Inconvenience begets progress

As a member of the citizen’s committee that brought the 5 cent per plastic bag fee to Toronto, I’m thrilled with council’s decision this week to ban the damn things altogether. I know I’m not the only one, but I also know many folks are mad, and see this as “nanny stating.”

Did we nanny state when we banned smoking in public buildings? How about when we turned our backs on lead in pipes and paint, asbestos in tiles or cholera in our water? And how dare us ask people to drive a certain speed on residential roads, or recycle their glass rather than tossing it into our dwindling landfill space?

These are all examples of progress. With each one, people had to adjust. Smokers had to go outside. Plumbers had to use new materials. Cities had to build infrastructure. Police had to police. And we benefited from them all. We’ll benefit from the plastic bag ban too, I promise.