02 Apr CAUSE & EFFECT: No Great Future in Plastics After All, Mr. McGuire
Plastics. This one word is actually ranked number 63 in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie quotations in American Cinema. It appears in the 1967 movie The Graduate, as the uncertain, waylaid recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is receiving advice on his future from Mr. McGuire a friend of the family:
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Cinema has always provided a great framework to observe how time changes things.
Saturday, April 22, 2018 will mark the 48th anniversary of Earth Day. What started as a platform to engage Americans in awareness of the environment has grown into a global movement that involves 1 billion people from 192 countries participating in the largest civic focused day of action in the world.
I imagine many of you have taken part in a variety of Earth Day activities throughout the decades. I know my Southwest Floridian neighbors are engaged, as each year the response when I reach out to hear Earth Day plans or memories I receive an overwhelming response.
Earth Day 2018 will focus on Plastics. Not Mr. McGuire’s plastics, but the impact plastics are having on our earth. Ask anyone who has participated in a local beach clean-up day recently about the amount of plastic they gather and you will get the picture.
Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, today announced on their website that “Earth Day 2018 will focus on mobilizing the world to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics. EDN will educate millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global problems.”
I have to admit when I researched Earth Day 2018, I was overwhelmed. I felt as if I had dealt with my plastic problem when I committed to recycling many Earth Days ago. In my mind I used plastics freely and then disposed of them properly, never realizing where they were ending up.
I walked around the Southwest Florida Community Foundation offices and wondered how we could make changes. I took a spin around my house and opened my recycling drawer to take stock of my family’s engagement with plastics. I had to admit that I was part of the problem.
I was struck with the fact that now knowing more, I needed to do more.
Fortunately, I have access to people on the SWFLCF team who have dedicated their lives to protecting Mother Earth and donors who have stepped up with commitments of time and funding to address environmental issues that they feel are critical to our region and the world. They were all willing to share their thoughts and ideas with me.
Just as recycling was something I could grasp and take action on I was looking for similar steps I could take to eliminate plastic from my life.
I was encouraged to learn that simple steps including my views on straws, disposable coffee cups and how I transported my water could all add up to change.
What the focus of Earth Day allows is making change as a community rather than going it alone.
To that end, our team at the foundation created a short and simple poll with ideas for cutting back on plastics. It challenges each of us with actionable steps that can make a difference.
We would love to see you visit www.floridacommunity.com/ENVIRONMENT, take the poll and if you are inspired, take action.
As Mr. McGuire would say, “Think about it. Will you think about it, please?”
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com