All of us know that littering is harmful to the planet. It wreaks havoc on fragile ecosystems and inflicts horrific deaths on countless animals every year. Despite the fact that the materials we use to manufacture various products could be replaced with ones more harmonious with the planet, like hemp, companies still elect to use plastic, and we still buy it. It just doesn’t make any sense, does it?
What we need at this time is a massive global effort to clean up our oceans. Sometimes it really does seem like the world would have to agree to a total economic shut-down in order to have a chance of surviving. Imagine if billions of people came together to solve this problem and effect real change. We would, without a doubt, clean up our planet in no time at all.
There are so many changes that we need to make and our race has great potential to make them. We really don’t need plastic, and we really don’t need to use oil.
When it comes to our oceans, there are a variety of solutions available, and we’ve written about a few of them. Here is one great example, which could probably even be improved upon at this point, and here is another. Factor in the idea that major global organizations have access to some of the best minds in the world, and we really could turn things around.
The video below is graphic and will be difficult for many to watch, but it’s important that we not turn away from the hard truths of this world. Hearing about something and seeing it for yourself are two different things. For this very reason, we recently published an article titled “21 things the egg industry does not want you to see“; it is graphic as well, but as a result of seeing those images, many people elected to change their source of purchase. Many others were completely unaware of these facts, and still are.
The video is curtesy of Christine Figgener, in collaboration with Dr. Nathan J. Robinson. The turtle is an Olive Ridley sea turtle and was found during an in-water research trip in Costa Rica.
“After a short debate about what we should do we removed it with the plier of a swiss army knive which was the only tool available on our small boat (not intended for overnight stays), since we were on the ocean, in a developing country, a few hours away from the coast and several hours away from any vet (probably days from any vet specialized in reptiles, not to mention sea turtles) and x-ray machines. Plus, we would have incurred a penalty (up to time in jail) on ourselves by removing the turtle since that is beyond our research permits. He did very obviously not enjoy the procedure very much, but we hope that he is now able to breath more freely.”
After the removal of the object, they disinfected the air passageway with iodine and kept the turtle for observation, making sure it would be okay before releasing it back into the wild.
“The bleeding stopped pretty much immediately after the removal of the straw.”
How Much Plastic Is In Our Ocean?
A study recently 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. (source) The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Cadiz, Spain, as well as from the University of Western Australia. These findings obviously raise major concerns over the welfare of marine life, our climate, the food chain, and much more.
Another group of researchers looked at how much plastic waste every single coastal country in the world produces and how much of it could potentially spill into the ocean. They estimated that up to 40 percent of it could very well end up in the ocean, and reported that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic actually did wash offshore in 2010 alone. This is a significant percentage of the world’s total plastic production. Even more concerning is the fact that plastic waste dumping, as well as plastic waste entering into our oceans, is projected to increase exponentially. (source)
Northeast of Hawaii, the ocean currents form a giant whirlpool of debris from around the Pacific. The scientific name is the North Pacific Gyre. It’s one of the largest ecosystems on Earth, occupying millions of square kilometres. Today it’s better known as “The Great Garbage Patch,” an area the size of Queensland, Australia, comprising approximately one million tonnes of plastic on the ocean.
The point is, there is a lot of plastic in our ocean, more so than one might have previously imagined. It’s quite a shocker, but at the same time not at all surprising given our wasteful habits.
What Can We Do To Stop This?
There are a number of ways to turn things around, and to be honest, if all of the countries gathered around the globe and made a concerted effort, bringing together the world’s best engineers and scientists, it could be done. We spend billions of dollars on war every single year, and trillions of dollars have gone missing from the Department of Defence in the United States alone, so money should not be a problem. What’s the hold up?
One of the problems is the fact that governments are completely controlled by corporations and the banking industry. These corporations seem to have very little concern for environmental laws and regulations, and are largely responsible for the mess we have today. That being said, there is no need for finger-pointing, as all of us share this responsibility and ‘blame’ together, as one human race.
The more we speak up, continue to examine the solutions, and push for change, the more likely it will manifest for our planet. GMOs are a great example of the power we have; because of activism and awareness, a number of countries are now completely banning them, and millions of people every year gather to “March Against Monsanto.”
What can YOU do? Personally, I never, ever throw a piece of gum on the ground, or garbage for that manner. Animals are my first thought; there are so many things they could choke on or ingest that would otherwise do harm to their bodies that people don’t even think of. So not littering would be your first step, and picking up trash when you see it. I do this often, but I get overwhelmed and have to stop because it seems like there is a piece of trash everywhere I look.
In order to combat this problem we are going to have to use eco-friendly products on a global mass scale. It seems like it’s getting to the point where all human beings should be required to.
This is why I am so grateful for alternative media, and I am thankful for the growing number of people showing concern and realizing that we need to clean this planet up and start producing products that are more eco-friendly, like hemp.
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