The world is turning into a giant garbage can, no doubt, and
it’s getting worse. Scientists surveyed the islands of Cocos (in the Australian
territory) and estimated there’s about 414 million pieces of plastic which
could weigh up to 262 tons. Among the garbage was almost one million shoes and
hundreds of thousands of toothbrushes. Straws and plastic bags made up a
quarter of the total. Another study noted that there were more pieces of
plastic in the ocean than stars in the Milky
The scale of the problem is getting so bad that it seems
almost impossible to clean up the beaches. It’s time consuming, costly, and
thousands of new pieces of plastic wash up even after you’ve just cleaned it.
The solution now is to reduce the distribution and consumption of plastic so
that it doesn’t enter our oceans in the first place. I applaud the cities in
Minnesota that are banning Styrofoam containers and eliminating plastic straws.
We need people to be aware that we can’t stop pollution from happening, but we
can certainly slow it down.
Another issue in itself is how all this garbage affects
wildlife. A pregnant sperm whale washed up, dead, on an Italian beach. When
scientists and veterinarians cut her open, they found a dead baby whale along
with 50 pounds of plastic in her stomach. The plastic filled up more than two
thirds of her stomach and potentially died because the nutrients from the food
never made it past the blocked intestines.
If for some reason that information didn’t spark something inside you, take this in. Victor Vescovo set a record on becoming the first American to descend deeper into the ocean than any person before him. He and his dive team were more than 35,850 feet below the surface of the Mariana Trench—the deepest point in the Earth’s oceans. That’s nearly 7 miles! That’s a similar distance between Metro State and Hidden Falls Regional Park “as the crow flies” (straight shot, not based on driving directions). Vescovo spent four hours at the bottom mapping new routes for future researchers and among the bottom? Trash. While a single piece of plastic isn’t going to single-handedly kill the ocean species, it’s a reminder on the impact human’s have and how far it reaches.
Nobody is perfect and as a population we sure haven’t been making the smartest decisions that we could. A major issue we have found ourselves in is a planet full of waste. Recycling is an easy and effective solution to keep our planet healthy for future generations. If you create waste then you should learn about recycling.
A single person choosing to recycle does make a difference. An average person could save 1,100 pounds of waste in a year by caring enough to recycle. If 15 people can be reached from this blog and make the switch we are saving 16,500 pounds of waste from sitting in a landfill and harming the environment with toxins. We could be saving natural resources that support wildlife and conserving energy for new materials to be made. When producing aluminum companies can save 95% of energy! It has the potential to save millions for businesses and can then help boost the economy. More job opportunities can be created if the trend continues to grow. Please be aware and take action in recycling.
Items not recycled can and do also end up in the ocean. This can be catastrophic for animals who become trapped or confuse our waste as food. There’s no excuse for not being responsible with our trash besides the convenience of being extra lazy.
Right now is the time to start practicing healthy habits such as recycling so generations following us grow up taking care of their planet without even thinking about it. Just as we want our kids to put their seat belts on automatically to potentially save their lives, we should want them to automatically take care of their world with simple practices.
I am trying to take the approach of mass self-communication by myself choosing the channel of blogging to send my message of recycling in hope that the message will spread. There are a lot of environmentalist around because it is such a vital part of living in the world we do and it could potentially reach multiplicity of receivers. As Castells discusses in Networks of Outrage Opening, it could just be “connecting to endless networks that transmit digitized information around the neighborhood or around the world”. I am using a horizontal network of communication by starting with my classmates and then who they decide to share with. No person is having more power than another.