News Environment TED Talk: Van Jones Links Plastics Pollution With Poverty By Jaymi Heimbuch Writer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Jaymi Heimbuch Updated October 11, 2018 Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices Image via TED video Van Jones gave a talk at a recent TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch event, and what he brought up about the correlation between plastic use and poverty was fascinating. Zeroing in on Cancer Alley, disposability of things, the placement of environmental issues and humanitarian issues as either/or efforts, the sense of righteousness tainting green actions, and sustainability as a poverty-fighting solution, Jones' talk is ripe with ideas. "If we want to trash the planet, we have to trash people," is probably the statement that stood out to me the most. Jones points out that one is intricately linked to the other in ways that we often don't recognize. Environmentalism as a humanitarian issue is visible when it comes to e-waste dumps, or ruined farm land, or disappearing habitats for native tribes in the Amazon. But the production process, the access to choices to buy reuseables rather than disposables or organics rather than whatever is on a store's shelf -- these are things that need much more attention within the green movement. "Are you going to hug a tree, or are you going to hug a child?" Jones notes that when it comes to plastic, it has to be both.