The North Pacific Garbage Patch

Delicious empty plasticUpdate: May 2011 – Hey, if you like my writing, you should check out my new website: Sustainable Diversity with fresh new and more in depth material!

********If you think the North Pacific Garbage Patch is important I strongly suggest you click on this link to my entry on the general state of our oceans. There are more immediate dangers to our ocean other than it being a giant garbage pool (I know! Suck! right?!)*********

********Update: 1/16/10 – Brand new article in Scientific America about the mounting concern about the dangers of BPA – Let’s hope this is the start of the ball we’ve all been waiting for to move on to a biodegradable and safer choice in packaging and containing********

Ecological disasters that affect the Earth on a global scale have been important to me for a long while now. Not because I love to see disasters or that I am a nature freak – but because I see an absolute lack of attention on these issues and I know, being a rational human being, that large ecological disasters need to be addressed – and ecological disasters involving our water is huge. Earlier I wrote an entry on the dilapidated Aral Sea which civilization hides what remains of the skeleton in countries forgotten or mocked. Ecological disasters – total and utter disasters – are a massive blind spot in the vision of civilization.

The North Pacific Garbage Patch is easily one of the top 5 blind spots of civilization. Everyday civilization cheerleads over the material benefits it has provided to humanity. Cars, money, alcohol, drugs, toys, conversation-pieces, an amazing array of food, plumbing, sneakers, clothes, the list is literally endless. From the depths of South America and Mexico immigrants team towards the United States in droves grasping for the coattails of the lifestyle civilization has provided the “Western” world for the last century. In China and other Southeast Asian countries people are willing to work literally for pennies for a chance at the civilized lifestyle – the chance to get material possessions to miraculously appear like those in the western culture.

Yet the Achilles heal of civilization can be summed up in one sentence: There are infinite desires on this finite planet. Yet Civilization is going full-steam ahead at creating a globalized world and economy. The blood of the Civilized Beast? Oil. It courses thick and hot through the veins as it is at the root of our transportation, which we all know, but it is also at the root of something less-thought-about but more prevalent than gas – plastics.

Plastic comes from oil and civilization has found no end for its uses. If we stopped using everything that used plastic today we wouldn’t have computers, cars, medical equipment, cookware, most bottles, most supermarket bags, and so much more. When you have a substance that is so depended on by literally billions of people, but yet is so disposable is the point when you have a problem – that is common sense. We are at that point. We have a problem.

The North Pacific Garbage Patch, the Toxic Soup, Pacific Trash Vortex, Garbage Island, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are just some names that have referred to this problem. And it’s a problem that is still in its infancy to Civilization (which always has something more important to deal with than problems – like profit). The fact that this problem doesn’t even have just one common name shows how unaddressed this problem really is. People can say 9/11 and everybody knows exactly what you’re talking about, but if you start asking people about the North Pacific Garbage Patch many will blankly stare and wait for you to “preach” to them and walk away deeming you as a hippie or environmentalist. Yet 9/11 was two (albeit tall) buildings that only affected people psychologically (outside of those who were actually victims of the attack), but 9/11 did not affect those who watched it on television (over and over and over again) physically – the North Pacific Garbage Patch is affecting us all physically.

The North Pacific Garbage PatchWhat Garbage Patch?

So what is the North Pacific Garbage Patch? Articles found sparsely across the web will all tell you virtually the same thing. Just like a flushing toilet there is a giant rotating vortex in the middle of the substantial Pacific as you can see in the picture. And like massive whirlpools the size of continents will do, they will collect debris from all 4 corners of the ocean and slowly whirl towards the center. This whirlpool is known as the North Pacific Gyre and at the center of it hundreds of thousands of square acres are covered in our plastic. Yes – the plastic you used to cover your leftovers last night, the plastic found around your vitamin water, the plastic bags you brought home from the store, and that plastic trinket you threw away last year and never thought twice about. Slowly it meanders around the gyre toward the center like a black hole.

