Thank You Trump Straws

Photo by Stephanie Pombo on

Straws. Somehow political, somehow partisan. The latest fundraiser for the fake billionaire turned President Donald Trump is to get a 10 pack of straws for $15 with the word TRUMP written on the side. The straws are reusable so the proud Trump supporters can carry them everywhere. The irony here is that they are unwittingly doing what environmentalists want them to do, which is carrying around their own reusable straw instead of using disposable ones. Ha-Ha. You have to have fun sometimes with this plastic pollution stuff. I sort of want to say thank you to anyone I see with a Trump straw for carrying their own straws, but then they may catch on, that they are helping the environment and making liberals happy. Since most Trump supporters only stance is to be against anything liberal, or Obama-esque, saying thank you might stop them from carrying the straw. 

As environmentalists we cannot hedge all our bets on policy. We need to support cultural changes.

Fox and Friends TV hosts Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt declared in one of their segments that straws are only 0.02 percent of all plastic pollution. Why focus on them? It’s actually a question even liberal people have had. The raw numbers are important here. 127 million straws are used every year. 0.02 percent sounds like nothing, but when you hear the raw number its representing – 127 million straws –  you then understand the enormity of the problem. Another example is plastic bags, in which 1 trillion are used every year. If you were to say only 1 percent of plastic bags end up in the sea, that would still be 10 billion bags. How many landfills are that, how many dead marine fish is that? Also, remember that the plastic itself, scientists are finding out, is heating up our oceans. Thus, zero percent of plastic are supposed to be in the ocean, so even 0.02 percent is too much. 

The other thing to remember, when it comes to single-use plastic, you have to outlaw each one, by one. There never will be a law in the USA that outlaws all single-use plastic in one single swoop. Can you imagine a law telling mothers no more plastic disposable diapers. It may be the right thing for the environment. It may be the right thing for future generations to outlaw disposable diapers- but in our democratic voting system, any politician that outlaws disposable diapers will certainly be voted out. Even if a politician was at the end of his/her career, and did not care about popularity, and outlawed disposable diapers, the next politician would again reinstate it.  That’s why environmentalists try to work to outlaw the things they know that the public will support, like straws, and styrofoam. 

As someone who worked on the styrofoam ban and the outlawing plastic straws, passing policy takes a long time, and it can be reversed with new administration. Take President Obama, he passed as many climate change policies as he could with congress and he had and most of it reversed with the Trump administration. As environmentalists we cannot hedge all our bets on policy. We need to support cultural changes. Let us support the positive things in culture that support a sustainable environment, like vegetarianism, minimalism, and yes reducing plastic. Without doing much everyone can join a Facebook group that encourages the reducing plastic. Marketers pay attention to these things, so you have already done a lot by joining Facebook group or Instagram groups devoted to Zero Waste. 

We at GreenThinker DC are different than other nonprofits that are focused on plastic pollution and other environmental issues. We focus on behavior change rather than policy. We currently operate at-cost or below cost, but if someone were to donate a large sum to us like $100,000, we offer things that support cultural changes. Many people for instance tell me they know being a minimalist is the right thing to do, but they do not have time to declutter or to start the minimalist lifestyle. Well, if we had the money we would offer free organizer experts, to people who could commit themselves to reducing their plastic waste by a lot. If anyone out there knows of grants that support our unique strategy let us know. In the meantime, help our message by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you are not on social media, you can follow our blog directly from the website.





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