Now they’re waging war on plastics!

Global warming turned out to be a hoax. Now plastics have usurped dangerous manmade climate change’s role as the threat to planetary survival!?” This informative commentary by Tom Harris sets the record straight on some of the absurd claims against these truly miracle materials.

“Plastics are vital for modern health, technology and civilization – for food packaging, furniture, cars, shoes, heart valves, water pipes, toys, protective helmets, smart phones and countless other products that we rely on every day,” says Paul Driessen. “And yet, demonstrating once again how totally out of touch with reality they are, radical environmentalist groups are now demanding an end to plastic.

“Anti-plastics campaigns are huge and growing – driven forward by Earth Day organizers and the UN’s upcoming, taxpayer-funded World Environment Day, which has chosen “Beat Plastic Pollution” as its theme this year. Most want all plastics eliminated, but some say it will be OK to continue making and using plastics – if they are manufactured from manmade biofuels. Of course that would mean growing more specialty plants on billions of acres of land that today is food crop land or wildlife habitat. Sadly, this insanity is what we have come to expect from activists who oppose drilling for, producing and using Mother Nature’s own biofuels: the oil and natural gas that natural geologic processes have put right under our feet.”


Now they’re waging war on plastics!

Earth Day Network’s misguided anti-plastic campaign is a sign of more nonsense to come

By Tom Harris

Earth Day Network (EDN) chose “End Plastic Pollution” as their theme for this year’s April 22 Earth Day. It is just the tip of the anti-plastic activism that now consumes environmental extremists. A Google search  on “Plastic Pollution Coalition(a group claiming to represent “more than 500 member organizations” dedicated to “working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts”) yields almost 90,000 hits, including a video actor Jeff Bridges made for the campaign.

Even the United Nations has joined in, making “Beat Plastic Pollution” the theme of its June 5 World Environment Day, “a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.”

But demanding heavy-handed action on the comparatively minor problems that plastics present makes no sense. To help the public assess these attacks against this miracle material, let’s consider what leading environmental thinkers have to say about issues EDN raised on Earth Day, beginning with its use of the term “Plastic Pollution.”

Canadian ecologist and Greenpeace cofounder Dr. Patrick Moore stresses that plastic is not toxic. “It’s litter, not pollution. Many people find it unsightly, and the solution is to educate people not to discard it into the environment and to organize, as is done on highways, to have it removed.”

EDN also says plastics are “poisoning and injuring marine life.” As Moore notes, “Plastic does not ‘poison’ anything. It’s non-toxic. Do they think our credit cards, made with PVC plastic, are ‘toxic’?” Of course, plastics can release toxins when burned, but not when they are simply littered into the general environment. So burning should be done under careful emission control standards.

“The main reason birds and fish eat bits of plastic is to get the food that is growing on them,” Moore adds. “But they’re both quite capable of passing bones and other fairly large objects through their digestive systems.” Plastics are no exception.

Paul Driessen, senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy, points out that “some animals do ingest plastics or get caught in plastic loops and nets. But the notion that marine life (and people) are being poisoned by chemicals in plastics has no scientific basis.”

EDN next complained about “the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food.” Moore responded, “This is complete nonsense. If a bit of plastic gets in our food it is passed right through the digestive system.”

“Plastic wraps and containers help preserve food and keep bacteria out,” Driessen emphasized. “Which is worse? Barely detectable trace amounts of chemicals in our bodies, or serious bacterial outbreaks?”

EDN also worried about plastic “disrupting human hormones.” Physician and lawyer John Dale Dunn, a lecturer in Emergency Medicine at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Texas, dismisses this concern. “Hormone disrupter scares … are based on junk science. Many extensive studies have shown no toxic or lethal effects from BPA, which is a beneficial chemical that has promoted progress and provided new products that are well received and very helpful.

“The debunking of hormone disruptor researchers and their claims has been definitive and devastating,” Dunn notes. “ director Steve Milloy also has been prolific in his criticisms of hormone disruptor junk science,” as this excellent article explains.

Bizarrely and unbelievably, EDN proclaimed plastic as “threatening our planet’s survival.” Reminiscent of how Comedian George Carlin poked fun at the plastics scare, Driessen dismisses this hyperbole. “Earth has survived huge meteor strikes, massive ice ages, Devonian and other mass extinctions, and other planetary calamities. Now plastics have usurped dangerous manmade climate change’s role as the threat to planetary survival!?”

