We know to avoid plastics because they are made of non-renewable fossil fuels, they are not biodegradable, and they leach hormones and toxic chemicals. What many of us are unaware of is that plastics make up the fabric of our everyday life. Look down at your shoes, socks, and pants. Do you know what the fabric composition of your clothes is? Look at your rug, your couch, your bed, and the sheets on it. Do you know what they’re made out of? Chances are they’re plastic, or at least part plastic.
“It slips through our fingers and our water filters and sloshes into rivers and oceans like effluent from a sinister industrial factory. It is no longer embodied by a Big Mac container on the side of the road. It has come to seem more like a previously unnoticed chemical listed halfway down the small print on a hairspray bottle, ready to mutate fish or punch a hole in the ozone layer.”
“Once the solvent vaporizes, it is easily inhaled. Because of this, both dry cleaning employees and customers are directly at risk of breathing in the chemical. The dangers of perc are not isolated to the dry cleaning facility. Perc can follow you home. The chemical remains in dry-cleaned clothing long after it leaves the cleaner and the levels of perc in the garment will accumulate with each cleaning process. But, as you just learned, the perc doesn’t just stay in your clothing, it off-gases. A study found that if you were to put four freshly dry-cleaned sweaters in your car and step into the grocery store for an hour on a warm day, you would return to a car that was well exceeding the safe limit of perc exposure….
“But perc pollution reaches much further than your home and car. The contaminant has been detected in groundwater and both public and private wells. It’s also found in soil. Perc can become airborne from soil and water, and once in the air can be inhaled. The effect of perc on our bodies is severe. Short-term exposure at low levels can cause inebriation, dizziness, and irritation in the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory tract. Short-term exposure to perc at high levels can cause fluid buildup in lungs, difficulty speaking and walking, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and irritation of skin and the respiratory system. If a person’s exposure to perc is at a high level, even for a short time, the chemical can cause unconsciousness and death.
“Prolonged exposure to perc can result in damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. It is recognized as a probable human carcinogen and linked to cases of cervical cancer, bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2007, it was estimated that 1 in 10 wells in California were contaminated with perc.”
Did you know that most of your clothing is made out of plastic? The plastic from your clothing makes its way into our…www.amazon.com
“The prevailing mantra that all economic growth is good defies the reality of life on a finite planet with finite resources. There is an urgent need for new economic thinking and new indicators that value quality as well as quantity in our economic metrics.”
- Introduce realistic pricing and taxation to reflect the actual cost of fossil fuel use and embedded carbon;
- Introduce carbon (or non-green plastic) floor prices;
- Tax embedded carbon (or non-green plastic) through targeted sales taxes;
- Fund research, development, and innovation;
- Converge carbon (and green plastic) markets and instruments into a worldwide structure;
- Replace GDP growth as the primary objective for societal progress;
- Adopt new indicators — such as the Genuine Progress Indicator — that accurately measure human development, welfare and wellbeing, rather than production growth;
- Establish explicit funding and re-training programmes for displaced workers and communities;
- Provide government assistance to enable older industries to diversify to lower carbon (and green plastic) production;
- Reframe business models and roles for declining industries such as oil, gas, and coal;
- Create an international convention, applying to nations and non-state actors alike, with legally enforceable rules and mechanisms for policing the global commons;
- Support citizen action and litigation against countries and actors exceeding legal limits;
- Require that market prices reflect the real costs of production, integrating social, environmental and ecosystem values into pricing;
- Ensure greater materials efficiency and circularity by 2025;
- Actively support efforts to restore degraded lands and water through methods such as open ocean plastics recovery and Ecosystem Regeneration Camps;
- Recognize that the degree of social change needed to make a successful transformation to a sustainable future will extend throughout society, requiring fundamental shifts in behavior and rethinking of national and community support and care systems.
“The human conscience evolved in the middle to late Pleistocene as the result of the hunting of large game. This required cooperative, band level sharing of meat. Because tribal foragers are highly mobile and can quickly shift between different communities, authority is almost impossible to impose on the unwilling. And even without that option, males who try to take control of the group or the food supply are often countered by coalitions of other males.
“This is clearly an ancient and adaptive behavior that tends to keep groups together and equitably cared for.”