I have a massive carbon footprint. I buy a lot of precut foods with a lot of plastic packaging. Every day, I use an obscene amount of medical stuff that generates a ton of garbage.
I can’t control any of it, and frankly, I’m not going to feel guilty about it.
I do what I can do (including converting to solar panels for all of our electricity), but I can’t do many of the things that are currently being pushed- like avoiding the use of straws.
I can’t drink most liquids without a straw. You probably can. So how about YOU go without straws so I don’t have to go without drinking liquids?
I keep seeing the push for “straw bans” floating around social media, and when I point out the problems that would create for many disabled people, I get dismissed, attacked, disbelieved, or ignored.
Here’s my reality- I have to spend FAR more money, time, and energy just to get out of my home and access my community than you do. Schools and businesses would often rather break the law instead of allowing my kids or me access.
So when your response to my objection to straw bans is to tell me to buy ONE MORE DAMNED THING to carry around, clean, and keep track of… I’m frankly not going to see that as a viable solution.
Viable solutions to plastic waste include ways to accommodate the needs of disabled people. Period. Shaming us, yelling at us, or dismissing our objections, insisting that of COURSE someone will make exceptions for us? Those responses aren’t going to help.
Also, please keep in mind that many of us are required to keep our income below $800 a month in order to qualify for benefits, including medical care, home health aides, wheelchairs, etc. So no, a $20 metal straw that needs to be rinsed after use isn’t really feasible.
We do care about the planet. Most of us do, at least. But the gross ableism and classism I see in discussion about reducing plastic use is disturbing. Y’all need to get your people in check.
Rachel B. is living with mitochondrial disease in a world that is not A.D.A compliant.
Learn more about mitochondrial disease: http://www.mitoaction.org/mito-faq