The comparison to the black hole falls apart when we get to the center. While matter seems to disappear forever once it passes the event-horizon of a black hole, the matter of the North Pacific Gyre simply collects forever. I’m not going to pretend like I’m the expert or that I can tell you more about the garbage patch than others, this entry is more than just simply shouting “Hey – Garbage Patch everyone – big problem!” That job has been done relatively well by few progressive newspapers, but are outshadowed by VBS.TV.

This video by VBS.TV can give you the best information on the North Pacific Garbage Patch to date. In fact I was a little disappointed when I saw the video because I had this entry planned long before the video came out. But obviously everything that is right comes from that video. VBS.TV reports on the things that our multi-billion dollar corporate media empires should be reporting on. They wreak of real people who are simply interested in sharing the world with the world. And it’s all for free.

Bisphenol A, Pesticides, and Other Delicacies Offered on Your Menu This Evening

The source of the problemSince that documentary can show you more than I could ever show you on the North Pacific Garbage Patch I want to take this to the next step. What that documentary shows is frightening to humanity. You hear them speak about the “money shot,” a trail of garbage as far as the eye can see, and how alas, it never was to be. This is because Civilization has stopped giving us a tangible visible enemy, this enemy lurks under the waves and is slowly breaking apart, but not becoming part of the environment, just becoming smaller pieces of plastic.

All of this plastic is floating to an area of the ocean that most of the world has forgotten about – an area twice the size of Texas to an area twice the size of the United States (still no serious studies done on it yet). It may be a large area but very few ocean species live there and humans rarely need to ship or boat through it. So simply because it is owned by no one and isn’t highly traveled, it has become nonexistent to us. Ultimately we have found a garbage dump that costs nothing and is extremely large to fill.

Of course the cost is nothing if you only calculate it in dollars – which is unfortunately still the ignorant way of civilization. Our plastic trash has become an epidemic changing the genetics of animals and humans as well as creating vast stretches of beaches filled with garbage. If I’m going to make the claim that it is indeed changing genetics then I should have to verify this statement. Within that VBS.TV video there is a clip at the end labeled “Extra” in which they ask a Marine Biologist which cites studies done with animals that have been exposed to bisphenol A.

Bisphenol A is a major compound found in plastics. A fact is that bisphenol A mimics estrogen, which is a hormone within our bodies. According to the Marine Biologist in the study, animals exposed to high levels of bisphenol A have had a lower rate in male births because estrogen is primarily a female hormone. In fact a team of government experts on bisphenol A has concluded that the current levels of bisphenol A found within humans today can “impact human health at current levels of exposure.

But – people are going to say what they want to say, right? After all you’ve been drinking from and using plastic your whole life and you aren’t out buying bras or giving birth, are you? The unfortunate reality of this situation is that the negative affects have already began to settle on the human race. Throughout humankind the ratio between males to females have always always always been 1:1. It’s a coin-flip. 50/50. There has been nothing throughout the course of OUR ENTIRE SPECIES that has thrown us off this virtually perfect balance between men and women. Theoretically the idea of a soul-mate exists, the idea that every man could find a woman and every woman could find a man to thrive and prosper happily ever after. But now – that is changing – and of course it would have to begin with those who never accepted plastic into their lives like we do now.

The Inuit now have a birth ratio of 1 boy to every 2 girls. The article vaguely puts “Man-made chemicals” at the root of this issue. However with our brief crash course on bisphenol A and the Pacific Garbage Patch I think we can begin to draw some logical cause-and-effect relationships.

A dead bird with a full belly of plasticsWhy? If you noticed in the VBS.TV documentary they had a researcher on board collecting the plastic in glass jars. Why was he doing this? He was measuring the ratio of zooplankton, the most basic food in the ocean, to plastic. Why is this significant? Because more complex animals like to eat the plankton. The problem is with all animals (humans included) is that we’re lazy and if there is something more convenient to eat then why not eat that instead? Why go home and cook a perfectly done steak when you can stop at McDonalds? Are you trading both taste and quality for convenience? Yes. Animals do the same thing. There is so much plastic in the North Pacific Gyre that there is roughly 10 pounds of plastic for every 1 pound of plankton. In Part 10 of the VBS.TV video he shows a sample of about 1000 to 1 ratio.

