Thursday, January 28, 2010

This plastic pollution in the ocean is no simple matter.

It’s easy to blame a certain industry or group for these problems but if we were honest with ourselves, we’d recognize that many more groups than we might like to acknowledge contribute. And one contributing party might be looking us in the mirror each morning.

I saw two things this week that reinforced the idea that marine debris is caused by more sources than we’d like to imagine. There are also easy solutions, though we have to start with acknowledging the problem.

Surfrider Foundation sends out a weekly newsletter and their last one said that 7 whales have washed up on the coast of Italy recently, and they died because they ingested plastic bags, among other things.

I picked up 3 bags on the two block journey from my house to the bus stop. Do you know how big whales are? They’re BIG. Like the size of a school bus big. I bring my own grocery bags regularly but I still use garbage bags for the non-recyclable or non-compostable items I have, and I had 2 large clear plastic bags that held recyclables from a recent work-related event to dispose of. Plastic bags and plastic film of all varieties are everywhere. The more we can reduce our use of them, the less chance there is that our plastic bags will end up killing a whale. A 13 ton whale. Talk about ego to use something so briefly that can kill such a large and magnificent creature.

The second thing is a forwarded blog entry from my girl Danielle. I’ve noticed that participants during local and televised international cycling events, marathons, half-marathons, etc., take cups of water, energy drinks, or now these funky energy gels from volunteers. What happens to these items? They get tossed on the side of the road. In my dreams, the race committee has a clean up crew to pick up this waste. The link below is a blog entry that shows that this stuff doesn’t magically disappear.

The lesson here is to use less stuff, pick up after yourself, and for pete’s sake, if you see a piece of litter, pick it up.

Jennifer O'Keefe

Sunday, January 24, 2010

If you wondered how plastics get out to the middle of the ocean

Check out this video. Research shows that 80% of plastic in the marine environment is from land-base sources. Watch this video then calculate how many storm drains there are in the world and you can quickly figure out how much our one time use items contribute to the plastic pollution in the ocean gyres.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Charlie Moore at UNCW Presentation Huge Turnout

We had to turn people away as the Lumina Theatre with its 360 seats were not enough. With only two weeks to promote this event, it speaks volumes about all walks of life who care about this planet. I saw children under the age of 10, high school students, college students, the sea turtle community, the elderly, faculty and staff with eyes wide open as Captain Moore shared his finding on the maladies of plastic in the marine environment. I'm confident, not one person walked away without now second guessing their use of plastics. Bravo Charlie. Thank you Jennifer from Keep America Beautiful of New Hanover County, Surfrider, UNCW ECO, and the good folks from South Carolina, Lloyd Mackall, Goffinet and Ian McLaren.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Captain Moore Gains Media Coverage while Lecturing on the East Coast

Captain Moore spoke on Maine's Public Radio this week after being on Colbert Nation Tuesday 1/6/10 and presenting at the MERI Ocean Environment Lecture Series in Maine on 1/8/10.

The Captain has a full dance card while traveling up and down the east coast lecturing. He will be at it again on 1/11/10 at the Beacon Academy Lecture Series. On January 12th, he will present at the Marine Science Center at Northeastern University Nahant, Massachusetts. Last, but not least, the Captain will be at UNCWilmington presenting in the Lumina Theatre, Student Fisher Center on the university campus. A scientific poster session will pregame his lecture. All are free and open to the public so go and find yourself a seat!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Captain Moore Will Air on Colbert Report tonight

Make sure you watch the Colbert Nation tonight 1/6/10 at 11:00 on Comedy Central. Charlie Moore from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation will be talking about his 10 year anniversary of studying plastic pollution in the marine environment as well as his 10,000 nautical mile research cruise in the North Pacific this summer. I was fortunate enough to be there for 3,460 NM of it. If you love the ocean, you will love Charlie Moore and his mission.

Also, Charlie Moore will be presenting at UNC Wilmington 8pm Thursday, 1/14/10 at the Lumina Theatre in the Fisher Student Center free and open to the public.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Funniest Find in the North Pacific Gyre

I've been doing a lot of editing from my 20 hours of footage from the North Pacific Garbage Patch. The video I have selected is from our being about 1200 miles from Hawaii and even further from any other land mass. I had been playing a game trying to pluck 10 large objects from the the ocean while traveling at 3 knots in choppy seas. Many things floated by but they had to be in reach of a handheld fish net in order to attempt to pull them out. The task takes timing as well as strength depending on (1)how many feet in the air the boat is launched from the wave action and (2)the size of the object being retrieved.

My chance to pull item number 10 within one hour came after I had asked the ocean to send me something different, something really interesting, something that would catch a viewer's attention. By the time I pulled it out I remember saying to myself, "And she has a sense of humor." I think the ocean is trying to tell us something. The item may reference how she feels we are treating her. What do you think?