Friday, January 18, 2019

Don’t ban plastic bags!

Learn the facts about plastic versus paper bags – and bag the bans, instead

Hal Shurtlef

Like dozen towns and cities in Massachusetts and other states, Boston recently enacted a ban on plastic shopping bags. It went into effect December 14, 2018. It was a relatively easy vote, because “evil” plastic bags have received extensive bad press that generally ignores important facts.

The same holds true in other jurisdictions, especially those controlled by Democrats who a generation ago cared about American workers, but today too often subjugate the needs of blue collar families to demands by college educated and environmentalist elites, and even noisy grade school kids.

For example, when Los Angeles was talking about banning plastic bags, employees from a business that manufactured plastic bags spoke in person to the city council, begging it not to ban their products. The company employed hundreds of low-skilled people, paid them well and gave them excellent benefits. Many of the employees had worked there for years because they were treated so well.

They presented rational, factual information about their plastic bags. But the city council enacted the ban anyway, put the company out of business, and left the employees jobless, some of them likely homeless.

And of course it’s not just plastic bags. Los Angeles just banned plastic straws, and the state legislature is preparing to ban the straws statewide. Santa Barbara, CA banned all single use plastics: no more plastic forks, spoons, knives, Styrofoam cups and take-out boxes. Paper and cardboard only, from now on.

It is all social engineering and fake environmental protection by decree.

Here are some essential facts that you and government officials need to consider carefully in the future.

Plastic shopping bags made in the United States are made from natural gas, not oil – and America has at least another century of natural gas right under our feet. Moreover, plastic grocery bags require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper bags. In fact, it takes far more raw materials and fossil fuel energy to grow and harvest trees, make pulp and turn it into paper bags, than to make plastic bags.

Manufacturing plastic bags also consumes less than 4% of the water needed to make paper bags. In the process, plastic bags produce fewer greenhouse gases per use than paper or cotton bags.

It then takes seven trucks to deliver the same number of paper bags that a single truck can haul if the bags are made from plastic. That means it also takes far more (mostly fossil fuel) energy to transport reusable and paper bags than it does to transport plastic bags.

EPA data show that plastic bags make up only 0.5 % of the U.S. municipal waste stream. Plastic bags are 100% reusable and recyclable, and many stores make that process simple.

Reusable and paper bags take up far more space than plastic bags in landfills, and the airless environment of landfills means paper bags do not decompose for years, or even decades.

Most reusable bags are made in China and Vietnam, then shipped to the USA in fossil fuel burning cargo ships. Reusable bags are made from heavier and thicker plastic or cotton, which takes more energy to produce, even if it’s recycled fabric or plastic. A reusable bag must be used no less than 132 times before having a “greener” environmental impact that a plastic grocery bag.

Reusable bags aren’t recyclable, and reusable bag giveaways are environmentally costly when unwanted bags end up in the dumpster, often after one or even no use.

Research from Arizona has determined that few people wash their reusable grocery shopping bags, 8% of reusable bags harbor E. coli bacteria, and nearly all unwashed bags harbor other pathogenic bacteria.

Some stores have seen declines in business. One Solana Beach, CA business saw a 25% decline in business following the implementation of a plastic bag ban. A Grocery Outlet Store told a Portland, Oregon newspaper that it lost over $10,000 to shoplifters walking in with and using their own reusable bag to exit with merchandise without going through checkout lines.

Other stores reported losses of hand-carried plastic and metal grocery baskets due to bans.

Following Seattle’s ban, store owners surveyed post-ban reported seeing their costs for carryout bags increase between 40 and 200 %

The City of Boston implemented its ban in defiance of the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section, 8, Clause 3, the Commerce Clause, and the Massachusetts Constitution, amended Article 2, which prohibits municipalities from enacting private or civil laws governing civil relationships. Other governments have no doubt ignored U.S. and state laws and constitutions in enacting their bans.

They are often enabled by entities like the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), a United Nations subdivision founded in 1990 to implement the goals of Agenda 21, now called Agenda 2030. Massachusetts Green Communities, and Vision Boston 2030 have all labeled plastic bags a “public enemy,” despite the above-mentioned facts.

Bad science and emotionalism lead to bad laws. But you can take steps to stop the madness.

Read and use the “Bag the Ban” flyers that our Camp Constitution organization developed. Watch our video on plastic versus paper bags. Write to me at

Contact your elected officials, and demand that the bans be lifted.

Refuse to pay the 5 to 10 cents per bag that your city forces store owners to charge.

Encourage store owners to fight the ban. If enough of them worked together, bans could be overturned. The Texas Supreme Court has overturned bans on plastic bags. Other courts could do likewise.

