Margaret Atwood, the author behind hit Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is well versed in the types of hot-button issues that polarize societies. In a new op-ed, the dystopian author says she’s also keen on tackling a devastating problem that much of the world is barely talking about: plastic waste.
Atwood writes in her piece, published in The Guardian on Saturday, that she considers plastics the “modern equivalent of a universal religion.”
“We worship them, whether we admit it or not,” she explains. “Their centre is whatever you happen to be doing, their circumference is everywhere; they’re as essential to our modern lives as the air we breathe, and they’re killing us. They must be stopped.”
In Atwood’s lifetime, the world went from barely using any plastic to being unable to live without it. Plastic is cheap, and can be found in pretty much everything we use ― from clothing to diapers to shopping bags. We just as readily discard these products without thinking twice, which leads to the dumping of billions of pounds of plastic waste in oceans. While the scope of the issue ― and its effect on living beings ― is difficult to calculate, environmentalists are gravely concerned.
If we don’t change our consumption habits, by 2050 there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish by weight, according to a report from the from the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Animals are mistaking plastic…