Thanks to Big Oil, nearly half of all plastic ever produced has been manufactured since 2000. Is all plastic bad? No. But the fact that close to 18 billion pounds of plastic waste enter our waterways every year is. That waste is killing us and the planet, slowly.
We cannot recycle our way out of this plastic pollution pandemic.
We have to reimagine the way we address the heavy toll of plastic pollution on our health, as well as the health of our communities, the climate, and the environment. We need to look deeper into how we’ve gotten to this point where we depend so heavily on such a harmful material. And we must create the systems change necessary that would limit the production of plastic to essential uses, reduce plastic waste, hold plastic producers accountable, and make safer alternatives more affordable.
The crazy thing about plastic is we can fix the pollution problem. We can control the choices we make for our households and communities. We can control a lot of this through policy and regulation of corporataions. We can choose cradle-to-cradle manufacturing and adopt circular economies and zero waste systems. Governments can decide to stop sending single-use plastic into poorer countries. We have the technology to recycle in a serious way. So why don’t we? That’s why we need to look at the root causes.
For the summer issue of YES! Magazine we will delve into these causes (the lobbying and PR power of Big Oil and Big Soda, throwaway culture, devaluing nature, greenwashing, etc.); explore the solutions that minimize plastic waste, encourage repair and reuse over replacement, and account for the whole lifecycle of products, among others; and change the narrative around the problem of plastics to address the economic issues that drive single-use consumerism.
Reporters, what community initiatives or groups near you are implementing solutions like these? What are the movements working in this space? Where do you see the most exciting possibilities for transformational change? What are the stories that tell the unique or necessary uses of plastics? Stories that analyze the ways it has transformed health care to save lives, or essays that explore the ways it enables people to participate in life or society more fully. What are the stories that tell the benefit of minimal waste over zero waste and mitigate consumer blaming and shaming?
Send us your pitches!
We are looking for themes of human rights, environmental stewardship, decolonization, racial equity, food justice, economic fairness, localization, well-being, and caregiving.
All of the stories we seek will be examples of excellent journalism and storytelling: stories that have compelling characters, are well-researched, and demonstrate struggle and resolution. Hurry and send your pitches to [email protected] by Feb. 5. After that, you can continue to send them to [email protected].
YES! Editors are those editors featured on YES! Magazine's masthead. Stories authored by YES! Editors are substantially reported, researched, and written by at least two members of the YES! Editorial team.