There’s a great future in plastics.

Dave Korba

“Ben, I just want to say one word to you; just one word. Are you listening? Plastics! There’s a great future in plastics.” – The Graduate, 1967

According to IMDB’s trivia page for The Graduate, within a year of the movie’s release, plastic companies became enormously successful. It’s likely that the evolution of plastics would have flourished even without the advice offered to Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) in the film. However, as it turns out, while lucrative for manufacturers, the future of plastics has not been great for our health or planet. In just 50 years, concern about mindless usage and unnecessary plastic disposal is now threatening human health and natural ecosystems around the globe.

NBC news recently predicted that our oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050, just 30 years from now, and a full two decades sooner than the time that has passed since The Graduate was released.

“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?” said Benjamin Braddock. Well Benjamin, in retrospect it appears that we can add the prolonged seduction of American and worldwide consumers to the list as well; seduced not by the lust of Mrs. Robinson, but our own lust for convenience, as we’ve become a throwaway society fueled by plastics technology in under five decades.

Simon & Garfunkel’s 1964 song The Sound of Silence featured prominently in the movie’s soundtrack. In part, the lyrics read, “But my words, like silent raindrops fell, and echoed in the wells of silence.” The song also asks how much longer we can talk without speaking, hear without listening, write songs that are never shared and go without daring to disturb the silence.

It is up to each of us, collectively and individually, to reverse our personal consumption patterns and adopt a different way of consuming and discarding waste onto our only planet. As vast as it seems, our physical environment is ultimately finite. It is up to me and you to take personal responsibility and adopt a wider view of how our singular and collective consumerism constitutes a tortuous “drip, drip, drip” that continues to invade our plastic-riddled and trash-filled planet.

Join us on April 22 in Spring Grove for the Awakening The Dreamer-York free workshop (see page 14), where this message of personal action from the Pachamama Alliance is the basis of the conversation... “What I do to you, I do to me; what I do to the Earth, I do to myself.”

Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. I look forward to seeing you there as we join together to learn in community and to ultimately feel good, live simply and laugh more. Eliminate single use plastics #SheddTheStraw –

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