We can wring our hands about the corruption of the Department of Education, or the placement of ideologues on our federal courts, the encouragement of White nationalism, or the abandonment of democratic norms and the rule of law, but even those abominations pale next to the war being waged by Donald Trump and his GOP cult on science and the environment.
A sufficiently motivated populace can eject Trump from the Oval Office, and elect people who will begin the process of repairing our governing institutions and our civic culture. The rejection of science and denial of the existential threat posed by climate change, however, is imposing damage we may never be able to reverse.
It isn’t simply downplaying the extent of the threat, or failing to pursue measures to reverse the damage we now recognize. These troglodytes are actively encouraging behaviors harmful to the environment.
President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign store sells “Make America Great Again” hats, T-shirts, cups, towels and even dog leashes. But one of its newest items might be one of the campaign’s biggest attempt to troll the other side: Trump-branded plastic straws.
According to the campaign store, for $15, those interested can purchase a 10-pack of the red straws with Trump’s name “laser engraved” on them. The new campaign merchandise seems to come as a response to increasing concerned about plastic usage and waste. A video that went viral last year of a marine biologist removing a plastic strawfrom a sea turtle’s nose brought attention to the issue and many communities and businesses have begun to banthe use of plastic straws altogether.
The description of the Trump straws is not subtle about the message the merchandise is meant to send. “Liberal paper straws don’t work. Stand with President Trump and buy your pack of recyclable straws today,” it reads.
Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted about the new straws on Thursday, saying “Make Straws Great Again.”
Scientists tell us that humans dump eight million metric tons of plastic into our planet’s oceans each year. By 2050, they estimate that plastic will outweigh all of the ocean’s fish. Plastic in the ocean is eventually broken into smaller pieces — known as microplastic — by sun exposure and wave action, and that microplastic can find its way into the food chain.
When plastic does eventually degrade (a process which takes 400 years for most plastic), it releases chemicals that contaminate the sea.
Americans use millions of plastic straws a day. Those straws litter our streets, lands, shorelines, and oceans. Plastic drinking straws are among the top 10 contributors to marine debris pollution. They do not biodegrade but break down into smaller microplastics that have made their way into our food chain and the deepest trenches of our oceans. The research and statistics on the impacts of plastic straws across the globe are alarming. News articles are appearing regularly on what plastics do to our environment, our health, as well as efforts and innovations across the globe to eliminate and ban single-use plastics straws.
What about the Trump campaign’s assertion that their (very expensive) straws can be recycled? I know it will shock readers to discover that the claim is yet another lie. As the Washington Post (and a number of other media outlets) reported:
Recycling is very important: It keeps many of our plastic objects from spending hundreds of years causing trouble. Unfortunately, your straws always end up in a landfill.
“Plastic straws and other items smaller than two by two inches, such as plastic utensils, fall through the machinery that sorts our recycling,” says Jonathan Kuhl of the D.C. Department of Public Works. “Because of this, we ask District residents not to put these small items in their recycling bins.” The same is true in most recycling plants around the country.
Name calling and gleeful ignorance. They’ll sure show us dumb “libs” (defined as people who accept science). Their grandchildren don’t need a habitable planet anyway.