Last Wednesday Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the sale of single use plastic water bottles and other products will be phased out of the National Parks and public lands by 2032.
Naturally, we welcome the spirit of this move.
Order No. 3047 is part of a department wide approach to reduce plastic pollution, which if you're reading this blog, you know we're all about.
But let's be honest: this move is utterly half-ass
Why a full decade?
We put a man on the moon in less time, and this is hardly rocket science.
Heck, we rallied from behind to win World War II in under half a decade.
How hard is it to say no? That's all that's required to get rid of single-use-plastics. Clearing out existing inventories and replacing them with fiber-based alternatives can (and should) be done in 10 months. If we really cared we could make progress in 10 weeks.
And the real tragedy here is the American public is widely in favor of bold movement. According to an IPSOS poll from earlier this year, even 55% of Americans favor banning single-use plastics all together, while a whopping 71 percent agree reducing plastic pollution is a huge priority. This is not a partisan issue among people on the street.
What's more, the rest of the world feels even stronger about this issue than we do, and given a huge portion of visitors to our National Parks are foreign tourists that's another good reason to push harder.
Failure to deliver faster fixes for simple problems like this creates bigger problems, too. When government agencies fail to deliver on things that are so easy and so popular, people understandably lose faith in these institutions. If they can't unwind this issue how can we expect them to fix truly complex problems like energy transitions, healthcare, and homelessness?
Given the entire National Park system has been called "America's best idea" these crown jewels are the perfect platform to demonstrate that we can get this job done right, and right away.
C'mon man. Bring this issue front and center in a big bold way.
Anything less is snatching defeat from victory.