Wednesday, August 02, 2006


In conversation with a friend of the family, a materials scientist in his eighties, we turn to the looming end of the era of oil. He worries about his grandchildren's world. Not because of energy production - he is confident we will figure that out - but plastics, all of which are produced from petrochemicals.

In my recent jaunt in hospital for the arrival of baby M I finally understood. We're not talking Tesco bags here. We are utterly, totally dependent upon the flexible, stable, inert properties of plastics for millions of life saving inventions. From drips to syringes, from tubes to bottles, from electrical insulation to computer keyboards. Whatever, I wonder, will we do without them?

-- Justin
-- back briefly

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