It turns out that Californians have successfully made their lives less comfortable by banning plastic bags. As you surely know this is yet another feel good policy that will accomplish almost nothing in the way of real environmental benefits. Now, I have no problem with people making poor choices especially with their own funds, and when we are fabulously wealthy we can do lots and lots of symbolic stuff that makes us feel good. But the problem with the bag banning is the meta-question, and it is a serious one. How can you expend so much political and emotional energy on trying to get “bag policy” right while your state suffers from unprecedented droughts and is also said to be in a precarious budget position?
Seriously, California is doing nothing serious to address its drought problem, and even making a cursory attempt to deal with that would do more good for the environment and for people than ANY possible method of getting optimal plastic bag policy. Figure out a way to make end users feel the real costs of their water consumption. Figure out a way to make people who are dipping into depleting aquifers to feel the external costs they are imposing on others. Even a rudimentary system that priced marginal water use at real scarcity rates would go a huge way to dealing with the problem. But when you are so obsessed with the symbolic feel good politics of plastic bags and other things that fit onto a nice bumper sticker or email tag line, you end up rearranging deck chairs, nicely perhaps, on the real Titanic.
So, I don’t give a crap about the ban. Fine. Have a nice time people. But I don’t want to see a single complaint, ever, about your water problem – which is entirely self-inflicted and simply solved. The drought has almost nothing to do with a lack of water, no different than the famines of the past had very little to do with lack of food.
Have a nice day.