Monday marked the 50th anniversary of UN World Environment Day, which commemorates the start of the modern environmental movement in 1972 when Rachel Carson released Silent Spring and the Club of Rome released Limits to Growth. In 2024 the theme was #BeatPlasticPollution, which even the most casual observer will have noticed is becoming an increasingly newsworthy problem.

Appealing to the UN’s growing savvy for a marketing angle, the anniversary aligned neatly with last week’s second round of negotiations in Paris for the UN’s global treaty to end plastic pollution. Despite the usual silly buggers from oil-producing nations, keen to protect the 4% sliver that plastic production accounts for in global oil demand, the week ended with an agreement by the 170 participating nations to develop the first draft of a global treaty to curb plastic pollution. It is a problem that is far more dire than just an unsightly outing to the beach. ..

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