Amid all the fiery language and flood of toxic words generated by the checkout-bag ordinance, the argument that the magnitude of the problem is too huge and the step is too small has the least substance.
It is seldom given to any of us to make a big difference. Fires, floods and mudslides can have a huge negative effect on our lives. Clean water, sewer systems and safe streets make a big positive difference. What matters for the individual and, therefore, the community is the effort toward the accrual of small differences that create something large and positive. Mike Smedley’s “Action Line” column (Herald, Sept. 23) completely misses the point. To do nothing because the problem seems insurmountable is defeatist.
Plastic in our environment is a problem. Attacking city officials and councilors is no solution; it merely adds to the already burdensome alienation of our political climate. Instead, lean on the corporations responsible for manufacturing, for hyper-packaging of goods and for pollution at the source.
I understand the visceral reaction to governmental control; I grew up in rural Wyoming steeped in independence of thought and action. And yet, government regulations give us safer highways, medicines, food, water and shelters. They give us means of protection from each other and from society itself. The checkout-bag ordinance is a small but worthy protection, not so much for the current generation, but for our children’s children and the world they will inherit.
I also grew up steeped in understanding the need for neighborliness, cooperation and responsibility for the larger community. Leave aside the hyperbole, the sarcasm, the anger. Take that small step. Assume responsibility for a better environmental future and vote “yes” for the checkout-bag ordinance.