Once again, so what? Small fish are as lazy as people and instead of eating McDonalds they choose to eat plastic, what’s the big deal? Aside from plastic having no nutritional value and doesn’t digest (similar to McDonalds again, har har har) plastic also happens to be a convenient spongy absorber of some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet (once again Humanity and Civilization may take a bow for creating these personal Frankensteins). What kind of chemicals? PCBs, DDTs, and many other pesticides and poisonous chemicals created from around the world. Animals consume these.

And again, the ignorant will drum, “So what!? It’s still not us that has the problem!” But that is not true. Now we have plastic and poison sitting inside of billions of species of fish, birds, and mammals because as one consumes the other up the food chain the plastic and poisons remain part of their system. And these are the same animals that we eventually end up eating. So why is it affecting the Inuit first? Because they eat directly from the ocean and their birthrate is telling us that plastic has permeated the ocean so severely that is is affecting land-dwelling animals – us – humans. If this continues we will be forcing ourselves, our children, and their children to eat the poison and plastic created by us and our prior generations for whimsical convenience. Again – there is no rate of slowing down, there is no attempt at removing plastics from our lives. We have wedded to it as Siamese twins are wedded to each other and we will influence each other similarly.

Plastic pellets, which create every plastic thing you know, are created and sold with no worry of regulations, with no worry of shutting down. The picture to the right shows us how novel plastic is – you can even purchase pellets that glow in the dark! Well how cool is that!? Meanwhile it is getting broken down into invisible chunks in the ocean and infecting life as we know it.

A New Way

What I really wanted to focus on though is a new way of thinking that needs to come from you – the individual. Nobody can rid their life completely of plastic, but first things first, people need to know that this is a serious serious serious threat to both humanity and life as we know it. We need to push news organizations to cover the North Pacific Garbage Patch and tell our governments (all our governments) to start doing something to fix it, and we need to openly know all of the problems it is causing us. Nobody within the civilized world is innocent – indeed those who are innocent, like the Inuit, are the first to deserve compensation. We need to know the scale of the problem. We need to know what we can do with it if cleaning it is virtually impossible. We need to become creative in a positive and progressive way.

How do we do that? Not like this. That is a link to a Globe-and-Mail article on the North Pacific Garbage Patch. Do you want to read about it? Do you want to learn more about it? Well too bad because unless you’re going to cough up $5, you’re NOT going to read it. And guess how many people are willing to pay $5 to read an article? None with a life, I’ll answer you that. Topics like the North Pacific Garbage Patch can NOT GET OUT SOON ENOUGH. In fact, the government should be paying people to stand on sidewalks shouting this at people.

Another good idea on what this monstrosity isAnother way to NOT be progressive about this whole thing is to skirt important issues such as this google-advertised website that seems uncharacteristically positive on the absolute permeation of plastic. It links to articles that disseminate concerns as nothing to lose sleep over. Indeed there are videos near the bottom in which they interview a woman from the American Chemistry Council shaming the media for saying anything negative about plastics and claiming the safety for all within them. She claims we must “look at all the facts” and that these products are entirely safe. Of course there is no mention of the Inuit birth ratio, the fact that BPA acts as an estrogen, and that our oceans are literally garbage dumps for plastic. In fact, if you can find out what specific individuals run that site, I’m sure we’ll quickly find connections to the plastic industry. A “factsonplastic.org” is something worthy of checking out (not always true though), a “factsonplastic.com” is something worthy of being suspicious of, profit is still the main motivation. I took the liberty to check it out myself because some of these articles just skirt the issue entirely. Factsonplastic.com seems to cite STATS.org as their “factual” reference. But one look at that site and I got suspicious again (and see? It’s a .org site), but here’s why:

