The Last Straw in the Box

It’s been over 50 years since Mr. McGuire pulled Ben aside in the movie “The Graduate” to give him advice for his future career. He told Ben, “I want to say one word to you. Just one word – plastics.” That was his message to the next generation. And he was right, the future was plastic, so much so that we are drowning in it today.

Since plastic is a relatively new product, no one knows just how long it takes for plastic to decompose and exactly what toxins it may or may not release as it does so. Decomposition estimates range from 50 years to hundreds of years. One known danger exists to marine life that have been found dead after eating plastics.

Even if plastic posed no danger to the environment, our landfills overflow with it. Apparently we make much more of it than we can possibly reuse by recycling.

In quite a few American cities, sucking on a plastic straw is frowned upon or downright illegal. Obviously banning straws alone won’t solve any adverse effects plastic may have on the planet. Omitting straws from your drink or using an alternative may cause little inconvenience. But just how much plastic can we live without?

K-cups — I use these along with a reusable K-cup basket. I’ve heard rants about the volume of waste these cause. Fair enough, a conveinence I could live without.

Bottled water — Not just for the athletically inclined gym goer. Videos of every crisis situation show truckloads of bottled water being delivered to parts of the world suffering disasters such as hurricanes, wars, or disease.

Food packaging — So much food is sold in plastic. We may bring reusable tote bags to take home our purchases but will we also bring reusable storage containers to the store to scoop out food out of bins and take home? Too many people, too little time. Besides our litigious society would find multitudes of lawsuits if anyone brings in dirty containers and illnesses spread.

Computers — Computers form the lifeline for every business on earth. And letting go of a smart phone is nearly impossible for most people. Can we do without these plastic-encased treasures? I thought not.

Medical Equipment — Tubing, injections, gloves, prescription bottles and more are used once and thrown out. Will we risk disease by trying to sterilize and reuse these items?

Disposable Diapers — I don’t know if working parents can wash cloth diapers anymore. The daycare staff only want the disposable ones. And besides the hot water, soap, and bleach used to wash cloth diapers also comes with an environmental impact.

Tampons — Many come with plastic inserters. Lose the plastic. Maybe a menstrual cup (also plastic). Or maybe go back to rags and rewash them (hot water, soap, bleach problem again). We could go way back and segregate menstruating women into tents again.

Plastic is our life. Eliminating plastic straws may not put much of a dent in our plastic addiction. But eliminating a much larger percentage of plastic can alter the modern world into an unrecognizable one. Change happens, new inventions appear and once the box is opened what comes out can’t be closed in anymore.

The modern world is ambiguous. Technology is both savior and killer. But you wouldn’t know this from the social media rants that insist the world is black and white, right and wrong. The one-dimensional characters of the old morality plays no longer define our world. The personification of pure good and pure evil forces fighting to claim a human soul, a throwback to medieval times, no longer holds water. Straw or no straw.

Does anyone remember the song by the Monkees, “Only Shades of Gray? (Every time I hear a Monkees song now I am surprised at how much I like their music, laugh if you must. I can’t resist inserting one song here.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SubpzqswJRE

Preventing the world from being overrun by plastic won’t come easy. It won’t happen willingly and without pain. More than likely, change will come when the oil needed for the production of plastic is depleted.

The future may hold legends of the good old days of plastic and fuel-powered machines being retold to a younger generation. At that point, with the removal of a good chunk of life-changing and life-saving technologies, the world population will surely have dwindled to far fewer, hardier humans. Science could follow the same path as the dead gods.

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Hang Zero

Future moon escapes

Orbit — no matter — by then

Tides cease — toes extinct


via Daily Prompt: Tide

Turn Down the Noise

One-word Daily Prompt: Noise

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/noise/


Social Media

Silence breeds empowerment

Filter shit — keep wit.

Sex, Math and Computers

The most valuable sex education lesson I learned took place in my high school geometry class. Computers and geeks mixed in with the sex ed.

Unlike my previous year in algebra, I loved geometry. How I went from barely passing to straight As in math, I’ll never know.

One day, my geometry teacher took us to a special room at school that housed a couple of computers. Nothing that I’m familiar with today, but large, mechanical desks with no screen that spit out punch tape and later ate it up again for the input and output of data.

Two guys in my class were already experts with these machines. They poked and prodded them into functioning. To everyone else, it was kind of magical yet boring at the same time. These geeks ended up with a four-year math/science college scholarship.

