How many times have we heard politicians and special interest groups call for drastic legislation as a “knee-jerk” reaction to a problem? You don’t need a fish net to catch a fly!
Unfortunately many make far reaching demands without worrying about the consequences. And the problem is, once a law is on the books, it stays there! Rarely, if ever, is a law, good, bad or outdated, taken off the books! So, poorly thought out laws either create havoc or they are just ignored! Most of these groups and politicians are well meaning. They see a problem and want it corrected. That’s fine if it really does solve the problem, but too often the solution goes way beyond the actual problem, thus the net to catch a fly analogy. New laws must be thoroughly thought through and all of the ramification must be considered. Consider the banning of all plastic water bottles. I have heard towns and groups advocating banning them entirely. Why not work jointly with water companies and plastic bottle manufacturers to come up with a safe acceptable solution. Similarly I have heard the some groups want paper coffee cups banned. The same applies here, get all the interested parties together and fine a solution. Poorly thought out laws don’t serve anyone’s purpose!
Personally, I like the attitude of some of the festival organizers have taken. For example, the Guelph Hillside Festival was having problems with too many plastic water bottles. They wanted to reduce or eliminate their use. The Festivals solution was to develop a practical alternate. They decided to bring in a tank full of potable water and then sell re-usable aluminum water bottles that could be filled up for free! As a result of this innovative thinking they drastically reduced the plastic bottle waste! Then there is the Shelter Valley Folk Festival. They wanted to have a “green” festival. They wanted local products to be used and to have little waste. There solution was quite simple. Contract with local food vendors and make sure they were committed to using local produce. That was solution number one. The second solution for waste was just as simple. Invest in re-usable plates and cutlery and convince a whole bunch of people to volunteer to keep them washed! Now they enjoy a wonderful “green” festival, that is the pride of all those involved!
Rather than take draconian measures, each identified a challenge and then found intelligent solutions! Politician and advocacy groups would do well to take note!