The article that got me suspicious was this article: Why Journalism is Failing the Public on the Risk from Plastic. So why does STATS.org say that journalism is failing the public on the risk from plastic? No – not because it’s not reporting on the giant sewage pit you can spy with a telescope from atop the Golden Gate Bridge (exaggeration guys, I dont know if that’s true), but instead it’s because they are fretting TOO MUCH about plastic. The article comes to sooth you from the aggressive media attacks on the evils of plastic. Wait, what? Since when does the media talk about plastic – the most pervasive and essential item to the entire civilized world? Well actually, Google Trends reveals that the media actually almost never talks about plastic at all, and it’s spoken far less about than Iraq – which only affects the people who are in the country. So how is the media being “highly selective and judgmental”? Well actually they were just simply reporting the findings of the government, such as the scientific study I linked above, and that Canada is considering banning BPAs. But STATS.org takes you down a dark path of twisted words and questionable logic, but that’s okay, you don’t have to waste your time reading that BS – they bold and italicize the only words you need to know: some concern, some concern, negligible concern, negligible concern, minimal concern, possibility but not a certainty, the panel then raised the Tolerable Daily Intake of BPA, not only not to ban BPA but to increase the level permitted. Those are just some of the terms they skew this “scientific” article with. They fill you with doubts and ideas that because plastics are increased somewhere that it still doesn’t have a long-term affect. All of those concerns (which the article is happy to dismiss to focus on the probability they just created using those terms) say nothing about long-term exposure to the environment. NONE of them. They all focus on the fact that if you go and touch BPA right now that you will not be infected and murdered.

So I looked at the Staff of “STATS.org” because there seemed nothing unbias about that article at all. A simple Google search of the President and the #1 result is from a website known as Sourcewatch, with the slogan “Your Guide to Names Behind the News” – interesting. S. Robert Lichter is the president of STATS.org and in the past was strongly affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute which “succeeds in placing its people in influential governmental positions.” Additionally the American Enterprise Institute is a basis for neoconservatives and is extremely pro-business (and pro-plastic! what’s business without plastic?). And still S. Robert Lichter is a paid consultant of Fox News, the right-wing news source in the media. And though STATS.org touts being used by influential news organizations S. Robert Lichter condemns Peter Arnett, who has a solid history of reporting war for what it really is – someone who taught us all what real news reporting is. In this day and age it does not take very many brain cells to connect S. Robert Lichter to the current, lying, economy-ruining, big-business, torture-promoting, checks-and-balances-avoiding neoconservatives. Yet it is his website that is the source for a website called “FACTSONPLASTIC.COM.” It is obvious that he has no desire to see plastics being treated with unbiased factual information, which is why whoever he’s affiliated with created such a deceiving and misleading website. This is what needs to change! It’s sad for humanity to allow people like S. Robert Lichter to have such power even though it is clear he has a heavy, uninformed bias.

It’s sick that we allow humans such as above to determine the life of us and generations to come of all species. This isn’t a forest fire – this is plastic – it doesn’t go away and it’s changing, poisoning, and killing everything. But one way to begin to be progressive about this is to get the word out. In the VBS.TV video the person getting the samples of plankton-to-plastic said that it’s impossible to clean or fix. But I’m going to have a little more faith in humanity than that.

Our Future? Or Our Past?A start is how simply this teenager found a way to make plastic degrade in 3 months time. Instead of never. That’s a good first step. I don’t have the answers, but it’s high time we make plastic the forefront of our attention. Logically, from looking at the pieces of plastic picked up on the VBS.TV documentary and knowing the true scale of plastic-to-plankton, knowing the “concerns” from scientists across the board on plastic, and the result of the Inuit birth rate, there is virtually no doubt in my mind whether plastic is harmful. While factsonplastics.com tries to focus on whether a baby bottle will turn your baby into a disfigured monster, the facts are it is being used as a food source by animals, is absorbing toxins, and is likely the cause behind high female birth rate.

