politics & society | August 21, 2019

Consumerism Is Not the Answer: Annie Lowrey Investigates Our Current Environmental Solutions

In an effort to “go green” many businesses have swapped plastic straws for paper ones. But is this the answer to our climate crisis? Annie Lowrey thinks not. In her latest article for The Atlantic, Lowrey shows us that paper straws aren’t worth our while, both economically and environmentally.


Plastic straws are a hazard to the environment: a single-use product made out of a virtually indestructible material clogging our oceans and killing our marine life. But replacing them with paper straws is not the answer, says Atlantic writer Annie Lowrey in “The Case Against Paper Straws.” Though a greener option, paper straws are still a single-use, disposable consumer item. “Making a paper straw requires growing a tree, cutting it down, and pulping and pressing it into a tube. Manufacturers then use fossil fuels to ship the straws to stores and cafés. Many paper straws on the market are not even compostable or recyclable, as promised.”


Replacing plastic straws with paper ones propels a false belief that we can consume our way out of problems caused by consumerism in the first place. When we believe this lie, we run the risk of feeling self-satisfied with small behavior changes, and failing to address the larger, systemic issues. “There are better, bigger policy proposals out there, and we desperately need to put them into practice,” Lowrey writes. For example, a tax on plastic might be an economic solution with bigger impact.


You can read the full article here.


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