EDN promotes “a global effort to eliminate primarily single-use plastics.” Steve Goreham, executive director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of “Outside the Green Box – Rethinking Sustainable Development,” responds: “Single use plastics are a boon for humanity. Packaging food in plastics instead of animal skins, wood, metal, glass and paper brings major sanitation, convenience and health benefits, as well as lower cost. The solution is biodegradable plastics for single-use products, not elimination of plastic.”

In keeping with their climate alarmism, EDN said they want “alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials.” Driessen replies: “It is absurd to suggest that non-oil and gas sources would make plastics better – or that it could be done without turning nearly the entire planet into a massive biofuel farm to provide energy and plastics. The impacts on water supplies, croplands and wildlife habitat lands would be devastating.”

As retired NASA-JSC engineer Alex Pope explains, “fossil fuels and fossil fuel products have made life better for billions of people on this Earth…. This better life is due to energy from fossil fuels and to fossil fuel products, especially plastic products.… The war against fossil fuels and fossil fuel products is all the same war. I think they know they are losing many parts of the war against using fossil fuels for energy,” so now they are cranking up the war against vital fossil fuel products that enhance and safeguard lives.

EDN wants “100% recycling of plastics.” Goreham brushed this idea aside. “100% recycling of plastics is not an economically sound policy. Either landfilling, incinerating, composting or recycling plastics is best, based on cost and applicability.  Today’s landfills are environmentally friendly in modern nations.”

EDN wants people to “reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle and remove plastics.” Driessen says “this will work in some places and cultures. But where people have no food, sanitation, clean water, jobs, electricity or real hope for the future, do you really think they will worry incessantly about plastics?”

The first Earth Day was held on 22 April 1970 in response to the legitimate concerns of millions of people that reducing air, land and water pollution needed to happen more quickly. The movement grew, until today Earth Day Network president Kathleen Rogers estimates that “more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.”

This should surprise no one. All sensible people are environmentalists. We want to enjoy clean air, land and water, and we like to think future generations will live in an even better environment. These were the original Earth Day objectives, and I am happy to have presented at Earth Day events in the early 1990s.

However, as Henry Miller and Jeff Stier observe in a Fox News article, “In recent years, Earth Day has devolved into an occasion for professional environmental activists and alarmists to warn of apocalypse, dish up anti-technology dirt, and proselytize. Passion and zeal now trump science, and provability takes a back seat to plausibility.” That is sending science and rational thinking backward hundreds of years.

All this demonstrates the wisdom of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposed rule to require that data underlying scientific studies used to justify federal environment and energy policies be open to public inspection and criticism. This means actual evidence, full independent peer review, and data, methodologies, computer codes and algorithms will no longer be kept secret.

Sterling Burnett, senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, calls Pruitt’s proposal “one small step for regulatory reform, one giant leap for scientific integrity and political transparency.” EDN and its allied groups should have to prove plastics are dangerous pollutants, before governments take any actions against them.

Meanwhile, Goreham reminds us how important plastics are to health and safety in modern societies. “They are a miracle material. We fabricate food containers, boat pad­dles, shoes, heart valves, pipes, toys, protective helmets and smart phones from plastic.”

Even EDN and some other anti-plastics groups seem to recognize that plastics are indispensable for numerous applications, since they also call for manufacturing these products. They just want them made from manmade hydrocarbons (biofuels, et cetera), instead of from the oil and natural gas that Mother Nature created and left beneath Earth’s surface for humanity to use to improve our lives in countless ways.

Hopefully, applying Pruitt’s new rule, and ignoring the groundless claims of extreme eco-activists, will ensure that plastics are with us for a long time to come.

Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Ontario-based International Climate Science Coalition.


30 thoughts on “Now they’re waging war on plastics!”

  1. how much more fossil fuel would be used to distribute glass containers of water, soda, and beer without the plastic bottles or fasteners on 6 packs? I am all for using more fossil fuel. co2 is plant food and we need more of it as the climate cools.