***Update*** I got a couple of comments that seem literally offended by this entry – it’s like the same kind of offense you see when you pick on someone’s mom. Let me clear something up quick – I’m not saying we need to scrap everything we’ve ever progressed with and we should wait for trees to fall down naturally and live under them like cavemen, I’m not being unrealistic here… however I AM making the argument that we can do way way better than this. For example – Coal is a dirty, cancerous, and inefficient, however during the early 20th century it was the staple of industrialization. In England it would coat buildings black with soot and cause major health problems for those living nearby. Now is it WRONG for people to recognize the dangers of coal? And is it WRONG for people to want something more energy efficient and healthy? Is it anti-civilization to want something better for humanity and the world? Plastic is unsustainable, isn’t biodegradable, and has significant dangers if we continue or increase our usage. Additionally oil deposits will not be around forever – why would anyone be upset at a movement for a cleaner, healthier, and sustainable way of living? That is all I’m looking for – it’s for my health as well as yours – I’m just being greedy for all of us.

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45 Responses to “The North Pacific Garbage Patch”

  1. Ben Turner Says:

    Holy. F***.

    More as it comes to me. Right now, I’m stuck on those two words (holy and flip).

  2. nakedmaninthetree Says:

    Ben, I appreciate your comment, I know what you mean, spread the word.

  3. jon Says:

    i only got as far as “There are infinite desires on this finite planet.” before i knew to stop reading. how unfortunate that some facts might have been in there, yet fell by the wayside. i’m sure i’ll see them elsewhere, somewhere less biased, if it’s so important.

    http://www.neo-libertarian.com/zerosumleft.html

    if you’re so interested in destroying petroleum products, you might want to read up on high frequency attenuation wave kinetics (HAWK) and what global resource corporation is doing with it.

    i shudder to think that such technology as HAWK was fostered wholly in a nest made of capitalism. obviously, socialist environmentalists have all the *real* answers. of course.

  4. Theresa Polken Says:

    What I hate most is this kind of half-hearted, holier-than-thou activism.

    The press is not in the pocket of the evil plastics companies. They would jump on the chance to cover this story if it was as major as you make it out to be.

    It’s irresponsible to use Inuit birthrates as proof that Bisphenol A is impacting humanity’s physiology. Not only are the Inuit very far removed from modern plastics but there are countless confounding factors you have failed to address.

    Anarcho-primivitists and neo-luddites like you should be more careful about criticising ‘Civilisation’ with a big C. You owe your very life to it and the advances made possible by chemical science. Frankly, if you are so sickened by it as you say, there are areas which are quite unpolluted by Bisphenol A and mankind’s influence altogether where you might enjoy living. You might consider looking up the late Richard Proenneke to serve as a starting point for your journey.

  5. Kristen Says:

    I am not articulate enough to post any sort of fabulous comment (and I don’t really know anything about this…like most people, I guess) — but this is a big eye-opener.

    But what can I, an ordinary person, do to help? And I mean MORE than just “getting the word out”. What actions can I take? Where can I go and physically help (without any sort of degree relating to this)?

  6. nakedmaninthetree Says:

    Jon –

    I encourage comments, but I would appreciate it if you would at least read the entry in its entirety before you start commenting. I understand that you might have a different viewpoint, and I think you’d find it interesting to know that I am not a socialist environmentalist, despite you calling me such. In fact, I bet you’d find it doubly interesting that I largely identify with libertarianism, which seems to be something you promote to a strong extent. What turned you off was the sentence “There are infinite desires on this finite planet” – I don’t see that as a “belief” or a “viewpoint,” I see that as a natural fact. There is only so much matter on this planet, and even less useful matter – it wasn’t meant to be more than that. Maybe if you check some of my other entries you can get a better understanding of where I’m coming from or you can e-mail me at nakedmaninthetree@gmail.com, I love a good debate, and I love coming to common understandings more.

    Theresa –

    I’m sorry you’re under the impression that I think I’m above people – I don’t. I just think it’s something worth knowing about. I think it’s more than obvious that the press does not do the best job it could have. But don’t take my word for it: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/248

    Again, as I addressed to Jon, please don’t dismiss me as a member of a specific political belief because I have not found the words to describe what I believe in yet. However I do identify with libertarianism to a degree, but I also understand that there are consequences to our actions and that we must keep them in mind on an individual level – I don’t want the government to do it for us, I want us to collectively agree that plastic in our oceans is probably not a healthy thing. I use civilization as a whole because we must remember that we are responsible for it, I understand completely that turning around into native tribes will never again happen in the history of humankind, it is more likely our species will go extinct before we revert, but we have to be more conscious as a species with the mission of civilization.

    As for the Inuits, I will be happy to hear your “countless confounding factors” that I have failed to address. The Inuit eat from the ocean Theresa – the very ocean that the plastics are in, and the very ocean that the animals the Inuit eat from. When there is more plastic than food, it’s very easy for an animal to make a mistake that one is the other. It’s proven that BPA acts as estrogen, and that would throw off birth-rates. Please Theresa email me at nakedmaninthetree@gmail.com . If you can convince me otherwise I will retract what I say. I’m here for the progression of civilization to a sustainable lifestyle, not to preach that 10,000 years ago was great and things are shit now. I want us to be able to take care of ourselves without harming things on a global level. I just ask you use reason and proof.

  7. nakedmaninthetree Says:

    Kristen –

    That is a fair question and as I said in my entry, I don’t have all the answers. I use plastic daily – we all do. My suggestion, aside from getting the word out, is firstly becoming aware of your plastic use in your daily life. Know anytime you touch plastic, throw it away, etc.

    Once you recognize that, make sure you are recycling any plastic you can (I see people at my work throwing plastic bottles out all of the time instead of recycling) and also reducing your consumption of plastic. My biggest suggestion is to stop buying bottled water (I know, everybody basically just told me to fuck off), but seriously 1 plastic bottle can hold countless bottles of water, instead of countless bottles of plastic just holding one bottle of water.

    Use the more prevalently available reusable bags for shopping as opposed to the plastic ones, Buy a can of Arizona Tea instead of Vitamin Water, those types of things. I think if everybody took that conscious effort it’d be a great start. I think just doing those things above takes a lot more work than the average American is doing, but try and make it a socially acceptable thing to worry about plastic consumption.

  8. getyoursnackon Says:

    Albeit this is made out to be a substantial problem, I also think this is quite alarmist.

    Biomagnification sucks, as we’ve seen with DDT decades ago. I am confident that future plastics can potentially be much more biodegradable and safe, but what can we do about plastic trash that is already out there?

    Nevermind, Futurama already solved this problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Big_Piece_of_Garbage

  9. San Diego Says:

    I was linked to this article and am dumbfounded after reading it and watching the VBS episodes. I just wanted to say: thanks, I enjoyed your writing, and I will spread the word (more than I already do…but now using some visual evidence).

  10. nakedmaninthetree Says:

    getyoursnackon –

    I don’t know at what point one passes the substantial problem barrier to alarmist, but being one of the least cared about regions on the planet, yet is still consumed voraciously by animals -at what point do we call for a serious study of the problem? At what point do we say we need to reduce our use of non-biodegradable plastic to 0? Is it when every day beaches across the globe are covered in garbage when the tide goes out? Is it when we have a massive gyre of plastic that is impossible to clean for centuries to come? Is it when an ancient human population is having a messed up birth ratio?… what DO we do about the plastic thats already out there? I bet the planets best minds, when put together and have a desire to fix it, will have a good idea before it’s too late. I am an English teacher.

    San Diego – I appreciate your comment.

  11. polythenepam Says:

    Plastic — bah — I have been waging war on the filthy stuff for over a year now. One use plastic products are a dirty, expensive, possibly carcinogenic, profligate use of the worlds resources. I hate them…so last year decided I would boycott it all – plastic packaging, bags, bottles and stupid free coat hangers that snap before you get home.

    I started because I hate what plastic is doing to the environment as I find out more I worry what it is doing to me.

    So each month I veto a plastic/plastic packed product and substitute a better packaged, more sustainable, biodegradable sometimes, as needs must, home made options. Go to http://www.plasticisrubbish.wordpress.com. for details – theres a lot you can do without.

  12. nakedmaninthetree Says:

    Polythenepam – Thanks for the link! You are a forward-thinker! Keep it up as you will get a lot more attention as this becomes a more well-known issue.

