I decided today I’d get some shopping done after work and stopped at Times Supermarket. As I was picking my produce, I glanced over at the checkout counter to anticipate how busy it was. I noticed that nearly 1 in 10 customers checking out did not use reusable bags. The majority of people were leaving with at least 3 of the thicker plastic bags in their carts.
I had to laugh inside about this. In Honolulu county, the environmentalists celebrated passing a plastic bag ban several years ago. Despite this “win” for them, I can’t help but question if it truly is making a positive impact if I still see plastic bags around.
Not only are thicker bags around, I’ve got a stock pile of paper bags now because my husband forgets his reusable bags. These bags tear way more easily and are much harder to carry when you’re in tow with a wiggly toddler and school backpacks. These are filling up our closet.
The part bags and the thicker bags clearly require more energy and input to produce. So I have to think if we really are saving the land with these actions? Have we made a greener choice?
If I look at the environmental legislation passed in Hawaii, I think that the short feel good laws haven’t been thought through enough before being passes. Another example of poor legislation is the tourism issue at Hanauma Bay.
In this past week, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported on high volume of tourists coming in via taxis. A law was passed to curb tour companies from bringing in bus loads of people to minimize the impact on the bay. It apparently isn’t working since there is a loophole with other modes of transportation. Was the law really fulfilling its intent?
The same type of thinking applies to the anti-GMO issue. With all the fear mongering around biotech, the green groups aligned with the Hawaiians to demand a ban on biotech taro research. Instead of keeping an option open to build some evidence on how to address major plant dieseases that could devastate the crops, the shortsighted thinkers took away a tool. What is evident is that a new disease is hitting farmers and what tools will they have sustain their livelihoods? Where in mythology was there a way to save a figure?
With companies caving to GM free ingredients, there is a consequence. It might mean more insecticides and different management of weed control. So consumers who associate GM with pesticides may actually be returning us to using more of it. To the consumer who is feeling like they saved the earth by their purchases, they actually did the opposite in reality.
I’m starting to wonder if going green is really a good thing if the ones backing it are setting us up for failures in the future. Did we consider all the consequences before setting to legislate on the issue? If we didn’t ask more questions, then we didn’t look closely enough at the results of our action.
Then again, going green has had a good result in some ways. We have thicker plastic bags to hold more dog poop with and bags that don’t fly away!