Regular readers of this blog will know that since last autumn I have been co-patron of a campaign to make the 2012 Olympics plastic bag free. We had a very promising first meeting with the powers-that-be in December, and I was really hopeful that we could take this important and symbolic first step towards banning the bag in the UK.
I was dismayed to learn via email that the initiative seems to have stalled. So far the organizing committee have pledged only to ban single use plastic bags in their own shops. I don’t see how this squares with the claim that the 2012 Olympics would be the “most sustainable games” ever. Plastic bags are unsustainable from start to finish. They are made from oil, and once thrown into landfill or oceans they last for hundreds of years. What on Earth is sustainable about that? Plastic bags are the very epitome of unsustainability.
Plus, if the organizers enforce a bolder ban, it will be an unparalleled opportunity for a big PR and public awareness campaign around the perils of plastic – the toxins, hormone disruptors, effect on wildlife etc etc. Visitors coming to the Games from around the world will take this message back to their home countries to encourage change there.
Apparently mutterings were being made about “lack of storage space” – presumably for paper bags instead of plastic. My view was that the retailers should produce tasteful commemorative bags, made from organic cotton, to be sold for, say, GBP 1. Consumers would have a nice souvenir, retailers would have longer-lived bags bearing their logos, and millions of plastic bags would be kept out of landfill. And I expect the retailers would manage to find storage space if they were making a profit on every bag sold.
I believe a plastic bag free Britain could be a genuine legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games!
With just a year to go I earnestly need your help. We must not give up on our efforts! There is still time to influence matters, even though this is now the 11th hour. Please sign the petition organized by Greener-Upon-Thames (of which I am a patron) and support their grassroots campaign for a full ban – and encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign too.
Every signature counts.
As of today I have been at sea exactly 3 months. And am not yet half way. Sigh. But this doesn’t mean it’s going to take me over 6 months to get across. The second half should, according to my weatherman, have more favourable winds. That would be nice.
Our Week 42 podcast, “Dancing Dorados” is now live!
UncaDoug – I’m not taking water temps, but air temps have been between 22 and 34 Celsius. Mostly quite pleasant, really. I saw the crescent moon tonight, and thought of you!
Roger Finch – you being rude about my height?! Come over here and say that!! 🙂
Fiona Schneider – hoping to arrive in September. Or October. Can’t be more precise than that, I’m afraid!
Anne – your joke made me snort with laughter. Thank you! For those who missed it the first time around, here it is again: What did the fish say when he ran into a wall?
Rico – I’m sure I shouldn’t laugh at your joke. But I did!
Quote – courtesy of Jim Bell’s great-great-great….-grandfather:
For every problem under the sun,
There is a solution, or there’s none.
If there is one, try and find it,
If there isn’t, never mind it.
Sponsored Miles: James Borleis, Curtis Zingg