We all care about our environment and planet. But we should be protecting those values from real dangers, employing actions that actually work.

Via email

Climate change activists say we should eat just 14g of meat a DAY

More from Fascists who never stop trying to impose their own ideas on the rest of us

Climate change activists have called for global veganism by 2050 and recomended we each eat only 14 grams of meat a day. The amount is little more than a AAA battery, which weighs 12g - nowhere near enough to enjoy a burger or a steak.

The recommendation was published in an article for British journal The Lancet. Meat production is a major cause of global warming and is endangering our planet, the article says.  'Strong evidence indicates that food production is among the largest drivers of global environmental change by contributing to climate change,' it reads.

'Healthy diets have an appropriate caloric intake and consist of a diversity of plant-based foods.'

'Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts, including a greater than 50 per cent reduction in global consumption of unhealthy foods, such as red meat and sugar, and a greater than 100 per cent increase in, consumption of healthy foods, such as nuts, fruits.'

The paper, whose chief author is Tamara Lucas, has called for global veganism by 2050.

Livestock are responsible for about 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The world needs to produce an estimated 50 per cent more food to support nearly 10 billion people by 2050, according to the United Nations.

Unless things change, this could increase the impact of food production on the environment by up to 90 percent by 2050, to a level where the planet is no longer a 'safe operating space for humanity'.

The prevent that, everyone should switch to diets rich in green vegetables, fruit and nuts and low in red meat and diary products, according to recent research funded by Scandinavian think tank EAT.

The amount of food thrown away - currently a third of the total - would also need to be halved and best practices to boost yields, recycle fertilizers and improve water management adopted worldwide.


Exposed: The myth that the world is going to hell! Seven incredible charts that prove the world IS becoming a better place - despite all the doom and gloom

Zombie films are breaking records, apocalyptic plot lines seem to dominate TV and both sides of the political divide can't seem to stop lamenting the demise of the civilized world as we know it.

But a closer look at the state of the world paints a rosier picture - with humankind better off, in myriad ways, than it has ever been before. Worldwide, life expectancies are up, child mortality rates are down and global income inequality has fallen, according to late Swedish academic Hans Rosling.

In his book, 'Factfulness,' Rosling outlines the countless ways that the world has become a better place over the past century – important global context, he says, for the problems that preoccupy our minds and color our perspectives.

'I'm talking about fundamental improvements that are world-changing but are too slow, too fragmented, or too small one-by-one to ever qualify as news,' Rosling wrote. 'I'm talking about the secret silent miracle of human progress.'

For example, each day an estimated 200,000 people worldwide are lifted above the $2-a-day poverty line. And more than 300,000 people gain access to electricity and clean water for the first time, every single day.

Overall, Rosling maintained that there are several key metrics that prove that the world should be more optimistic about the future. German economist Max Roser illustrated many of those same metrics on his data visualization website, Our World in Data.

1. Fewer people live in poverty now than any other time in history

While income inequality in the U.S. continues to grow, the worldwide distribution of wealth has become more equitable since 1800, when much of the world lived on less than $2 a day.

Over the past 20 years, the proportion of people in the world who are living in extreme poverty has been cut in half.

'This is absolutely revolutionary,' Rosling writes in 'Factfulness.' 'I consider it to be the most important change that has happened in the world in my lifetime.'

However, when Rosling and his team polled Americans, only 5 percent were able to correctly identify how the proportion of people living in poverty has changed in recent decades.

Rosling maintained that it was just one of many widespread, negative misconceptions that we hold about the world – which Rosling called an 'overdramatic worldview.'

'In fact, the vast majority of the world's population lives somewhere in the middle of the income scale,' he wrote. 'Perhaps they are not what we think of as middle class, but they are not living in extreme poverty. Their girls go to school, their children get vaccinated, they live in two-child families and they want to go abroad on holiday, not as refugees.'

2. Life expectancy is higher across the globe than ever before

Life expectancy across Europe during the Industrial Revolution hovered around 35 years – a number likely held down by high infant and child mortality rates, widespread disease in the pre-antibiotics era and high rates of women dying in childbirth.

Now life expectancy worldwide is nearly 72 years – an astounding achievement of modern medicine. In the Americas alone it reached 76.9 by 2015.

Rosling attributed the longer life expectancies to the fact that 'basic modernizations have reached most people and improved their lives drastically. They have plastic bags to store and transport food. They have plastic buckets to carry water and soap to kill germs.'

3. Worldwide child mortality rates have dropped significantly

Child mortality rates have also fallen steadily over the past century, reaching a low in 2015 of 4.5 percent of children around the globe dying before age 5.

