Letter: Bag Tax Scenario Sheds Light on Real Environmental Crisis | Letters


The environmental crisis is not environmental. It is spiritual.

“I used to think that the main environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good scientific knowledge, we could solve these problems. But I was wrong. The major environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with them we need spiritual and cultural transformation, and we scientists don’t know how to do that.—Gus Speth, environmental lawyer, founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council

Indeed, that seems to be the case with Roanoke’s 5-cent bag tax. On a recent afternoon at Kroger’s self-checkout, customers encouraged each other to “press none” when engaged with the “how many bags?” request. Obviously, lying about how many bags one takes to avoid the 5 cent bag tax seems like a small sin in the grand scheme of things. However, it INDICATES how dismissive humanity has become about the state of our common home: the Earth.

City officials don’t want you to pay a bag tax. They want you to bring your own bags and become aware of the litter in your city. If the reaction to this is to lie about the number of bags one uses, then one is neither conscientious nor truthful.

Regarding bag tax at self-checkout, either Kroger should assign a “bag tax cop” to monitor the veracity of customers, or eliminate bags at self-checkout altogether . Like HOV lanes on our congested highways, a luxury if carpooling, self-service payment becomes a luxury for those bringing their own luggage.

Please consider that as human beings we are not separate from the habitat and biosphere of this planet. The Creator has made us an integral part of all the swirling habitat around us, co-evolving with the biosphere. As such, we owe each other a debt of care and responsibility. The city cannot impose this responsibility on you. Only you can do it.

Signed by RAISE Members, Roanoke Area Interfaith Stewards of the Earth: Jane Gabrielle McCadden, Laura Hartman, Luci Wright, Bill Bestpitch, Diane Koropchak, Cyndi Jones, Leon F. Vinci, Phyllis Cox, Ellen Holtman


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