The Graduate is a great film, with an enduring effect on our culture. But one scene in the film called out a phenomenon that will have an even more enduring effect on our planet: “Just one word”
In the first global analysis of plastic production and use, the true weight of the world’s most flexible material has been brought to light. By 2015, humans had generated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. Of that, 6.3 billion is waste, with just nine per cent of it recycled. The majority, 79 per cent, is piled-up in landfills.
To put this staggering quantity in perspective, 8.3 billion metric tons is the same weight as 80 million blue whales, or 822,000 Eiffel Towers, or one billion elephants. The research was conducted by the University of Georgia, the University of California and others and is published in the journal Science Advances.
The scene in question:
Now, do you think you could stop buying plastic bottles? Like right away? Today? What does half-life mean? And… scene.
We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses. We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home. By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life. We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish.
So there’s that. The Pontiff makes all kinds of pronouncements all the time and is also against birth control of any kind, so I’m not sure what kind of impact this will have. And besides, I don’t endorse his/their views on all things just because he agrees with me on this one thing.
But you do wonder about the role this kind of endorsement has on the low-lying populace. JR calls it the ‘pray for science’ approach.