Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Plastics and Atlanta attacks

John OliverTonight’s edition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver talked all about recent attacks against the Asian-American community in Atlanta — but also plastics. Plastics? That’s a surprising subject matter for March, but this is a big part of what Last Week Tonight is trying to achieve this season. They are looking at subjects that you should know a little bit more about in addition to ones in the headlines.

When it comes to the matter of plastics, consider that less than 10% of the plastic that is out there ends up being recycled. Or, that many items people assume are recyclable actually are not — take, for example, plastic boxes that contain lettuce that you find in the grocery store. Did you know that? Probably not. There are more plastic items being consumed than ever before, but there also isn’t enough awareness of how to conserve.

So what can be done to actually make the world a safer place? Oliver argued that it of course starts with awareness, for both the individual and then also corporations. Businesses can’t just pawn off responsibility onto those who buy their products. There are plenty of people out there who don’t know what the number on the recycling labels even mean. There was some shocking information in here, but also a great deal of time spent mocking bad mascots used to bring about change — even if not all of them came with hard facts.

In getting back to current events, Oliver strongly condemned the recent hate crimes against the Asian-American community, and also offered a strong rebuke of both local law enforcement in Atlanta and others who suggested that this was not racially motivated. He also took issue with President Biden’s proclamation that these acts were “un-American,” largely because of the country’s noted history of anti-Asian sentiment. The acts shouldn’t be American, but we need to confront these problems head-on in order to bring about real change. It was Oliver’s strongest message of the night, and one that must absolutely be heard.

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