Thneeds

Wrapping a threatened species around your feet doesn’t exactly evoke the bucolic “home on the range”There’s something very American, even very back-to-nature, about cowboy boots. Sure, cowboys helped destroy much of the Plains’ ecosystem, and even today, some of them oppose restoring grasslands for the bison who once roamed them. But one of the most enduring images of America — admired worldwide […]
Corn cobs on a grocery store shelf, individually wrapped in plastic wrap.

When Mother Nature already provides a perfectly good container, say no to a plastic alternative One of my fondest summer childhood memories revolves around good old Zea mays L. — more commonly known as “sweet corn”.My aunt takes me to a roadside stand in rural Wapwallopen, Penn. to buy a bunch of just-picked ears of white corn. We return to my […]

During the past year, I’ve joined countless people around the world in telling drive-through cashiers to “skip the straw.” It’s one of many things — big and small — we can do to discourage the use and waste of single-use plastics.Cashiers’ reactions to my request have improved remarkably. They’ve gone from “say what?” to “um, OK,” and sometimes I even […]

Traditionally, Environmental Action’s Thneed Trophy is awarded to a product or service that, in the spirit of Dr. Seuss’ invention in The Lorax, is “something that everybody wants, but nobody needs” and that’s bad for the environment.But this month’s winner is something that very few people want, nobody needs, and would blight a part of the environment most people wouldn’t […]

The modern drive to “give me convenience or give me death” can be found even in the most intimate corners of American life.For example, take the act of, shall we say, human posterior hygiene (aka butt-wiping).While Europeans (especially those in the southern part of the continent) commonly use bidets to minimize the need for paper wipes, Americans have […]

Image credits: StaffIt’s bad enough for the environment that more than 400 billion plastic bottles will be used this year for water. It’s even worse that 70 percent of those sold in the U.S. won’t be recycled. The rest end up in landfills or in tiny pieces scattered across land and water, where they’re unwittingly and often fatally consumed […]
plastic pumpkin

The winner of October’s Thneed Trophy is . . .The Styrofoam  “Orange Harvest Pumpkin” sold by Walmart and many other fine outlets for your Halloween decorating delights. For a mere $23.49, you can pick up (and toss around, unlike the heavier vegetable version) this 7 ¾” by 9 ¾” beauty, safe in the knowledge that it will still be around […]

The winner of the September 2018 Thneed Trophy is the ever-so-humble one-time-use plastic straw.Yes, it’s darned convenient and it makes it easier to drive while drinking (soda). But, unless you have particular disabilities, is it really necessary? Ask the sea turtle with a straw crammed up his nose. Think about the tiny plastic beads swimming in your beer. And the […]

I think that I will never seeA poem as uglyAs a gas-powered jet ski. The winner of the July 2018 Thneed Trophy is the Burrasca personal watercraft (aka “jet ski”).Called by its advocates “a monster on the water”[1] but a “monster to the water” by its critics, the Burrasca is supposedly the fastest jet ski on the market today…and the most […]