Saturday, June 12, 2010

Reduce plastic consumption

Photo Chris Jordan. Click to "embiggen."

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean is a giant pile of floating garbage that spins and whirls eternally in the ocean currents that rotate between the equator and 50 degrees North latitude. Debris, including plastics, chemical sludge, and other garbage accumulate on the ocean's surface and are trapped here by the currents that coil around them. Like a clogged kitchen sink full of garbage, the crap breaks into smaller pieces suspended in the water, chunks ranging from large to the size of zooplankton, kept spinning by the rotating currents Oceanographers call a gyre.

Photographer Chris Jordan brings us a chilling Message from the Gyre.

Midway Atoll lies in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It's a small island at the apex of this spiraling patch of crap known as the Great Pacific Garbage patch, which is twice the size of Texas. Midway Atoll was an important air base for the U.S. during World War II.

Midway Atoll is also the home of nearly three million seabirds - black-footed albatross, Laysan albatross, and other seabirds. Seals, dolphins and sea turtles also rely on Midway Atoll for shelter and nourishment.

On Midway's beaches, the plastic washes on the shore daily, and the birds collect them, thinking these bits of pretty pink, white and blue plastic are food. Growing baby birds are voraciously hungry, and mother birds feed the bits to their chicks until they choke and die. The beaches of Midway Atoll are thick with the decomposed remains of plastic-choked albatross chicks whose corpses are stuffed with our bottle caps, plastic lighters, foam peanuts, grocery bags and packaging. As the bodies of the birds decay and disappear, the plastic in their guts remain.

Photographer Chris Jordan has documented this. Look at his photos.

Think about this next time you buy a bottle of Diet Coke. Don't let anyone ever tell you that human beings can't alter the Earth's environment.


Jason, as himself said...

Yikes! This is horrifying. I had never heard of this trash patch in the ocean, but it does not surprise me. How awful. I am proud to say that I am a very conscientious recycle!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It all comes down to the petrochemicals. Even our wars are fought for them (not for our freedoms, that's for sure...Halliburton and company don't give a damn about those).

cactus petunia said...

A wise friend of mine once asked the question, "When you throw something away, where is away?"

Let's remember to consider that question whenever we purchase something, not just when we want to get rid of it.

Unknown said...

This is very sad.
This will definitely change our drinking habits this summer.
I am always glad when I come here.
You teach me so much.