A man may defecate with impunity on the streets of San Francisco. Should he choose to shoot heroin while using the citywide open-air john, the government will step in only to offer him a clean needle. Excremental and pharmacological waste litters the sidewalks of the once-Golden City. Environmental activists pay no heed. They have more important regulations to enforce — like banning water bottles at the airport.
Yesterday, San Francisco Airport officially banned the sale of plastic water bottles in the name of environmental protection. The new rule won’t achieve that goal. The airport will continue to sell plastic bottles of soda, juice, and sports drinks. But environmental regulations have never sought primarily to protect the environment. The rules seek chiefly to inconvenience. When it comes to environmental regulation, the cruelty is the point.
Air travel dehydrates people. A grown man might lose up to half a gallon of water during a ten-hour flight, and travelers haven’t been permitted to carry their own water past security since 2006. So while the new ban on plastic water bottles will fail to reduce plastic consumption by any meaningful amount, it will succeed at raising awareness about environmental issues. A secular penance, the rule recalls your secular sin: pollution. Each thirsty layover strikes like another lash of the discipline. Mea culpa! mea culpa! mea maxima culpa!
Many of the environmental rules not only fail to protect the natural environment, they actually increase the damage. In 2016, the state of California banned single-use plastic grocery bags. A study three years later by University of Sydney economist Rebecca Taylor showed that after the ban plastic consumption actually increased. Shoppers who had previously reused plastic grocery bags for household trash bought thicker, more environmentally damaging plastic bags in their absence.
How about the environmentalists’ decision to replace plastic grocery bags with paper? A 2011 study from Britain’s Environment Agency found paper significantly more harmful to the planet than plastic. The pulp and energy required to produce paper means that one must reuse a paper bag three times to bring its environmental impact down to the level of single-use plastic.
Many grocers offer reusable cotton bags as a green alternative to both paper and plastic. But a 2018 study from Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food found those bags to be the most environmentally harmful of all. One would need to reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times to bring its per use environmental impact down to the level of a regular old plastic bag.
How did environmental activists react to the studies’ findings? Did they admit their error and hurry to restore the popular plastic bags? No. Like all other cultists, the green apostles persisted in peddling their false religion, with its sin of pollution, atonement of recycling, “climate change”-mageddon, and even the sale of indulgences in carbon tax credits.
The zealots fail to save Mother Earth or anyone else. At least they’ll make you suffer for your sins.