Silver Lining to Angela’s Blog Post

I see a silver lining to Angela’s post about the ambiguous environmental benefits of banning plastic bags in China. The news story she references notes that:

“Beijing residents appeared to take the ban in stride, reflecting rising environmental consciousness…”

This “rising environmental consciousness” is a product of the increasing prosperity that Beijing enjoys. Nothing is worse for nature than poverty, because the poor have neither the time nor the energy to worry about pollution—they are too busy trying to survive. A society will turn its attention to the environment only after sufficient material comfort is attained for a critical mass of citizens. All too often, China’s incredible economic growth is often the scapegoat for environmental degradation. In fact, it is the solution.