Holy Wars

A few weeks ago a mate asked me if I thought the climate change hysteria would begin to die down as skepticism increases and the alarmists’ predictions fail to materialise. The infantile reaction to Greta Thunberg’s nonsense aside, I think environmentalists are already forging ahead with Plan B:

Today, it has become clear that plastic is having a devastating effect not only on wildlife but on ourselves. It is now polluting every corner of our planet. I have seen first-hand, how it is choking our oceans and rivers.

It entangles animals with lethal effect. It causes perforated stomachs and starvation. Mammals, birds, fish and marine invertebrates – over 180 different species in all – have been identified accidentally eating it.

But the impact on humans is less well known. Now a report published jointly by the conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International and others highlights for the first time the effect of plastic waste on the health of the world’s poorest people.

It shows that 400,000 to one million people are dying every year as a result of mismanaged waste. If the upper end of this estimate is correct, then one person is dying every 30 seconds as a consequence of this dreadful pollution.

In the space of about three years plastic in the ocean has gone from something fringe campaigners banged on about to being ubiquitous in media, politics, and business. Barely a day goes by without somebody reminding us how much plastic is in the ocean and how terrible it is (although never actually admitting where it comes from).

As always, the proposed solutions are bans, restrictions, and higher prices imposed by central government following an increase in power, money, and privilege for politicians and environmental campaigners. Nobody considers more practical solutions (such as proper landfill whose CO2 emissions are captured), just as those claiming climate change is an imminent, existential threat refuse to endorse nuclear power. The plastic issue is cloaked in the language of morality whereby plastic is bad because it’s artificial but clearing the rainforest to grow plant-based alternatives is good. Whereas climate change was a political movement which became a quasi-religious one, the war on plastic is a spiritual campaign in which wealthy, middle-class mothers seek to capture politics in order to advance their cause. You’ll notice that of all the plastic items deemed unnecessary by our moral superiors, women’s cosmetic products never make the list. Nor do disposable nappies. If you were to get accurate data on how many men are really on board with environmentalism, organic produce, and bans on junk food compared with those who just wearily go along with whatever their partner deems important, I’d guess the latter outnumber the former ten to one.

So while I don’t think the climate change hysteria will die down, I reckon it my lose prominence to moral crusades such as the war on plastic. Climate change was always political, a route to power for authoritarians who found socialism no longer an option due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. But as western societies scrabbled around for something to fill the vacuum left by the departure of Christianity, it took on a religious bent. Now that seed has been planted we’re seeing cults forming for whom politics is the means to their spiritual ends. They’re already calling for the customary dietary restrictions. I expect what we’ll see is new cults springing up – indeed, identity politics probably already qualifies, perhaps third-wave feminism too – and fight among one another for state recognition, support, and resources. Meanwhile normal people will think they’re in the middle of a Third Great Awakening, dominated by box-wine suburban housewives, corporate power skirts with a repeat prescription for Prozac, children in Ralph Lauren jumpers with double-barreled surnames, and twenty-eight year olds who still live with their parents because they don’t like the idea of being on a cleaning roster.

It’s going to be fun, isn’t it?

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35 thoughts on “Holy Wars

  1. The Scientific American article showing 93% of plastic waste in the ocean is via 10 rivers is staggering. Bet we never see that on the BBC.

  2. “You’ll notice that of all the plastic items deemed unnecessary by our moral superiors, women’s cosmetic products never make the list. Nor do disposable nappies”

    Not sure about the former, but regarding the latter our local council is always banging on about disposable nappies, and how there are grants available to switch to reusable ones (yes really, there are, that’s what the government thinks it should be spending money on).

    Personally, with my youngest child we use both, the disposable ones when out and about so we don’t have to carry soiled nappies around with us and the reusable ones when we are at home and can be bothered. But if it were up to me it would be disposables all the way simply for convenience not having to wash them – I’m definitely in your category of people who “just wearily go along with whatever their partner deems important” and have learned long ago not to bother arguing with my wife about the costs and benefits of certain so-called eco-friendly changes. There are probably a lot of people like me I think 🙂

  3. I think an even better example of something plastic which mothers wouldn’t give up is baby wipes. They are (apparently) a major problem in the sewage system and the Thames is (again, apparently) becoming clogged with them. This is because so many people flush them when they ought to bin them.

    So that’s a genuine problem and it’s happening right here, in this country, and yet they came for our drinking straws…

  4. Tim, they are going after women’s cosmetic products. Those microbeads in ladies’ shampoos are a grave threat, apparently.
    The clue is in the “micro”. Frankly it wouldn’t bother me if my breakfast cereal was frosted with microbeads. I’d just shit them out later.
    If plastic waste were as ubiquitous as They make out, it would be economic to harvest and recycle. But it’s not. Even natural processes of concentrating plastic, such as the North Pacific Gyre only suck in small amounts. Which is why no actual photograph of this waste exists.

  5. I think an even better example of something plastic which mothers wouldn’t give up is baby wipes.

    That’s an excellent example.

  6. Those microbeads in ladies’ shampoos are a grave threat, apparently.

    Ah yes, but this is a classic case of the unseen evil which must be stamped out. But nobody talks about the plastics used to package lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, foundation, etc. – products half the global population happily do without.

  7. Nor do disposable nappies…

    Oh, they do, and they will even more. I bet the few remaining diaper laundry services are already seeing the uptick in business. Women love making moral crusades about how other women raise their children, and what products they purchase in doing so. (See: breast vs. bottle.)

  8. I’m not denying that plastic in the oceans is terrible and I feel sick thinking about the effect on animals. It’s a very cruel death. I think that would be a good enough reason to clear what is there. I also haven’t read the article that cited the up to one million human deaths so I could be reading to much into the next part… But wouldn’t ‘mismanaged waste’ deaths be more likely to refer to those that result from poor sewerage management and waterborne disease, rather than plastic? It struck me like the figures re rape and sexual assault… The horrible repercussions of rape are stated breathlessly and One in Five women will suffer…. Erm… Unwanted sexual contact.

  9. Oh, they do, and they will even more.

    I’m wondering how many will start their crusade once their last child is out of nappies, though.

  10. I’m not denying that plastic in the oceans is terrible and I feel sick thinking about the effect on animals.

    The amount of crap – including plastic – being dumped in the oceans is a genuine, terrible problem. But it is not developed, western populations that are doing it.

  11. I’m wondering how many will start their crusade once their last child is out of nappies, though.

    Lol

  12. Just think about how eco-unfriendly modern houses are: all those huge ugly pits to dig up limestone and iron ore from, all those trees to cut down… So it’s all the way back to all-natural caves then, I suppose?

  13. the war on plastic is a spiritual campaign in which wealthy, middle-class mothers seek to capture politics in order to advance their cause

    Spot on. Same demo that’s responsible for shitty media, gender politics, and the status quo in government education, to name a few. Same demo that, a century earlier, managed to get booze banned in the US via constitutional amendment despite woeful popular support.

    When are wealthy, middle class fathers going to stop going along with this shit?

  14. “It shows that 400,000 to one million people are dying every year as a result of mismanaged waste.”

    A little arithmetic. Setting aside the dynamics of population growth for a moment, there are approximately 7 Billion human beings on Planet Earth. If we assume an average 70 year life span, we would expect 100 Million human beings to die every year. Even 1 Million people dying prematurely because of “mismanaged waste” is probably trivial compared, say, to the number of African children who die from malaria because the same Usual Suspects banned DDT.

    But please, no landfills for plastic waste. Far better to burn the stuff, generating useful electric power and releasing life-giving plant food (CO2) into the atmosphere, where Mother Nature can recycle it into new growth just as she has been doing for hundreds of millions of years.

  15. The plastic waste mostly comes from the same 10 rivers, so they should put nets across those rivers to collect the waste before it goes in the ocean, and sell it to Trump to build his wall with.

  16. “Mammals, birds, fish and marine invertebrates – over 180 different species in all – have been identified accidentally eating it.”

    Not just accidentally. Our 7 month old cockerpoo seeks out plastic and will happily consume it at her leisure. It makes her shit quite interesting; you can sometimes read the odd word or phrase in it…

  17. It makes her shit quite interesting; you can sometimes read the odd word or phrase in it…

    Like a ministerial briefing document, then? Or a Theresa May speech?

  18. It is a classic modern problem – the source is overwhelmingly ‘abroad’ from foreigners, and this is a simple fact easily found, but a media and political class pretends that it isn’t. Just another example of their dishonesty.

  19. Do any of these people have jobs to go to? I spent most of my life concerned with earning and living in general, ’causes’ never got through to me and I reckon I got the best end of things.

