Summertime. The kids are entertaining themselves with sticks and books and bikes and kites. Old school.
The sun goes down. A campfire is lit. It’s a neighbourhood affair.
“Can we toast marshmallows?” asks one of the neighbourhood kids.
It is dark and the kids have run out of things for which to entertain themselves. So we poke fluffy, sugary cylinders of garbage onto sticks. I can’t deny them. Not in the presence of this crowd. The act of toasting marshmallows is like Santa Claus. People think it is a tradition that has been going on for thousands of years. It has inertia. It can’t be stopped.
Soon the marshmallows are put away. In another twenty minutes, the kids will be bored.
That’s when one of the neighbourhood ladies will pull out a pack of “glow sticks” that she purchased at the dollar store.
As far as light emitting campfire toys go, glow sticks are a lot safer than the “sparklers” the kids of twenty years ago had. You know, the sizzling sticks with the red-hot eyeball-threatening end? I would definitely consider banning those things.
But what’s the problem with the glow sticks?
But the chemicals in glow sticks are non-toxic, right?
If “they” told you they were, would you trust them? I know a lotta toxic goodies are released when one falls in the campfire, and no matter what “they” say, I sleep better if I know the remnants of discarded glow sticks did not end up in my water supply.
So if you’re a Navy Seal and you need a little light to rappel down into Bin Laden’s secret cave…
…by all means, crack a glow stick.
But if you’re dispensing these things to every kid at every campfire, every weekend…
…then you’ve gotta do the math. This article from 2014 estimates 100 million sticks a year end up in the trash. How many of them end up in the cute little beluga whale’s tum-tum? I’m sure our kids will be able to answer that one day.
I hereby ban this product for all non-essential use. That means you, concert-goers. For now, can you please just hold up a cigarette lighter like the old days? I would say hold up your cellphone, but you know how I feel about those.