Paul Sassone: Plastic bag ban? Bit late for that

<p>Paul Sassone</p>

Paul Sassone

Talk about re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Chicago has, or is about to, ban the use of plastic grocery bags for ecological reasons.

Forget that some plastic bags can be recycled. Forget that for older shoppers or people with physical problems, plastic bags are easy to carry. Forget that some stores and restaurants hypocritically will be exempt from the law for at least a year. Forget that the cost of more expensive grocery bags will be passed on to customers.

But everyone will feel warm that we have taken a giant step toward saving the environment.

Yeah, right.

We marked Earth Day recently. So, once we have cast out from among us the dreaded plastic grocery bag, what condition will our precious, irreplaceable planet be in?

A recent report from the United Nations group the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives some idea.

Among the report’s findings:

• Ice caps are melting.

• Sea ice in the arctic is collapsing.

• Water supplies are stressed.

• Heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying.

• Coral reefs are dying.

• Rising oceans threaten coastal communities.

• Oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide from cars and industry.

• Organic matter frozen for thousands of years in the arctic is thawing, decaying and adding to the greenhouse gases that cause warming.

The reports states climate change is expected to:

• Slow economic growth.

• Make reducing poverty more difficult.

• Erode food security.

• Prolong and create new poverty.

• Increase tensions between countries over water and food.

But hey, plastic grocery bags will be gone.