  20. The third wave Feminists have the answer to disposable nappies . Ban babies.

  21. My prediction on next “ban” as killing polar bears & people:

    Burning wood/charcoal, bye bye 12 July & 5 Nov Bonfires and BBQs especially the foil tray disposable type.

    Messer Gove already promoting it with war on wood burning stoves that Gov’t subsidises – google RHI and RHI NI

    It’s repeat of diesel cars; these idiots are running & ruining our country; begone all prodnose miserabilists.

  22. It is a bit like Gun Control. It has nothing to do with guns but a hell of a lot to do with control.

    Similarly the Victorian Governess telling one of her charges “Go and find your brother, find out what he is doing and tell him to stop it”. More of a mind set than anything to do with common sense.

  23. If I wanted to trick people into handing increasing amounts of power to the state, dropping climate change for plastic in the ocean as my main cause would be a bad idea.

    Climate change is an idea that can’t be disproven and could be obfuscated about for decades (and has).

    Plastic in the oceans is an idea that can be solved the moment anyone with a brain looks at it; nets across rivers, use of cheap subsidised hemp bags in places like India, etc.

    Don’t expect the clinate change industrial complex to go away in our lifetimes.

  24. If I wanted to trick people into handing increasing amounts of power to the state, dropping climate change for plastic in the ocean as my main cause would be a bad idea.

    This is exactly right. It’s why I think climate change is a nakedly political project whereas plastic in the ocean is a spiritual one for which politics is merely the mechanism by which the morals are enforced.

  25. What happened to all those campaigns against glass bottles. Did they cur themselves, cull themselves or die of old age?

  26. The main symptom that you’re dealing with a religion is the priestly caste. The Quakers and Puritans wisely decided to abolish what they saw as wizards, self-appointed intermediaries between worshipper and God. Fast forward to the late Twentieth and early Twenty-First centuries. There’s a post at Federalist (I follow all viewpoints) regarding where the news used to be semi-objective fact, it’s now all opinions. That’s our new priestly caste, our beloved journalists, people who tell us what to think so that we don’t have to deal directly with reality. No risk of cognitive dissonance when facts don’t enter the equation at all.

  27. The main symptom that you’re dealing with a religion is the priestly caste.

    Yes, and as with most religions they are the main problem.

  28. Michael van der Riet
    “That’s our new priestly caste, our beloved journalists, people who tell us what to think so that we don’t have to deal directly with reality.”

    Journalism used to be a blue collar job, then the universities took over the training. Now they churn out endless propagandized students who are there not because it was a way to make a living, but as a platform to promote their activism.

    It really is the march through the institutions.

  29. Tim Newman

    “This is exactly right. It’s why I think climate change is a nakedly political project whereas plastic in the ocean is a spiritual one for which politics is merely the mechanism by which the morals are enforced.”

    The use of a cotton bag to hold one’s shopping is a modern sacrament.

  30. Michael van der Riet – The main symptom that you’re dealing with a religion is the priestly caste. The Quakers and Puritans wisely decided to abolish what they saw as wizards, self-appointed intermediaries between worshipper and God. Fast forward to the late Twentieth and early Twenty-First centuries. …our new priestly caste, our beloved journalists, people who tell us what to think…

    I don’t know about the Quakers, but the new priestly caste are Puritans through and through. They just swapped God for “98% of scientists”.

  31. Bit late to the discussion, but two points worth mentioning.

    About 10 years ago there was another health scare, this one about Bisphenol A in baby bottles and similar things. All the manufacturers started printing “Contains no Bisphenol A” on their baby bottles, so all the parents threw out their old bottles and bought new ones. No-one talked about plastic in the oceans during those months.

    Second, I remember reading about this article a year or so ago, and I remember a claim that I never saw contradicted: that the 93% (or whatever) was not out of ALL thew plastic entering the oceans, but only of that plastic which enters via rivers – that is, a miniscule %age of all plastic in the oceans. This robs the article of its significance. Has anyone here actually read the article (I have not), and can say for certain whether or not this claim is false?

  32. Climate change is an evidentiary fact to anyone with an interest in History.
    Anthropological Climate Change is akin to the South Sea Bubble, investing heavily in tulips and burning witches.
    It distresses me to see what a shithole Great Britain has become.
    If it’s,any consolation Australia isn’t far behind.
    Since when aremGovernments meant to make our lives miserable?

  33. David Moore, should we be using cotton shopping bags what with cotton plantation owners’ part in the slave trade?

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