After our visit with the machines, our teacher told us that in the future every home will have a computer. That blew our minds, early 1970s style. What would we use it for? How many people could afford this thing? That computer looked bulky, complex, and unfriendly. The two geeks were the only fans.

Later in the semester, my teacher somehow brought up the  topic of sex in geometry class. He told us that sex takes up less than 1% of your time in married life. He ticked off necessary distractions such as working, shopping, cooking, childcare, cleaning, and whatever else needed to be done.

Today his lessons in love still stick. Although neither marriage nor heterosexual relationships are a given part to that theorem. Those few short minutes in some few short nights don’t seem to be worth the societal controversies. Whatever gets you through the night. A small part of our small time.

My first lesson with computers created an ambivalence within me which still remains. I love the possibilities and I hate my dependence. Like the human bond, deep feelings can move through the spectrum. An embrace may not be far removed from a push away.

Geometry class: you expanded the possibilities in my mind. I remember you fondly.

I Believe, the Geese Don’t

One-word Daily Prompt: Believe

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/believe/


I often ride my bike to a nearby condominium complex that has a man-made pond with a fountain at its center. I also enjoy dozens of ducks and Canadian geese that gather in and around that site. A couple of times this year, I saw a huge white swan floating on the water. I nearly took out my phone to take a picture. Another time I saw two swans floating around.

I told myself, next time I will snap a photo of those swans. So on another bike ride, I saw a swan floating majestically at the far end of the pond. As I rode around the curve of the water, I noticed something that looked like a white board jutting out of the water. As I got closer I realized that board was the underbelly of a swan decoy. The geese must have done a massive shoulder shrug (do they have shoulders?) and probably head-butted that phony swan onto its side.

This saved me the humiliation of looking like a fool in front of the owners of those condos while snapping photos of swan decoys. Also my friends and relatives didn’t have to feign admiration of my phony birds.

I went home and discovered websites devoted to selling tools to get rid of geese and their large piles of poop. (Poop like a goose for a reason.) I won’t get started on the piles of waste produced by other animals (ahem, humans), maybe another blog post.

One goose-riddance website said that, “White Swans are very territorial, making it great to help keep geese away!” These geese saw through this deception, I did not.

If the swans don’t work, and apparently they don’t, the website also sells dive-bombing drones for geese removal.  Great, now I can enjoy the water and birds while getting more paranoid by that drone following me. Or is it repelling geese? I usually look on the dark side so I’d guess that dive-bombing drone is out for my blood.

By Peter Massas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launch Defense Mechanism

One-word Prompt: Launch

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/launch/


Gaming addiction

“A word made flesh is seldom”

Flesh on paper — Saved

Only a Planet

One-Word Daily Prompt: Planet

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/planet/


I’m egocentric. The only planet that matters to me is earth despite the fact that an infinite number of planets may exist.

In my high school days, ecology became the darling of the media and school discussions. Save the planet before we kill it.  “The Population Bomb” was our bible. Earth Day celebrations began and recycling was the buzzword.

My recycling center accepts only clear glass. And I often wonder how many resources recycling actually preserves after factoring in the recycling process. Trucks must haul the used glass, it must be cleaned and remade into another item. Is there a net benefit after all?

The plant hardiness zone of my metropolitan area changed from a cooler 5 to a warmer zone 6. The climate warmed due to  a greater cluster  of people living together; more people, cars, concrete, and steaming piles of garbage.

“The Population Bomb” preached the dangers of the exponential growth of the human population on the planet. The human population still grows every year, but it has slowed down since the highest point in the 1960’s when the book was published.

Today a massive increase of machines/technology shows no sign of slowing down. Computers increase in numbers at astounding rates along with their voracious appetite for fuel.

It is hard to believe that electrically powered machinery did not exist 150 years ago. The instinctive reach for a light switch is as natural to us as breathing.

Machines/technology create better sanitation, crop yields, medical care, making life easier so we love it. Machines require fuel and pollute the planet, making the planet exposed to more toxic waste so we hate it. Machines replace the labor of humans, making life more economically difficult, less meaningful and, coming full circle, making life harder.

Logically the only way to save the planet is by moving backwards. We would have much less including less people, less machines, less stuff. But the planet will probably move on as it has been until machines and people eat up all our natural resources. Feed life or machines. Or will that be one and the same thing? Maybe the planet will just shoo us pesky life forms off the surface.