They paved paradise and put up an all-inclusive resort

by Allen Cox

When a mangrove falls and there's no one there to hear, does it make a splash? You'd think the answer would be a resounding “yes.” But when nearly an entire coastline of mangroves fell along the Mexican Caribbean from north of Cancun to Tulum, business interests turned a deaf ear and environmentalists wept.

Of course, the trees didn't fall all at once with a single tsunami-inducing splash. Instead, it was one little splash after another over the course of four decades. One tree after another. Splash. One grove after another. These mangroves, as well as the dune plants and the jungle beyond, were standing in the way of progress. Now, they are not standing at all.

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The Future is Plastic, Son

by Eric Lucas

Birth control for bags.

photo via Flickr by Zaiub

That’s what I’m aiming for, but there is immense, widespread, billion-dollar opposition to my personal vendetta against plastic bags. Such as the grocery clerk at a golf resort I was visiting who told me:

“You have to take a bag. It’s the law.”

“Law?” I inquired. I admit I sounded skeptical. Possibly scornful.

“Liquor.” She pursed her lips and pointed to the six-pack on the counter. “State law. Gotta be in a bag. Paper or plastic?”

Ah, the question of the moment, wherever you go, at home, on the road… Bags. San Francisco banned plastic bags in 2007. Los Angeles ducked the issue in 2008, because the plastic bag lobby convinced them civilization would collapse. China, the oldest civilization around and not collapsed yet, banned the infernal things, hoping to curb the proliferation of them as neo-prayer flags hanging on trees, wires, fences and such, which is what I saw when I was there three years ago. And now my home city, Seattle, is about to vote whether to impose a 20-cent charge on bags. This has riled the plastic industry, which dumped a million bucks on convincing us Left Coasters that free plastic is essential to life. Like credit cards, only stretched out.

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