Compare that to 1950 when more than 22 percent of the world's children died before age 5. Even in the U.S. that number was 19.7 percent in 1950.

Again, the contributions of modern medicine and improved public safety has helped eliminate many common causes of infant and child mortality.

'A lot of what went right was public health interventions,' Roser told 'The water supply today is much safer, has less pathogens that vulnerable children can succumb to and another big public health intervention is vaccinations. A lot of the diseases which previously killed millions of children were ones for which we developed vaccines.' 

'It's also just an improvement in overall living conditions,' added Roser, whose work parallels Rosling's. 'The fact that people are much better nourished, that education has improved and people have a better understanding of how to ensure their children stay healthy, (and they have) better housing conditions.'

4. Overpopulation is not going to be a problem anytime soon

Those worried about overpopulation may be happy to learn that fertility rates are falling worldwide, down to an average of 2.49 children per woman in 2015 compared to of 5.5 children per woman in 1950. The U.S. alone is down from 3.58 children in 1958 to 1.91 children in 2011.

'We definitely know this population growth is coming to an end because the number of children born in the world is close to its peak already and the number of children born per women has halved,' Roser said.

Much of the decrease in fertility rates is linked to improving conditions for women around the world, he added.

As women gain educations, footing in the workforce and access to birth control, they are able to determine for themselves if 'they prefer that life to having seven children at home,' Roser said.

The fertility numbers are also connected to the decrease in child morbidity - when fewer children are expected to die young, women don't need to have as many children to ensure that at least one child survives.

5. Global economies have been growing, driving up income levels

At the same time, the Gross Domestic Product (the value of all goods and services produced in a country) in developed nations has been growing by roughly 2 percent a year for the past 150 years – causing income levels to approximately double every 36 years.

The GDP ebbs and flows with the economy, taking dips during recessions and the Great Depression, but overall its growth rate has been a constant in the west.

Ultimately the rise in incomes and in GDP per capita are like the metaphorical chicken and egg. While a rising GDP pushes up incomes, so too, do rising incomes drive GDP by providing more disposable income for citizens of a country to spend on its goods.

Meanwhile, countries with lower incomes, such as China and India, have been growing at even faster rates during the past several decades and are beginning to catch up to Europe and America.

In addition, Roser says the poorer, less-advanced countries have benefited from the technologies and innovations of the developed world - affecting everything from nutrition to vaccinations, or even large-scale manufacturing efficiencies.

6. Worldwide, fewer people live under authoritarian governments

In other good news, more people around the world – some 55.8 percent – are living in Democracies than any other time in human history, Rosling noted. That's compared to 31.4 percent in 1950.

As of 2015, just 23.23 percent of the world's population lived in an autocracy – a system of government in which one person holds absolute power – and 90 percent of them are in China. Compare that to 1980 when 43.6 percent of the world lived under an autocracy.

Roser attributes this in part to the rapid information sharing now possible through the news and social media. As a society becomes more educated and has greater access to information about how its leaders are managing (or mismanaging) their country, citizens become empowered to push back against authoritarian leaders.

In addition, the rapid pace of technological developments creates a more dynamic economy, making it harder for wealth to be limited to those who have inherited it.

'Once you have a much more agile transformed society where people do have the chance to rise from poor backgrounds to much more powerful backgrounds, they are much less likely to accept the status quo,' Roser said.

7. This is a time of relative peace, with fewer international conflicts

Finally, Rosling observes that international conflicts and wars are actually on the decline after centuries of unrest. Since roughly 1500, two or more of the world's most powerful countries have been at war more than half of the time.

While conflicts in Syria and Yemen are currently creating massive humanitarian crises, it's notable that there has been no war in Western Europe for about three generations.

'Many people overestimate how many people are killed in conflict because there is a lot of news coverage of these items,' Roser said.

'If you look at the number of people who are killed by terrorism for 2016, 0.06 percent of the people that died in 2016 died because of terrorist attacks,' Roser added. 'And if we include conflict, that's a fifth of a percent. So much, much less than a percent of the world is dying from this (type of) violence.'

Ultimately, Rosling - and Roser - held that there is much to be hopeful about as we look to the future and learn from the past.

'We shouldn't diminish the tragedies of the droughts and famines happening right now,' Rosling wrote. 'But knowledge of the tragedies of the past should help everyone realize how the world has become both much more transparent and much better at getting help to where it's needed.'


Live long and… go extinct: The worldwide crusade by people who say having children is so damaging to the planet that the only answer is for humanity to DIE OUT voluntarily

I heartily support this movement.  It would be great if all its members carried out their intention

Robots. Viruses. An asteroid. Nuclear war. There are many different scenarios how humanity could perish, but perhaps the least likely is that we ourselves volunteer to do so. For activist Les U. Knight that is exactly the plan he is advocating for: voluntary human extinction to save the planet.

