Journal Entry

Water and Plastic
sat 6 Sept 2008

the kale, surrounded by irises

In an effort to keep the kale alive in my poor little garden, I've been watering every day for the past month. It's a royal pain. Since we don't have a hose, I have to fill up a big watering can in the kitchen sink and then carry it around the peninsula, through the porch room and then water the plants in the garden. Six times every morning. ugh.

My mom was saying that no matter how much they water their garden, it's only after a rain that the vegetables actually perk up and start happily growing. She said something about the goodness that is rain and I agreed with her, having noticed the same thing.

But, thinking about it, I believe it's less about the goodness that is rain and more about the badness that is our running water. Bare minimum, we've got chlorine and fluoride in our drinking water, both poisons. And whatever is in the pipes, or peeling off the pipes between the treatment plant and our home.

And then you've got all the junk that the water treatment plant can't filter out or kill. The hormones and poisons that have run off from our factory farms. The antidepressents, diet pills, cholesterol drugs and etc that we give ourselves are getting "recycled" in our water supply.

The plants in our gardens are probably all "Are you trying to kill us?! Jeez!"

Of course, all of this jacked up water wanders its way down to the ocean. But today I'm not talking about the dead zones we've made. Today I'm talking about plastic.

Plastic never goes away. It just breaks down into smaller bits of plastic. And then it blows away, floats down in the river, ends up in the ocean.

An area of floating plastic trash was discovered in 1997 by Capt. Charles Moore in the North Pacific Gyre. He estimated the floating plastic vortex was about the size of Texas.

Today, the floating plastic trash has split in two areas. It's the size of two continental United States.

oh, the plastic is not just floating out there. It's busy poisoning and killing marine animals. Plastic leaks out the chemicals we put in it (to change it's physical properties) but it also soaks up "oily" toxins from the environment.

And marine animals eat the plastic. Because it looks like food. Because there is nothing else to eat? There is more plastic than plankton in the gyres.

The animals choke on the plastic. Or they starve to death, full of plastic. Or they get sick from the toxins, and get eaten by someone else. Plastic and the toxins it carries is in _Every_ living being in the ocean.

Oh, and guess what? We feed fish meal, aka ground up fishes, to the domesticated animals in our factory farms. So there's plastic and its toxins in the dead animals and dairy you eat. On top of the poisons we feed them on purpose.

  You can avoid the plastic in your diet by going vegan!

  Recycle! All plastics except #6 (styrofoam) can be put into the recycling bin. Avoid styrofoam like the plague. Do not throw electronics away, take them to a recycling center.

  When you have a choice, don't choose plastic.

Plastic is in everything, and it is too late to clean up our oceans. But there is no reason to contribute to the problem, especially where easy solutions exist... Like reusable shopping bags.

Trashed: Across the Pacific Ocean, Plastics, Plastics, Everywhere by Capt. Charles Moore
The story of the discovery of the Texas-sized "eastern garbage patch" in 1997.

The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan
Today, the plastic patch in the North Pacific Gyre has split and covers an area equal to two continental United States.

Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Set up by Capt. Moore to study our plastic problems. Dang, check out the photo gallery.

2008.09.11 A Local Plastic Update

One of our local grocery stores has decided to discontinue plastic bags! It's the second store to do so in our city, after Trader Joe's. Yay, Market of Choice!

Newspaper Article: Grocery drops the question: Itís paper only

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