October 27, 2013

Our Plastics Problem

I've learned quite a bit since posting this photo in October 2013. Since then, I order the book Plastic Ocean by Captain Charles Moore, and found myself hooked on ocean plastic research and it's impact in (and beyond) our marine ecosystems.

I've learned that "doing something" about the plastics problem is way more than a beach clean up. It's a complete change in our buying behavior, and in our determination to demand global reform that supports corporate accountability for the entire lifecycle of a product. It's not enough to say "this product is made from recycled materials", but instead, "this product's packaging is biodegradable and our company takes accountability for the entire lifecycle of the product by providing avenues for packaging return from consumers."

For anyone interested in finding out more about the issue, I would recommend starting with Captain Moore's short film called Synthetic Sea which is only 10 minutes long. This offers a compelling summary of the key issues going on in the gyres. Next, for the more highly motivated, dive into his story by reading Plastic Ocean, copyright 2011. What I like about the book is the historical context about consumption and the plastics industry. In addition, Captain Moore is an excellent writer, which makes it a shocking yet pleasurable read.

Current research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (my old Birch Aquarium stomping grounds) backs up Captain Moore's efforts: https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/1847.

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