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A CONVENIENT MISCONCEPTION: INDUSTRY TACTICS FOR MISINFORMATION

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The idea of a single, Texas-size garbage patch is the myth of media sensationalism.  It’s lead to grandiose images of islands of trash, and enlivened the entrepreneurial spirit, like this post-consumer technofix.  And the plastics industry continues to use this myth to portray a lack of knowledge or consensus among scientists, when scientists had nothing to do with the media portrayal.   We know there are five subtropical gyres.  We know that they accumulate plastic.  And we know that legislation is one of several solutions we must use if we are to be honest about solutions.  But the plastic industry does not agree.  See Mark Gunther’s misleading article in Green Biz titled “In Defense of the Plastic Bag”.  If you read the book “Honest Broker” Roger Pielke labels the dishonesty that comes with this kind of science-twisting as “Issue Advocacy”. Issue Advocates use many tactics to slow the pace of change. They will introduce confusing information or manufacture data to lead policymakers to delay legislation.  They will use catch phrases like “change kills jobs” or “change raises taxes” regardless of accuracy.  If we are to be honest brokers we must be pragmatic in light of all solutions, even the inconvenient ones.  And when the issue advocates lobby against good will, then we must respond.Please read the response by Stiv Wilson in Green Biz titled “In Defense of the Plastic Bag Ban.”

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