Woody Allen observed that 80% of success is showing up. It seems like an ageless truth, proven again Tuesday when activists asked City Council to pass an ordinance eliminating the use of some kinds of bags for groceries (“Dozens rally at Durango City Hall for plastic bag ban,” Nov. 19). They brought a petition with more than 1,200 signatures.
It is surprising and pleasing to see so many Durangoans wanting to make their feelings and consensus known on any issue. This one has been a while coming.
Six years ago, City Council, at the urging of activists concerned about the harmful effects of plastics on the environment, passed a 10-cent fee for plastic bags taken from grocery stores. Other activists petitioned council against it and it went to the voters, who handily shot it down.
This page weighed in then (“‘No’ to bag fee,” Oct. 29, 2013), saying it was an unwarranted compromise: “After all, if plastic bags are the environmental catastrophe proponents insist they are, would not banning them outright be the responsible thing to do? Should not government at all levels take up that cause? That would be clear and at least convey the sense of urgency supporters of the fee seem to feel.”
Six years later, it is hard to argue the environment is doing better. The sense of urgency about it has grown exponentially. Government at all levels is engaged.
Using fewer plastic bags in this one city seems like a small step, but it surely is no less responsible now than it would have been in 2013.
Some residents will have to weigh whether the demonstrable benefit exceeds the inconvenience. Other residents still will have to demonstrate for them the benefit.
The ban-the-bags crowd can notch a success by showing up Tuesday with an improved proposal. Council is right to take this seriously. It would also be correct to return the matter to the voters as soon as possible – as a proposition.