On global warming, natural disasters and plastic bags
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, May 8, 2014


As I started writing this, climate change arrived in Marblehead. The rainy dampness was finally replaced with bright sunshine; the yellow forsythia was joined by various kinds of pink and white blossoms, and my daffodils, lasting longer than usual, smiled down on the spreading violets, and look, dandelions!

Oh wait, it’s changing again. Sun moves behind thick clouds, air feels cold, as CNN reports:

“Tuesday. Climate change is here and will only worsen. Get used to more flooding, wildfires and drought, depending on where you live. Cities and states across America already are spending lots of money to respond.

“Those are the take-home messages of a new White House report released Tuesday that is part of President Barack Obama’s second-term effort to prepare the nation for the impacts of a changing climate such as rising sea levels and increasingly erratic weather.”

That’s it, erratic weather. Happening right here in Marblehead as I put on my flannel shirt again. I think the sea will be rising at least twice today, too.

Yes, I’m in a global-disaster-denial mood, having sat through Monday night’s Town Meeting at which the global warming/climate change types passed a ban on plastic bags in Marblehead. I predict this will spread to other North Shore communities until there are no more small plastic grocery bags crawling out of the big plastic trash bags at the bottom of the landfill and climbing the nearest tree or hiking to the nearest beach to choke sea creatures.

First, I must tell you that I shop with cloth bags when I remember to grab one of the 12 I have in the backseat of my car. When I forget, or buy more than I expected, I’m glad to get some plastic ones to clean the litter box and reuse for other household chores.

Next, I must tell you that I’m so fed up with liberals telling me how to live that I’m starting to resist anything they want even when it’s reasonable. After the Town Meeting vote, I feel silly carrying my cloth bag into the store, as if I’m one of those people who actually believe Al Gore is an environmentalist instead of a giant hypocritical carbon footprint, flying around the world in its private jet preaching electric cars to the common folk.

A proponent complained that some rude folks were snickering during the Town Meeting debate; that would include me. As The Salem News reported, “Photos depicted the bags ruining the town’s scenic views, fluttering about historic buildings and fouling the seaside, getting wrapped around trees and propellers, and choking marine animals.” In which alternate-universe Marblehead? I drove around town today, didn’t see one discarded bag.

Proponents listed American cities, like Chicago, which have the ban. Opponent Ed Friedman responded that “nothing could give me a more warm and fuzzy feeling than being like Chicago,” which is ranked second in the nation for dangerous neighborhoods.

They also listed all the other countries that have banned the bags, including some that came late to banning genocide. I admit I snickered when I saw Bangladesh on the list and asked my pal Jack Buba, sitting behind me, “Won’t global warming put that whole place underwater soon?” He replied that they could use plastic bags to make sails for little boats.

Obnoxious or not, laughter is the best medicine for the disease of liberalism: not to cure liberals, but to prevent oneself and other innocent bystanders from catching some of the symptoms like climate hysteria.

I’m an environmentalist when I’m hanging out with libertarians like Henry David Thoreau, whose “Walden” is not only pro-environment but anti-Big Government. When statist liberals show up to try to use weather to increase their control over the economy and over us all, I go contrarian; it’s the only way to get balance back. It’s better to laugh at them than to follow my other instinct, which is to dump all the paper, cans and bottles in my recycling bins into a trash bag and send them to a landfill or incinerator. That would be childish.

Sun is back, gorgeous spring day. Other than the bag ban, Town Meeting went well; we voted to say the Pledge of Allegiance, with only one person speaking in opposition, and we voted against the so-called Community Preservation Act (CPA). It helped that the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and assessors were adamantly against it.

I know other readers here live in communities that have accepted the CPA. One thing that I’ve always thought wrong is that citizens who can get age/income-related exemptions from the new tax can vote to increase the property tax on others who aren’t eligible for this break. In Marblehead, voters have to increase taxes on themselves for a Prop 2˝ debt exclusion that buys open space, does historic preservation, etc. Seems more fair.

Proponents said they wouldn’t accept the vote of Town Meeting but would collect signatures to put the new tax on a town ballot anyhow.

Where’d the sun go? I think it’s going to rain tonight, as the world turns and the climate changes again.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle-Tribune newspapers.

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