Editorials - Oct. 15, 2020
Living up to a 2019 campaign promise, the federal government has announced a ban on six single-use plastic items by next year, as they begin the road to zero plastic waste by 2030. The items include straws, grocery bags, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and take-out containers.
The government selected these items because they are rarely recycled and often end up out in our natural environment. There are also readily available alternatives for these hand-picked items. Ostensibly, these are the six items that would be the easiest for the Canadian population to give up to combat plastic pollution, one of the most avoidable issues hurting the planet. Meanwhile the Chemical Industry Association of Canada is worried about the effect on investment in Alberta as that province ramps up a strategy which is heavily weighted in both making and recycling plastic. Alberta’s economy has continued to struggle under both the collapse of world oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, but the federal government insists that the ban aligns well with the Alberta strategy, especially with its aim of becoming a centre of plastic recycling excellence. The ultimate goal is not zero plastics, but zero plastic waste.
Smart money will be on savvy entrepreneurs who can capitalize on the shift in consumer opinion towards environmentally-friendly alternatives for all that plastic that makes our lives easier individually, but has become such a burden globally. – DS
Flying through the past
If you didn’t watch the American vice-presidential debate last week, you likely know a fly landed on Vice-President Mike Pence’s head and stayed there for several minutes. That’s not all that happened, but it’s just about all that happened that’s worth talking about.
It was hard not to notice the age-old nature of the topics being discussed. The landmark ruling on abortion, Roe v. Wade of 1973, was discussed for fear of its overturning, while other topics included race relations, the reality of climate change, fossil fuels and police brutality. You’d be forgiven in thinking this debate took place 50 years ago.
Meanwhile, as Harris and Pence debated the issues, it must have felt like the country’s walls were falling in around them. It’s hard to envision anyone wanting to oversee the circus the United States has become.
With just over four per cent of the world’s population, the United States sits with just under 21 per cent of its COVID-19 cases and just over 20 per cent of its COVID-19 deaths. Meanwhile, 13 members of a right-wing militia have been charged in a foiled plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a scenario that many can’t help but connect to Trump’s dog-whistle Tweets from back in April when he called to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” among other states and his now-infamous “stand down and stand by” taunt to a neo-fascist hate group.
Perhaps the United States always had these weird tendencies hanging in its closet, but for many it’s a challenge to look at the country and connect it to the land of opportunity and democracy it has been. A liar and con man in the White House has changed things forever, but one thing that closely resembles the America of old is Joe Biden’s campaign selling out of nearly 35,000 fly swatters, capitalizing on the random act of “insectness” in just a matter of hours. Ah, unbridled capitalism. – SL
Let’s get creative
With suggestions to cut back on Halloween traditions this year, it might be an ideal time for parents to look to in-home, spooky fun.
While it could be easy to just cancel the holiday and bemoan yet another celebration lost to limit the spread of COVID-19, parents could, instead, look to traditional activities as well as fun, new opportunities to keep their children entertained on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Since the holiday falls on a Saturday, there’s plenty of time throughout the day to tackle classic traditions of the holiday, like carving pumpkins. From the traditional near-toothless grinning jack-o-lantern to more adventurous artistic endeavours, carving pumpkins can prove a long-lasting, fun activity that encourages children of all ages to get hands on. Don’t forget to keep those pumpkin seeds handy. Bake them in the oven with a little bit of salt and you can have a homemade Halloween snack to help keep children’s mind off the missed trick or treating.
Just because trick or treating might not be appealing with all the rules and risks doesn’t mean the decorations are going to go to waste. Families can always walk around town or, if there is inclement weather, drive around town and take in the great efforts of other local families.
Finally, be sure to use whatever means necessary to show off your costumes, including, but not limited to, video calls on your cell phones, Zoom meetings and submitting them to The Citizen’s Halloween costume contest.
Most importantly, remember that special days aren’t the sum of the candy gathered, the presents opened or the treats enjoyed, but about the family time spent together and the memories made. – JDS