In the Pacific ocean North East of Hawaii, exists a giant whirlpool of debris accumulated by the ocean currents, which is now scientifically referred to as the North Pacific Gyre. It’s one of the largest ecosystems on Earth, comprising millions of square kilometres. Today it’s better known as “The Great Garbage Patch,” an area the size of Queensland, Australia, where tonnes of plastic is spread throughout the ocean.
Photographer Chris Jordan has documented this phenomenon:
“On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean.
For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth. Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.
“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. The patch is actually comprised of the Western Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Eastern Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California. These areas of spinning debris are linked together by the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone, located a few hundred kilometers north of Hawaii. This convergence zone is where warm water from the South Pacific meets up with cooler water from the Arctic. The zone acts like a highway that moves debris from one patch to another.” – National Geographic
That’s a lot of ‘garbage’ patches…
A couple of months ago, a sperm whale was found dead ashore after swallowing 64 pounds of plastic debris.. Again, it’s not the first time. He was a male, found in Southern Spain on the Murcian coast. An autopsy was performed, and a slew of nets, ropes, plastic bags and more were found inside the whale’s stomach and intestines. The EL Valle Wildlife Rescue Center determined that the sperm whale was killed by damage to the stomach and intestines, by way of gastric shock. You can read more about that here.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that at least 88 percent of the Earth’s ocean surface is polluted with plastic debris. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Cadiz, Spain, as well as the University of Western Australia.
“We can’t account for 99 percent of the plastic that we have in the ocean.”
– Carlos Duarte, Professor of Biology at the University of Western Australia, participating researcher in the study.
This is a scary thought, especially given the fact that the plastic we can account for is, already by itself, way too much. Why humanity continues to manufacture products using plastic makes absolutely no sense. We’ve become attached to our ego, and primarily operate for little pieces of paper that don’t really have much value. For the sake of globalization and ‘economic development,’ we’re destroying our planet. We do not need to pollute the Earth in order to advance in an ‘economic’ and ‘global’ agenda, we have so much potential and so many substances, like hemp, that would completely cut pollution down to ZERO.
“One in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a wage.”
– Buckminister Fuller
It was invented by Boyan Slat, at the time, he was just a teenager.
As his website explains:
“Instead of going after the plastic, Boyan devised a system though which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennia to mere years. In February 2013 he dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering study at TU Delft to start The Ocean Cleanup. The first cleanup prototype was deployed in June 2016, and The Ocean Cleanup now prepares to launch the first full-scale operational system into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by mid-2018.”
This idea from the CEO of The Ocean Clean Up (what the technology is called) is certainly thought-provoking, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it works.
“Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch using conventional methods – vessels and nets – would take thousands of years and tens of billions of dollars to complete. Our passive systems are estimated to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years, at a fraction of the cost. Our first cleanup system is set to be deployed mid-2018.”
To learn more about this technology and exactly how it works, you can click here and that will take you straight to the initiatives page.
The World Is Changing
It seems as though we’ve handed over our power to a bunch of politicians, doesn’t it? All we do is watch them gather at global summits to discuss how to combat our growing and dire environmental issues. What’s sad about this is, for them, it’s not really about helping the planet and doing what’s best for the global citizenry, but more so about expanding their geopolitical influence and economic will on others. Summits on such issues have been happening for decades, and despite the fact that there is more than enough potential and existing technology to solve all of our environmental issues, nothing has really changed at all. If ‘power’ was actually in the hands of people who truly cared about the planet and all life on it, we would have solved these problems decades ago.
Are our ‘leaders’ truly concerned? Why is it that we have so many solutions, yet Red Tape continues to prevent us from implementing them?
Today, we don’t live in a democracy, but more so a corporatocracy, and if you follow the money, it’s not hard to see. Our political system, our means to create any sort of change (unfortunately), has been completely corrupted, and it’s been corrupted for a very long time.
“Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great staffs, both of the old parties have ganged aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests which use them in martialling [sic] to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
This is why initiatives like Boyan’s are so important, the more we continue to wake up and realize what is going on, the more ‘sparked’ people, like Boyan, are going to be to do something about it. Change doesn’t start with those who we elect, it starts with us, and if we’re going to change this planet, it’s something WE have to do. The amount of environmentally friendly initiatives that exist today are unbelievable, and once we are successful in dismantling this corporatocracy, and make it a true democracy, our planet will know change. We are currently in the process…