Friday, June 30, 2017

Not so fantastic plastic

Your grandchildren's grandchildren will see this...
It will last long enough for your grandchildren's grandchildren to see..
Many ancient civilizations that have disappeared have left behind traces of their existence. Pyramids, catacombs, the Sphinx, coliseums...

In a future time -- maybe sooner than later -- when our world is just another dead planet in a solar system full of them, visiting extraterrestrials may learn of our existence via the plastic that we left behind.

As a result of our throwaway society, plastic infects every bit of our globe. Micro-plastics fill the ocean and are making their way up the food chain. Recently, the beaches of Henderson Island, a remote island off South America located 5000 miles away from the nearest civilization, were discovered to contain an estimated 37.7 million items of debris together weighing 17.6 tonnes. The wall of garbage -- carried to the island via ocean currents -- is killing off the local sea turtles that can no longer access the beach to lay their eggs.

Separately, photographer Chris Jordan has documented the sad deaths of albatrosses on Midway Island in the Pacific, twitching the last of their lives away as they starve. Their stomachs are full of ocean-borne plastic bits that they have mistaken for food.

This display at Tofino's Botanical Gardens is a testament to the durability of plastic and styofoam. It's a collection of the debris that poured into the ocean following Japan's earthquake of 2011. It floated all the way across the Pacific Ocean to wash up on the shores of Vancouver Island in the two years following the disaster.

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