  13. sunkissed Says:

    wow. that is a very interesting post. it really makes me thing about my relationship to plastic, which I can say is very dependant. and being able to separate from my plastic dependence would be a really difficult thing. i haven’t watched the vbs video yet but i will. and i’ll give you more feedback after the fact. but right now. i gtg.

    peace

  14. nakedmaninthetree Says:

    Sunkissed, I’m glad you checked out my entry and I really do hope you check out the vbs video. Cutting the use of plastic is a huge problem for everybody – including myself. It’s important to at least keep it in mind though.

  15. polythenepam Says:

    The alarmist and Luddite Dr Erikson makes this point about poison plastic in the ocean

    “What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It’s that simple,” said Dr Eriksen.

  16. Renny Says:

    Everyone focus on global warming as the “huge environmental crisis” that faces the world today. In my opinion this is just as big of a problem yet I never even heard about this huge garbage patch until my father (who is an avid sailor) menchioned it to me a couple days ago. He was also under the misconseption is was only about the size of Texas. It is a shame that humans are more concerned about profits then they are about ensuring a clean Earth for future generations to come. I am happy some people are paying attention to this problem. My view on plastic has been forever changed. Thats for sure.

  17. OverlordOfTheMultiverse Says:

    thanks for spreading the good word !
    came across this site at work , and now im hooked
    I think your insights into biotechnology and the moral starved , profit driven corporations sprang from my own soul
    i do believe you may be my hetero-sexual soul mate

  18. nakedmaninthetree Says:

    I appreciate the excellent comment Overlord!

  19. Our Oceans « Naked Man in the Tree Says:

    […] in June I wrote an entry on the North Pacific Garbage Patch. Despite writing on a myriad of uncommon issues that entry on the Garbage Patch has been unrivaled […]

  20. kwifler Says:

    We need to build hollow concrete blocks that float, and border the entire garbage pile with them. Next, we should ship a plastic recycling plant out in a boat and start recycling. We should ship in or collect a lot of organic waste and compact it around the floating concrete blocks, and make an island. The recycled plastic could be the first income source of the new floating country.

  21. Paul Says:

    I am amazed by the comments. As a scientist and someone who personally knows the people who have spent months in the ocean researching many of the issues you present, I am disheartened by some of the responses. The facts are there for anyone to see. Travel to Midway or to the northern most Hawaiian islands, or to islands in the Alaskan Peninsula and you will see beaches covered with millions of pounds of plastics dropped onto streets and washed into rivers in the western United States or Japan. This is the tip of the iceberg as most of the plastic is still floating in the ocean. If you don’t see this as a problem, you are part of the problem.

  22. pete crowley Says:

    Could you write me back when you get a chance i would like to ask you something – take care, Pete

    Peter Crowley
    Project Kaisei
    415-786-5361

  23. Updates, Oceans, and Words « Naked Man in the Tree Says:

    […] June, 2008 and in May, 2009 I wrote an entry on The North Pacific Garbage Patch and The State of our Oceans respectively. The North Pacific Garbage patch entry was largely about […]

  24. SHINE excerpts: “Castoff World” « DayBreak Magazine Says:

    […] Dead Bird Plastic : via Naked Man in the Tree; […]

  25. The Aral Sea « Naked Man in the Tree Says:

    […] The North Pacific Garbage Patch « Naked Man in the Tree Says: June 4, 2008 at 8:04 pm […]

  26. tanya Says:

    I understand your concern about the chemicals in plastics.
    Here is a links about the danger of certain chemicals found in plastics and which plastic types (matched to the recycle code on the plastic) and the supportive studies/resources

    http://www.healthobservatory.org/library.cfm?refid=102202

  27. HugoMe Says:

    Hello nakedmaninthetree,

    Well, based on the data here (http://www.good.is/post/transparency-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch/), i can’t understand why having a 1 mm2 of plastic every 100 square meter is such a problem…

    This doesn’t mean that nothing should be done, but while no other data is available, this pollution rather seems a minor hazard, compared for example with your great article about aral sea.

