Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Microbeads are in the News!

Cartoon courtesy of Steve Greenberg from

Cartoon courtesy of Steve Greenberg from

By Larry Plesent

Imagine over one trillion non-biodegradable tiny plastic beads going down drains across America each and every day. Thats 3,650,000,000,000,000 beads washed down the drains of America just in the past decade. These microbeads are not biodegradable in water and will remain underground and in our waters long after America is a mere wisp of memory and a brief footnote in time.

Maybe we could justify it if these plastic beads cured cancer or ADHD, or any of the other banes of our modern convenience lifestyle like the inability of teenagers to do chores. But no, microbeads are used to help remove dead skin, a function that used to be taken up by reusable washcloths and loofa-type sponges, now brought to you by trillions of tiny skin-scrubbing balls.

If you are rolling your eyes in wonder at this, just one tiny component of our modern world, then you are not alone. How is it that such things are allowed to exist without any long term environmental testing? Isnt every new innovation subject to long term safety testing already? I mean, the government wouldnt allow unsafe products that might degrade our planet loose, especially if those products were not critical to the survival of our economy our species and our way of life…right?

Micro-bead nurdles. Photo from Wikipedia.

Micro-bead nurdles. Photo from Wikipedia.

The sad truth is that we the people almost NEVER conduct long term safety and environmental testing on new and novel technologies. Food additives, yes. Plastic balls in shampoo, no. Because plastic balls in your shampoo will not immediately harm you, and there is no solid evidence that turning our oil reserves into plastic soil and our lakes into plastic soup is harmful. There is ALSO no long term proof that it is safe, or even sensible to try to turn oil into soil and soupy lakes. After all, regular old organic soil and lakes worked just fine before we came along.

The idea that a new technology must be proven safe before it is let loose upon the planet is called The Precautionary Principle. If you have never heard of it that is because TPP is a dangerous terrorist weapon designed to destroy our economy. Pundits of capitalism routinely take years off of their lives by ranting loudly against the TPP threat. Imagine having to wait twenty years before your revolutionary new technology could be marketed. Why that would devastate the stock markets. Our competitive edge would be destroyed. It would be a financial disaster and America, Hollywood and major banking centers would take a hit.

After all, its not like our energy-inefficient petroleum centric lifestyles have changed the planets climate or ecological cycles and caused the die-off of untold species or anything, right? Right?

This is the Soapman,wishing you ALL the Best during this beautiful season.

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