We were talking about the problem of too much plastic in the world.
I said, “What we really need is compostable plastic, a plastic that biodegrades after a short time. Why don’t we have that?”
My friend replied, “I’m talking about what we can do right now, not something that may never be invented.”
I said, “Well, my philosophy is that when I think of an idea like compostable plastic, someone who IS in a position to make that a reality will get the idea, and do it. Either that, or they are already working on the idea.”
I continued, “If I create an idea, it is the first step toward achieving it, even if I am not the one who actually brings the idea into reality. This is how our thoughts influence reality. We can bring forth ideas without implementing them directly.”
This is also why “activism” can backfire. Activists often spend a lot of energy trying to stop or block existing systems instead of creating newer, better systems.
We should spend our energy building products, services, and systems that people will freely use, not because they are forced to, but because they are better.
In the case of plastic, sure, it would be great if everyone brought their own shopping bag every time they went to buy something. That is a worthy goal. But plastic is very pervasive because it is useful. It will be difficult to solve the problem of plastic by asking people not to use it, especially in developing countries. Compostable plastic that biodegrades would be one possible solution. I’m sure the concept already exists, it just hasn’t gone mainstream yet. I know there are other ideas that would also help solve the problem of too much plastic.
I can already hear the retorts… Yeah, but compostable plastic would be too “expensive”. There are always objections and hurdles to anything new. But, often, those hurdles can be overcome.
For example, I see some stores are now charging 5 or 10 cents for a plastic bag. This is a good idea. In my mind, the cost should be 50 cents or $1 for a plastic bag. This would generally deter people from using plastic, and probably cover the cost of a compostable or reusable bag. And while I don’t really agree with the idea of taxes (it requires coercion based on violence), if you are going to tax something, tax plastic! Those taxes could be used to start cleaning up the oceans and other parts of our environment. A global plastic tax would go a long way toward funding cleanup initiatives.
My point here isn’t really to debate the best way to eliminate plastic from society, my point is when you have thoughts and ideas, they will start to percolate out into the universal consciousness and begin to take form in reality. Think wisely!