Archive for Environment

Our Toxic Planet

image I don’t like to admit this but most days I wake up and I’m worried about our planet.  That’s not to say that I don’t start each day feeling happy or that I don’t feel appreciation to have my life, my friends, my husband and my health and all that good stuff – but with all that I feel fortunate about I still carry worry. 

What kind of world are we living in?  And what kind of world is it going to be in 5, 10, 50, 100 years?  Do I want to bring children into this world and potential future worlds?

Unfortunately, most of the information available looks…dismal.  And it’s hard to even keep up with the information to know what’s what or how bad it is.  Which fight do we fight first?  Human rights?  Global Warming?  Disease?  Blah, blah, blah.

What makes it worse is when the same, scary story feels like it’s getting hammered over your head.  It’s like everywhere you turn you find information about this bad thing that you’d rather pretend is not there.

That’s what I feel like about the situation with our oceans and the problems that have been caused by pollution, particularly with plastic.

I first heard about this from This American Life:

The Middle of Nowhere

Host Ira Glass talks with sailor and researcher Captain Charles Moore about a gigantic area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as far away from land as you can get, that is filling with plastic trash. There are five spots like this on the world’s oceans. For more, check out Captain Moore’s website. (3 minutes)

And now I’m starting to get the emails forwarded by friends and family, who love to spread email chains, with links and quotes from an article from the Natural History Magazine:

Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic.

It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world’s leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the “eastern garbage patch.” But “patch” doesn’t begin to convey the reality. Ebbesmeyer has estimated that the area, nearly covered with floating plastic debris, is roughly the size of Texas.

Essentially there are trash "islands" the size of Texas floating around in the ocean.  The plastics are getting mistaken for food by wild life and broken down into toxic chemicals and poisoning the oceans and oceanic life.

I now believe plastic debris to be the most common surface feature of the world’s oceans. Because 40 percent of the oceans are classified as subtropical gyres, a fourth of the planet’s surface area has become an accumulator of floating plastic debris.

I don’t know where else I hear about it and I expect that I will.  I actually hope I will, not for my sake, but for the sake of others hearing about this.

Needless to say, this isn’t really helping me wake up every day feeling happy about the world. 

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The Right Way to Dispose of e-Waste

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Oh, and that’s my sister!!

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