Another dot in the blogosphere?

Missing mindset factor

Posted on: March 13, 2021

Video source

This was the second time I have heard about a study that seems to support the use of single-use plastic bags. The first was this news article on similar research.

I say “seems” because, as host Hank Green pointed out, the answers are complicated. If we take a more holistic or systemic view of what different types of bags take away as resources and contribute as pollutants, single-use bags might actually play a better numbers game.

Green pointed out that one consideration that was missing from the study was the impact of these bags as pollutants to nature. One need only recall marine animals ingesting plastic bags and the bags breaking down as micro plastics which then make their way up the food chain. This factor is difficult to quantify.

I say there is another missing and even more difficult factor to measure. It is how the continued use of single-use plastic bags perpetuates the use-and-throw mentality. Users do know or care where the bags come from or where they end up. If we do not reduce our dependence on single-use plastic bags, we do not nurture a change in mindset because nothing seems wrong about it.

As usual, I see a parallel about mindsets in teacher and faculty professional development. Administrators and trainers alike still focus on content and skills of workshops or courses. They should. But they also need to address mindset change. No amount of new policies, expectations, or content is going to change behaviours if people do not first believe these are necessary.

Like trying to measure the impact of mindset on single-use plastic bags, addressing the mindsets of educators is difficult. But relegating or ignoring is not going to make the problem of harmful behaviours go away.

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