Recycling is important
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News headline “Researchers give new meaning to recycling” made my day! This front-page story by staff writer Scott Jackson highlighted the work of Washington State University scientists, led by Dr. Hongfei Lin, associate professor of chemical engineering, and graduate student Chuhua Jia. Their team found the means to recycle plastic to jet fuel and the means to reduce the cost of its recycling and its imprint on the planet.
With all the news competing for coverage, this one deserves our attention. If the work of these scientists can find financial support, I see Earth Day celebrants jumping for joy to safeguard consumers’ health and promote green jobs while helping the economy and saving the Earth and its inhabitants from unnecessary waste.
Moreover, enough evidence is available that plastics, such as microplastics and nanoplastics, are making their way into our bodies through our mouth, skin and nose. Their effect on our bodies is an emerging science since plastics attract harmful contaminants according to an article from discovermagazine.com. And then there’s the plastic that ends up in our soil, fresh water and sea water, taking years to decompose while leaching toxins into the environment. In fact, according to EPA.gov, Americans generated 35.68 million tons of plastic waste in 2018: 26.97 pounds landfilled; 5.63 combusted with energy recovery; and 3.09 recycled. More than 75 percent went to landfills.
Including curbside recyclables, our household of two accumulates a duffle bag size of “smooth plastics” to take to our Moscow Recycling Center the first Saturday of each month. Unbelievable, really.
I applaud the achievement of Lin and Jia and their team — and the monies given to support their research. I pray their work gains the deserved support of conservationists, government officials, and corporate America to team up to protect our planet for its future and our children’s.
The Tulsa massacre
May 31 and June 1 mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, a horrifying episode of American history that has been largely absent from textbooks and classes over the last century.
In just two days, one of the most prosperous Black commercial districts — Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood neighborhood — was burned to the ground by an angry mob that had been catalyzed by a report that a young black man made an inappropriate comment to a young white woman. Charges against the young man were later dropped due to a lack of evidence, but that wasn’t before somewhere between 100 and 300 Black Tulsans were killed.
It is little wonder that few Americans know much about the leveling of Black Wall Street in 1921. Despite the deliberate destruction and looting of more than 1,000 homes and nearly every public and commercial building in the neighborhood, not a single individual was ever charged with a related crime. In fact for many decades even folks living in Tulsa didn’t know much about what had happened in their city. Descendants of the dispossessed Black residents, however, lived with the immutable reality that their families had been stripped of their generational wealth. I’m grateful for resources like TulsaHistory.org, where I can learn more from primary sources and from scholars about the event and the shadow it continues to cast.
As I reflect on this solemn anniversary, I wonder if the lawmakers that passed HB 377 this year would oppose the inclusion of this well-documented event in a high school American history class. It would be impossible to understand the event without acknowledging the tensions that existed in Jim Crow America. Is a discussion of state-sanctioned racial discrimination and unchecked violence too much like “critical race theory?”