‘I haven’t seen any cohesive argument why our species should continue into the future,’ Knight told

‘I have not seen a good reason for us to add one more human to the existing billions when you consider the extinctions of so many other species and when you consider how many people are not being cared for.’

Eschewing labels like leader or founder, Knight began the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, known as VHEMT and pronounced like the word vehement, in 1991. It was a combination of factors that led Knight to VHEMT, which was first launched as a newsletter and then as a website in 1996 that still thrives today.

With the United Nations estimating that the world’s population will hit nearly 9.6 billion by 2050 and the recent uptick in interest in what is known as ‘antinatalism’ and being child-free, the question of human extinction has received more attention lately in Op-Eds and articles in publications like The New York Times – ‘Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?’ – and The New Yorker – ‘The Case for Not being Born.’

But Knight, now 71, has been publicly advocating for human extinction for nearly 30 years, and privately has put his money where he’s mouth is: he got a vasectomy when he was 25. While he has no kids of his own, Knight has worked for more than 40 years as a substitute teacher in his native Oregon.

Les U. Knight is pseudonym, which he said he uses ‘because it doesn’t matter – I’m just one of the volunteers and a spokesperson and so I don’t think my name is important.’

Knight drew a line from his activism to the environmental movement of the 1970s – the first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970 – and the fact that zero population growth was a hot button issue during that time period with the publication of 1962’s ‘The Population Bomb,’ a book ‘much discussed and maligned as a doomsayer that never happened,’ he explained.

Knight also remembered a flippant remark his uncle made when he was 12 that stuck with him. ‘He said, well, I think mankind out to be phased out... He was always saying outrageous things… But he didn’t really believe that we should. When I told him that I thought we should many years later, he said, oh no, we got to have a few of us around,’ Knight recalled. ‘That gave me the idea although the seed laid dormant for quite a while.’

In Oregon, where Knight was born, raised and still lives, he said there are remnants of ‘the glory of what used to be’ of the state’s ancient forests, some of which were lost.

‘And I traced everything back to one factor and that is humans. Wherever there are fewer of us, there is much more nature,’ he said.

All of these strands led Knight to send out by mail a newsletter called These EXIT Times.

‘No one was saying that we really should stop procreating completely,’ he recalled as to why he published the newsletter in 1991.

‘The message was and still is pretty much stop at two but you don’t have to be a math genius to figure out that stopping at two – so-called replacement level fertility – will not actually bring about zero population growth due to the momentum.’

While the world’s total fertility rate has fallen since 1950 – from 4.7 to 2.4 in 2017 – global population has risen from 2.6 billion to 7.6 billion, CNN reported in November.

Knight had put out the newsletter three times but by 1996 started the website for VHEMT because ‘the Internet came along and saved me a lot of paper and postage.’ ‘I reach more people in one day then I did with each issue of the newsletter on the Internet.’

The website is an interesting mix – with touches of humor and wit – of laying out the arguments for voluntarily phasing ourselves out and the cases made against extinction. There are also several different language options, such as Chinese and Polish, as well.

‘I think it’s only natural for people to think of our extinction as a really bad thing,’ Knight said. ‘Although the extinction of millions of other species doesn’t seem to be all that upsetting so maybe it’ll help people understand what an extinction means. We’re gone forever.’

‘All societies have evolved to be natalist, meaning we consider a new human being created as a good thing… no matter what the circumstances are, it’s good. Whereas it isn’t necessarily so good but we don’t question it because of our natalist conditioning, cultural conditioning to consider procreation to be a very good thing.’

‘Antinatalism’ rejects this idea, with some pontificating it is morally bad to have children.

‘So when somebody comes along and says, well, no, it’s not such a good thing, in fact, it would be much better if we didn’t so we can take care of everything that’s here. It… creates a cognitive dissonance that is uncomfortable,’ Knight said, noting that when he is hosting tables at fairs, it’s rare that he gets pushback in person.

A Facebook page for VHEMT has over 9,400 people who follow it, and Knight estimated that about 8,000 are volunteers and supporters of the movement, and 'the others are either just curious or opposed - occasionally trolling.' Last year, daily average unique page views to the site was a little over 630 with occasional spikes to the thousands when an article about the movement was published, he said via email. It is unclear, however, how large the movement is.

‘It’s really hard to say because it’s never been an organization with membership and I hope it never is. Organizations tend to dissolve into infighting and then it’s all over. But if we remain a movement, we will only increase in awareness and in number of people who are volunteering and supporting,’ he said.

