|Giant rubber duck at Sydney Festival|
"Consider the following: In nature, there are 142 known species of Anseriformes, the order to which ducks, swans and geese belong. Of those species, only one, the white Pekin duck, a domesticated breed of mallard, produces spotless yellow ducklings. Since the invention of plastic, four known species of Anseriforme have gone extinct; several others survive only in sanctuaries created to save them. Meanwhile, by the estimates of an American sociologist of Chinese descent named Charlotte Lee, who owns the largest duckie collection in the world, the makers of novelties and toys have concocted around ten thousand varieties of rubber duck, nearly all of which are yellow, and most of which are not in fact made of rubber, nor like the Floatees from polyethylene, but from plasticized polyvinyl chloride, a derivative of coal. Why has man just these species of things for his neighbours, a latter-day Thoreau might ask; as if nothing but a yellow duck could perch on the rim of a tub? "