Why ban something that helps the disability community and not ban something that hurts the whole environment?
The plastic straw ban has been controversial in the disability community for quite some time. The disability community benefits from plastic straws because many people with disabilities need to use straws that are flexible and sturdy. Plastic straws serve a purpose for people who need them to drink liquids. However, there is a plastic straw ban, growing throughout the world, that isolates the disability community due to systemic ableism. There is a great need for plastic straws for people with disabilities. Research shows they do not harm the environment as much as many other products. Some products have been in the world for much longer and cause far more damage than plastic straws. The biggest offender is cigarette butts which cause more damage, not only to human beings, but to the whole environment including our ocean life and many animals on our landscapes. So, why don’t we ban cigarette butts, cigars, and pipes instead?
The responsibility we all have to live independently with the supports we receive to be autonomous, is to embark on a plan that considers the fine line between saving the environment and saving our own lives. Too many times, people don’t understand how to create a product that benefits both the environment and people. It’s usually either one or the other, and that’s sad. It’s our responsibility as human beings to create products in this world that will not harm any being or the earth itself. The more we think about accessible products for human beings, as well as animals and the environment, the cleaner and healthier our universe will be. Human beings have creative minds, so we need to put our heads together and work with support rather than single-mindedly working on something alone. It’s time for us to ease our struggle with internalized ableism. Independent living is not independence — it’s interdependence!
Finally we break to pay tribute to Bill Peace who died recently; may he Rest in Power. Here is a link to the blog, Bad Cripple, written by long time, activist, blogger, and anthopology professor, Bill Peace: