Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pacific Plastic Soup - Coming to a shore near you

"Each person must live their lives as a model for others" - Rosa Parks

There's a ton of plastic garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean.

You may have heard of this before as it's been a story that's been floating around (heh heh) for a while now. Well, fairly soon, thanks to my super groovy friend Anna and her super groovy boyfriend Marcus, we're all going to get a firsthand account.

Anna and I go back a few years and she is actually the reason that I started teaching in the first place. She's a super committed enviro-activist, doesn't own a car, just an awesome Xtracycle and has a great site and great blog about lessening your impact on the planet. I had coffee with Marcus and her a week ago and they shared with me details of their upcoming voyage.

On Jan 15th, they are heading to Hawaii to spend a month sailing through the Pacific plastic "soup" with the the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in order to study it. You can check out info on their voyage here and I'll be sharing their blogs with everyone as they come in from the sea. Anyone else who wants to spread the word should definitely link to their posts as this is the kind of stuff people need to see.

For anyone who thinks that they aren't part of the problem, and we all are by the way, here's a few sobering pics for you.

This pic is a shot of Marcus holding up a line tied with little plastic tidbits. I took a look at it and thought "yikes that stuff shouldn't be floating in the ocean" and then he told me that all these little things were taken out of the rotting carcasses of seagulls they found on the shores of the Aleutian Islands (I believe that's where they were from, I was in a bit of shock). Incredible. On the right you can see a closer version. Bic lighters, toothbrushes, doll legs, and a whole host of other stuff that has no business being out there.

After they get back, Marcus and Anna are planning on riding their amphibious bikes that they built cross country to show school kids what they have seen. If you'd like them to come to your kids school, feel free to drop me a line and I'll pass it along to them.

Throwing out a hale and hearty huzzah to Marcus and Anna, wishing them both a safe and educational trip, and a thanks in advance for takiing us along for the ride.

Live Sustainably



the june fox said...

hi there, can you point me towards any images online of this famous plasic soup? I've read quite a few news stories on it now, but haven't actually seen any images -

Any help on this would be great - All the best, k

Dave said...

They should ahve some pics up on their blog. Also, i notice that my pics are no longer here whihc is odd. I'll have to investigate that. If you watch this video I recall that they show a sample of the water and you can see it. Keep in mind if you were in the gyre, you wouldn't look down and see shopping bags. The plastic is in tiny pieces (mostly) by the time it gets there so a water sample held op to the light (which I've seen and is quite shocking) will show you what's really going on.