  2. Really life has survived multiple super volcanoes. Comet impacts, Ice ages and a few plastic bags and tin cans will destroy the planet

    • Are you sure? I know it sounds good: a Greenpeace founder who now disagrees w them. Wow! Must be a good guy. Nope, that’s just his bona fides. Here’s a quote by him on GMOs:

      “We are all genetically modified organisms, all 7 billion of us and every other creature on earth produced by sexual reproduction. I point this out because “genetically modified” has become a loaded term that is misused to describe recombinant DNA biotechnology, one of the most important technological advances in the 10,000-year history of agriculture. Throw in bogus, Hollywood-inspired terms like Franken Foods, Killer Tomatoes, and Terminator Seeds, and you have the makings of one of the most groundless anti-science campaigns in the history of anti-science campaigns.”

      Gee, GMOs are just like you and me.

  3. I think they focus on the proper disposal or reuse of plastic which makes sense to me. It’s a real problem not an imaginary one.

    • Then why aren’t they focused on the places where plastics are often improperly disposed of, like Brazil where the main river in Sao Paulo is littered with floating plastic. Asia is apparently a problem too.

    • I agree with you: the matter is how we manage the disposal of plastics. It is quite dangerous to throw it in our seas even if this doesen’t lead to mass extinction. Probably today we are “overpackaging” items…

  4. I notice wind turbine blades aren’t mentioned. They must be a politically correct plastic.

  5. I see more and more places banning plastic grocery bags, and wonder how long it will be before someone DIES from food poisoning after bringing their organic lettuce home in the same bag they used last week to bring back their free-range ground beef, that was harboring just a few little pathogens…

    • Good thinking Catherine. I guess one use of a disposable is to preserve hygiene all right.. For sure.

  6. Let those EDN anti-plastic zealots be the FIRST to eliminate plastic from their lives if it is so detrimental to humanity.

  7. If it’s global warming why are the walrus moving hundreds of miles south? There can be reasons, not sure what they’d be.

  8. Maybe yes, maybe no. Let’s grind some inert, safe plastic up and see if those pushing yummy plastics are willing to feed the harmless stuff to their loved ones. I will be more inclined to accept research consensus that plastics are safe if they do.

  9. “Plastic does not ‘poison’ anything. It’s non-toxic.”
    Of course it would be foolish to outlaw plastics as a class, but in fact some chemical ingredients of some plastics are quite toxic. We mustn’t allow our zeal to prove warmists wrong about EVERYTHING to deny actual toxins.

    This ludicrous war against all plastics has no chance of succeeding, and likely has not arisen spontaneously out of the activist culture. The activist program is paid for and controlled by TPTB. It’s possible the war against all plastics is a method to blackwash any responsible concern about ingredients in some plastics.

    We know there is a disquieting reduction of testosterone in males since 1995, and a possible cause is the pseudo-estrogens in the food supply, partially (mostly?) contributed by plastic containers. 95% of all plastics have tested estrogenic.

    We know that some ingredients in some plastics are carcinogenic. So far as I know, the main contributors of pseudo-estrogens and carcinogens are pesticides and plastics in contact with food & drink.
    If you want to know more, here’s a good starting point:

    I personally buy only dry foods in plastic containers & even these I transfer to mason jars. The few canned foods I eat don’t come in those white-lined cans, which contain BPA.

  10. The largest plastic sea polluters are in the BRICs with China leading the pack. However, the real polluting events have been the two massive Tidal Waves which dragged many thousands of tones of plastic in to the Indian Ocean and into the Central Pacific off Japan, some of which has now reach the NA coast. Europe is as bad with its major rivers carrying a tide of floating plastic with every major winter run off.
    Single use plastics are a waste of energy and hydrocarbons; they are a potential pollution which can be cleaned up. Plastic can be made reusable, or recyclable into a material which can have multiple reuses.
    Microbeads are a problem they don’t degrade, are easily carried by water and can enter the food chain, as are sand sized fragments of plastic.
    Plastic fantastic is the wonder tool of Globalisation; its formulation is to the cheapest value possible, hence its single use capability, yet changing its formulation can make it as useful as Aluminium in its recyclable capability as it takes far less energy to return it to its molten refined state.

  11. I have mixed feelings on this topic.

    On the minus side… since I live in a rural place I am very aware that when people are careless in how they dispose of plastic bags they get caught up in the wind, can fly onto pastures and create real hovac when they get caught in farm equipment. Also not good for wildlife or other animals if/when they accidentally get caught in them.

    On the other hand, we are all (even as I write) using plastics every time we use our computers, many of our clothing items, and as a person with arthritis… I need to use very light weight dishes, etc. and am prone to dropping things… where glass is a real issue.

