Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.
― Jacques-Yves Cousteau
I got into an argument with someone once about those stupid single-serving Keurig machines. I was against the idea of all those plastic cups being thrown away, cup after cup after cup. She argued that those small bits of plastic weren’t as bad as wasting water brewing a full pot (you don’t actually HAVE to brew a full pot each time, but that’s beyond the point).
I still think I’m right. Small bits of plastic are just as bad as big bits of plastic. They all, in time, degrade into itty bitty pieces of plastic that don’t go away, they just absorb pollutants and become incorporated into our water and our land.
But small pieces of plastic also fall by the wayside, unnoticed. Until they’re picked up and eaten.
Remember how we used to worry about plastic six-pack rings getting caught around wild animals’ beaks or throats? It gets oh so much worse than that.
What happens when a bird mistakes a small bit of plastic for something tasty? What if they’ve eaten something tasty that has in its time eaten its own plastic pieces? They swallow it and it just sits there, in their small stomach, undigested. It’s joined by more. Until eventually, their stomach doesn’t have enough room to hold the food they need to eat to survive.
This is something I knew, having seen some photographs that seared the information into my memory. The photographer, Chris Jordan, is working on the film MIDWAY, slated to premiere in 2014. I hope you’ll remember and take time to see it and spread the word about it.
The MIDWAY media project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times.
Our trash. Traveling the ocean to kill off birds on a remote island. It never goes away.
Reduce, reduce, reduce. Recycle, recycle, recycle.
3 minutes. Please do me a favor and watch it.