My vision of future, multicolored, plasticky beaches is perhaps far-fetched, but plastic pollution is a verifiable threat to life in the world’s oceans, and both plastic production and recycling are air, water, and ground polluting enterprises of their own.  Nonetheless, plastic packaging is everywhere–plastic bags, plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic cartons, bubble wrap, styrofoam. It is inescapable.  I can no longer find my favorite powdered laundry detergent in a cardboard box, only plastic bottles of, I presume, more profitable progress in liquid form.  Also, most of my landfill bound trash is non-recyclable, non-biodegradable plastic.  I understand the concern for food safety, but surely there are other, non-polluting options, and, yes, I am aware detergents pose environmental problems, particularly those with micro plastics.  Can anyone save us from ourselves?

Robert Porath


Human Sparked Climate Change

To the Editor:

The frustrating aspect of the denial of human sparked climate change is that it chooses to ignore the basic chemistry of oxidation, particularly that of the combustion of fossil fuels.  The carbon, hydrogen, and energy present in oil, natural gas, and coal have lain dormant in the earth for millions of years.  When burned, these element combine with oxygen and release levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, and heat (plus various other chemical compounds) that are now active in the atmosphere.  Climate science is the attempt to understand what this means for the future of every living thing on the planet.  This part is not simple science.  It is globally complex.  Climate scientists have been threatened with losing funding for their research by pro-industry Republicans since the Bush Administration and are wary, with reason, of speaking out forcefully, but to set this exploration aside is not only short-sighted, it is dangerous.

Robert Porath