    While I am not a fanatic by any means re: recycling… I think there are some great opportunities to reuse plastics… such as wearing garments made from Polartec or other types of fleece fabric made from recycled plastics. Cozy too!

    But I would like to see much more technology research into how to make plastics that are biodegradable… which I know they can do. There are some types of things one can use in the garden where they do this already, some kinds of weed mats for example. I’ve also seen some kinds of plastic dishes made from rice… (Amy’s soups comes to mind)… feel just like plastic but they can totally degrade. Makes more sense to focus on that than some other things. ha ha… .give me a computer I can plant in the garden for compost when it dies… yup! Why not??

  12. ARW is correct proper disposal and not littering is THE biggie.
    i reuse a lot of plastics till they rot in the sun, ie milk n others to water plants slowly, make chicken feeders block gaps in walls whatever I need on the day
    tomorrow i have a pup needed surgery and she wont be able to wear one of the collars normall used
    so i will be using the centre part of a PET bottle ,slit to enable fitting, to cover the area and stop her sisters helping her to remove bandages and keep it clean n dry, taped up along the join it will solve the issue very well
    once the alternative was leather and it would have been heavy and all too edible by the others.
    plastics being oil based is whats behind this ongoing scare.
    i suspect they really have to try bloody hard to find the victims of it in any area.

  13. i DO dislike plastic for food storage however, damned useless for us who preserve our own/make jam etc
    glass bottles are perfect and i still use some favorite jars that are over 40yrs old.

    • 40 years old? Pfft! We have some inherited from grandmother that are probably a century old.

  14. While I agree that the slovenly underclasses littering the world with plastic waste are a real problem, I wonder if others have observed that random TV shots of the oceans and their beaches in stories about things other than pollution generally contain no plastic waste at all, whereas shots that are promulgated by the green blob are piled high with plastic debris.
    Truthful reporting of the situation is enough to warrant our attention: gilding the lily is childish and foolish in the extreme and counter productive.

    • There are some countries where littering from plastics is such a big problem that random filming can hardly avoid it. India, for example.
      Rational choices should be made for the use of various packaging materials — for example, glass bottles should not be used for beverages, because drunks often smash them in the streets, and gun enthusiasts use them for target practice — so it’s better to use plastic for beverages.

  15. This is the kind of Green socalist, AGW, 1984 dicatorship thought the people in the UK have to put up with, as well as pay taxes to support the Fake News propagander service called the BBC.

    Oxford Professor: Rich People Fuel Climate Change, “We’re Not Controlling Them”
    Eric Worrall / 3 hours ago May 17, 2018

    Oxford Trinity College High Table

    Oxford Trinity College High Table. By Winky from Oxford, UK (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
    Guest essay by Eric Worrall

    The British government owned BBC has hosted a talk from privileged Oxford Professor Danny Dorling, demanding that rich people (which includes everyone from the USA) be “controlled” for the good of the planet.

    i’m Danny Dorling, I’m professor of Geography at University of Oxford, and in my very humble opinion one of the worst things about high economic inequality is it damages the environment.

    High economic inequality is extremely damaging to the environment, because the greedy do not know how to control themselves.

    Thomas Piketty, who is a brilliant economist from Paris, has done incredible detailed work recently, looking at the consumption and pollution patterns of the richest one percent, and he has shown that the richest one percent disproportionately contribute to greenhouse gasses and to carbon pollution which are damaging our planet.

    This is because they buy so many things they do not need, because money is not an issue for them.

    It’s because they have so many homes that they travel between, is because when they travel they don’t travel in a sustainable way. At the extreme they’re flying in private jets; there isn’t a better way to heat up the planet and damage our environment than to fly in a private jet and they need to learn the importance of this.

    Because climate change is the biggest threat that we’re facing, and we’re partly facing it because we’re allowing the greedy people to carry on being greedy, and we’re not controlling them for the good of everyone.


  16. Scotland’s environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, announced that Scotland would be the first in the world to ban cotton buds with plastic stems.

    Not quite sure whether this refers to artificial flowers or Q-tips, but either way pretty silly.

    • Actually, it does make sense to ban single-use plastics, when biodegradable substitutes are available and cheap. Where single-use plastics are the only good option, recycling should be a built-in part of the usage strategy.

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