Other species will survive our self-destruction
I refer to The turn of the tide (23 November) and the photo of four persons on a tiny boat at the Sisyphean task of ridding the oceans of plastic.
“Hopefully not another plastic one!” the cynic in me ejaculated on reading the caption: “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”
Finally it is dawning on us that recycling is not the panacea we had been led to embrace, but yet another expensive selfindulgence. It will never achieve what reining in our selfish consumerism would. As the article points out, doing away with plastic straws, small a step as it is, amounts to a significant milestone on our road out of limbo.
Regarding Jonathan Franzen (Small Victories) urging us to find meaning in life as we face our selfinflicted existential threat, not all is lost. The world is not coming to end. Our well-earned extinction will come as a relief to those species that may manage to survive our breathtaking depravity. Miguel Cabezas Glenbrook, NSW, Australia
• Most threatened species are so because we either hunt them to extinction or destroy their habitat. Killer whales are different because we compete for the same food source (23 November). The whales have few natural enemies so food supply regulates their numbers. In turn, their role is to keep the salmon in check. A delicate equilibrium – but don’t worry: humans are eager to replace the whales. Martin Skogsbeck Mougins, France
Stephen Buranyi’s superb essay on the plastic pollution (23 November) brings to mind this exchange in the 1967 film, The Graduate, a successful businessman advising young Benjamin:
Mr McGuire: “I just 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?” Norbert Hirschhorn London, UK