‘A volunteer agrees that we should stop procreating and the best thing for planet and people would be to go extinct. Supporters, on the other hand, say, yeah for now, but it would be nice if later when our population is down to a sustainable number, we rethink this idea and not go extinct. They don’t want to advocate the extinction of any species including our own.’

Knight emphasized that the movement is voluntary and there are misconceptions around wanting people to die or commit suicide, which is not the case.

‘But it doesn’t take long to clear that up, it’s like no, we just (do it) through natural attrition, like when a company doesn’t hire more people - just lets people retire and they downsize to a proper number. So we just downsize and clean up our messes as we go.’

Calling humans exotic invaders - everywhere except Africa – Knight said that humans are ‘incompatible with every ecosystem that we have either evolved in or invaded.’

For the sake of the Earth’s biosphere, humans should voluntarily phase themselves out, and the movement encourages people to think before they procreate.

Even if humans could get themselves down to a sustainable number for the planet, which according to Knight is 10 to 15,000 people to maybe a million, he would still advocate for human extinction.

‘But the problem is we are so fecund. We just breed and breed. It’s just amazing,’ he said. ‘We’re not like other species, we’re very smart – too smart for our own good and for the planet’s good.’

According to his website: ‘It has been suggested that there are only two chances of everyone volunteering to stop breeding: slim and none. The odds may be against preserving life on Earth, but the decision to stop reproducing is still the morally correct one. Indeed, the likelihood of our failure to avoid the massive die off which humanity is engineering is a very good reason to not sentence another of us to life. The future isn’t what it used to be.’

Knight added that he noticed reproductive freedom was lacking in the United States and around the world, and that it should be a human right to not procreate.

Recently, the child-free movement has been gaining momentum.

‘In the last year, I’ve seen more and more articles about people choosing to remain child-free or to not add more to their existing family than ever. I’ve been collecting these stories and last year was just a groundswell of articles, and, in addition, there have been articles about human extinction, almost all of them… saying that we need to avoid that - as if it’s a bad thing.’


Once again the BoM is calling a normal Australian summer a "heatwave", probably to encourage belief in global warming

And the newspapers like it as it gives them an excuse to put up big pictures of attractive women at the beach in brief bikinis. Cropped example below:

The temperatures are indeed very hot in some places -- places where it normally gets very hot.  For some paradoxical reason to do with air currents, Southern Australia is always the hottest at the height of summer, despite being further from the equator.  And so it is this year.

But it is certainly no global effect.  If it were it would be unusually hot where I live in sub-tropical S.E. Queensland.  It is not. The normal mid-afternoon summer temperature where I  live is 34C but the temperatures for the last few days have been a touch below that -- at 33C or 33.5C.  Global Warmists eat your heart out

Australia's scorching summer will continue on Thursday following a day of extreme heatwave conditions which saw a child taken to hospital with heatstroke.

On Wednesday ambulance officers were called to Cabramatta West Public School, in Sydney's southwest, where three children were suffering symptoms of heatstroke.

All children were told to wear hats and stay in the shade but despite teachers' best efforts one child was taken to Liverpool Hospital in a stable condition.

Much of NSW roasted on Wednesday with the mercury hitting the 40s by midday in some areas.

The majority of the state is forecast to exceed 41C until Friday which hasn't been experienced since the the 1940s, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

There will be some relief this weekend as temperatures take a slight dip, but this won't last for long and the mercury is predicted to start rising again by Monday.

Perth will be the first to experience soaring temperatures before the heatwave gradually makes its way back across the southeast.

Wagga Wagga, in NSW, could reach temperatures of 44C for the next two days while Ivanhoe, in the state's far west, is expected to surpass 48C.

Whitecliff in the northwest, has recorded the highest temperature so far with 48.2C just before 3.30pm, and temperatures are set to stay above 40C there until the end of next week.

By midday on Wednesday, the mercury had soared beyond 45C across much of NSW's central west and at 3pm Wilcannia, Mulurulu, Ivanhoe and Hay topped 47C.

Temperatures in NSW are set to stay above 40C for most of next week, bar the potential for some cloud cover on Sunday.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Diana Eadie said 'severe to extreme heatwave temperatures are expected to persist across most of the country.'

'Temperatures are expected to climb into the low to high 40s — that's eight to 12 degrees above average,' she said.

'We've already seen some January maximum temperature records fall and we're likely to see many more before this event is over.

'The humidity and 'feels like' temperature will make for really oppressive conditions.'

The heat is expected to persist through the days and nights for the rest of the week, according to Weatherzone's Ben Domensino.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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