake Plastic Fish

I just stumbled across a blog called Fake Plastic Fish - "They're cute, and if we don't solve our plastic problem, they could be the only kind we have left." It caught my attention because my sister also writes a blog about issues related to our oceans.

What I find interesting is that this woman is not trying to change the entire world, she's just trying an experiment to see if she can eliminate plastic waste from her own life. Her blog is well-written, honest, and open-minded. If she took a tone of "Everyone should be doing this" then I would probably be turned off by the whole concept. But instead, she writes from the perspective of "Here's what I'm trying to do, and how I'm going about doing it." And I find myself inspired and challenged by her lead-by-example attitude.

I'm really intrigued by her list of changes and sacrifices that she's made to reduce plastic waste. It made me think deeply about how very, very difficult her quest actually is. In fact, most of the plastic sources she mentions are in products that I would never think about: return mail envelopes, frozen vegetable boxes, feminine hygiene products, etc. (Not to mention that virtually every product comes wrapped in some sort of plastic film.)

This concept hits especially hard because a bunch of news stories came out on Monday, disclosing that traces of pharmaceutical drugs and hormones are present in most cities' tap water, regardless of the source-- reservoirs, rivers, aquafers, and even well water.

A friend of mine from ski patrol works for the EPA, and last year he told me that virtually all of our food and water sources are contaminated with traces of hormones and plastic compounds. He said that most of their efforts at the EPA are focussed on trying to figure out which chemicals are actually harmful, and at what concentrations, because there's simply no way to eliminate them from our food. Most of the chemicals are very stable, so they don't break down over time, and they can't be filtered out of our water supplies. Disturbing and depressing.

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