Tag: Pollution

John Tierney joins Brian Anderson to discuss the campaign to ban the use of plastic products and the flawed logic behind the recycling movement—the subjects of Tierney’s story, “The Perverse Panic over Plastic,” from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal.

Hundreds of cities and eight states have outlawed or regulated single-use plastic bags. But according to Tierney, the plastic panic doesn’t make sense. Plastic bags are the best environmental choice at the supermarket, not the worst, and cities that built expensive recycling programs—in the hopes of turning a profit on recycled products—have instead paid extra to get rid of their plastic waste, mostly by shipping it to Asian countries with low labor costs. However, the bans will likely continue as political leaders and private companies seek a renewed sense of moral superiority.

A Young Person We Should Honor (Not Named Thunberg)

One of the consequences of our narrative-consumed media culture is the glorification of 16-year-old truants who are manipulated and victimized (some say abused) by activist adults. Somehow, such symbolic individuals, with no real knowledge, training or experience make their way onto the cover of magazines. Meanwhile, a 21-year-old student, Reed College senior and budding scientist who has not only stayed in school but has actually done something that could prove meaningful in the global cause to reduce plastic pollution. After all, that which gets rewarded gets repeated.
It’s a real issue. The globe produces about 450 million tons of plastic every year, and about 8 million tons of it winds up in our oceans. These plastics last on average 15 years.

Morgan Vague is that Reed College student. She discovered a microbe that eats certain forms of PET, a commonly used plastic. This is amazing, but don’t expect any Nobel prizes or a person of the year award, since Morgan doesn’t appear to be getting any attention or support from so-called environmental groups. They seem more interested in the 16-year-old truant who screams at us.

Kudos to Morgan and her discovery. May the world take note.

Member Post


Shift WA observes that environmentalist groups have been exceptionally quiet since a city water treatment plant flooded on Feb. 9, resulting in “one of the biggest infrastructure catastrophes in regional history.” After three months of polluting Puget Sound, West Point Treatment Plant is back to normal operations. They are finally in compliance with state and federal regulations […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Pencils Are Unsustainable


What goes into the making of a single pencil? In 1958, Leonard E. Read asked himself that very question — and wrote an elegant explication:

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, have a profound lesson to teach…. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because — well, because I am seemingly so simple.

In his piece we’re taken step-by-step through the entire process of how a single pencil is produced.

When Environmental Protection Laws Enable Pollution


shutterstock_258860813Shortly after my piece “Filtering the Clean Water Act” went up at Hoover’s Defining Ideas, I got an email from Eric Wolinsky, who asked this question:

Lake Champlain has a significant pollution problem caused in large part by runoff from agricultural fields. The current rules require a buffer between crop land and ‘waterways.’ The problem is that there are no required buffers between cropland and ditches that don’t meet the definition of ‘waterways.’ During rains, the runoff enters the ditches, [and then] travels to the ‘waterways’ and on to Lake Champlain. The waterways are buffered, but the ditches are not. The runoff gets to the lake just as if the buffers on the waterways weren’t there.

How do you regulate this situation without expanding the definition of waterways?

Gina McCarthy

EPA Tested Deadly Pollutants on Humans


To help justify more stringent air regulations, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has conducted numerous dangerous experiments on humans. The Daily Caller has more:

The agency conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death, according to a newly released government report.