    • nakedmaninthetree Says:

      This pollution is getting in the life systems of our sea life. This includes birds, fish, walruses, seals, whales, dolphins, sharks, eels, etc. Plastic is toxic and dangerous to life, I think I have provided sufficient evidence for that. Simply because you are not able to SEE the plastic does not mean it is less of an issue. Seeing it would actually be a blessing because we could clean it then. But the very article you just linked to me even explains how the very point you said should make us worry less (i can’t understand why having 1 mm of plastic every 100 square meters is such a problem) is misleading and that you should actually worry more. In fact, it is only 2 sentences or so in that article that says it is MORE dangerous that it is like this, not less dangerous.

      I am very appreciative of your positive comment on the article on the Aral Sea. When I say the things I do, it is not to be rude, but it is to show my passion and clarity of my point. This. is. not. okay. period.

  28. Drunkeykong Says:

    Its too bad that there is no money in cleaning up the plastic, or one specific company to blame. Otherwise it would be all over the news and something might get done. Just like the gulf oil rig spill, still leaking but not on the news much anymore. No money in cleaning it up, so just do the bare minimum, go through the motions . Even the enviornmentalists don’t seem to do much, Why? Because ther is no money in it for them either. The worst spill in history should have the worlds top minds figue out a solution. Sad days we live in when $$ controlls peoples morals. Even those who seem to have more ethics than others.

  29. arfeen Says:

    nature is to good from world

  30. Feylin Says:

    Fantastic blog post, I enjoyed reading this tremendously. I actually didn’t even realize that we had this tremendous mass of garbage floating around in the middle of the ocean till I saw a picture and decided to Google around for information.

    I find it absolutely irresponsible how governments aren’t coming together at their little environmental summits to put this issue at hand. It seems the summits are only used for PR in order to calm down the public rather than dealing with great issues at hand =\

    I find it so silly that the press and media need to push issues before the government decides to react. Things like this must be dealt with quickly before the issues spiral out of control!

  31. SHINE podcast: ” Castoff World” « Shineanthology’s Weblog Says:

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  33. AlexisMichelle Says:

    You honestly inspire me so much. Thank you for this eye-opening and inspiring post. If more people in our world had your mentality, our world would be a much better place. Though that sounds ridiculously cliche, i mean it with utmost sincerity. Once again, thank you for this post.

    • nakedmaninthetree Says:

      AlexisMichelle – I truly appreciate your comment, and keep checking the site because I plan on launching my new one in the coming month or 2. (I feel like I’ve been saying this forever, so it’s gotta happen SOON)

      • Giles Says:

        Please don’t become impatient. Your measured and balanced voice in the article makes it readable without wanting to move away from it.
        Simply keep it updated. I wandered here and stayed b/c of its readability.

  34. R. Erikson Says:

    World Wide effects of the 250 year-
    “Rise of the Developed Nations”
    World fish stocks depleted 85+%
    World forests harvested 80+%
    World amphibian losses 65+%
    World avian population loss 60+%
    World pollinators decline 50+%
    World land predator species endangered status 100%
    World population 791 millions to 6,909 millions
    World average Life-span +40 years
    World consumption rate +2.1% per annum
    World environmentally unusable waste “unknown trillions of tonnes” +2%/year
    Quite a party!!
    “Born in the age of the Fool”
    (walking off a cliff reading an upside-down book while blindfolded)

  35. jeff Says:

    Just one point: I agree with the article, but one of the less important facts is inaccurate….”nothing in human history has thrown the 1/1 balance of male to females off” actually the birth ratio is not 1-1 naturally…its 105M/100F which makes the inuit point slightly more surprising….also females live longer which throws it off, WWII threw it off fairly heavily…and the chinese child-limit laws have also thrown it off, although this one in the opposite direction; theres probably other things too that I’m unaware of… I get the point, that these are not ‘genetic’ issues but social ones but when arguements are used that have small holes people can attack these small insignificant holes rather than the actual issue, which not only weakens the original arguement but allows people to drive the conversation off of the real topic and onto the irrelevent symantics as i have just done here…

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