|Leaving the Marine Debris Behind|
|Thursday, 10 December 2009|
During the next 48 hours I took photos and video of the sample jars and species collected from the marine debris. The deep water fish were still being separated and we were able to photograph many of these. Josh and Andrew were still on the bow and came up with a scientific way to count marine debris at the surface. There should be a paper coming out about this in 2010. I continued to document the scientists and life aboard the boat and seemed to be running in automatic pilot. As a journalist, I knew these moments in time would only be here once and by keeping myself as busy as possible, I would be able to cover up all emotions I was feeling. After all, you can not let your emotions get in the way of science or your job. You must just document and analyze the results later.
It has been nearly four months since I returned to the states and right now one of the most important environmental conversations are happening in Copenhagen. It is hard to believe that Dr. Charles Moore has been studying the North Pacific Gyre for a decade and has been trying to bring awareness to this growing problem for ten years. In the past four months I have been speaking and trying to bring awareness to the situation, but I find that as I talk about our experiences that people’s eyes glaze over and they do not understand the immensity of the issues our planet is facing. Pollution in the water systems is ranked in the top 7 biggest threats facing our Ocean. But I am still faced with the question, "Why should you care?" There is so much misery we are facing, all you have to do is watch the news to see what I am referring too.
Two days ago after our first heavy rains of the season, one of my colleagues filmed a river system that dumps into the Ocean. He witnessed miles of plastic and Styrofoam clogging the harbors. It was so bad that boats will not motor out during this time because they will ruin their engines. Dr. Charles Moore returned from his trip in September and declared that he will not go back out to the North Pacific Gyre with his ship because it is a hazard to him and his crew.
And here I was, more than 1000 miles due west of where I live in the middle of the ocean faced with the issue of disseminating the information to the public and letting people know why they should care. We are a plastic society that uses disposable products made of permanent materials. How do we change our ways? Through public awareness working with corporate and policy changes. Please help me get the word out. I have photos and video to share, can speak about the subject and want to support Project Kaisei, the scientists aboard both the SEAPLEX expedition and the Kaisei, and all others studying this issue. Yet in reality, I realize that everything starts in our own homes. We have to make significant changes to our habits. Right now we are designing a way for you to ring in the New Year by going on a Plastic Diet. We need to cut down the amount of single use plastic items in our daily life. On the shores of remote islands in the Pacific Northwest, the San Juan Islands, I collected small pieces of plastic and marine debris. The waste we are creating is pervasive and it has become like a cancer in the heart of our planet. We need to work together to reduce the amount of waste we create and work together to prevent it from entering our rivers, streams and lakes, and ultimately our Ocean.
During the remaining four days on the cruise, I continued to bury myself in my work. Shooting interviews and photographs. Upon returning we are still sorting through everything and hope that these videos will bring awareness to what we were trying to accomplish. Thanks for your interest and your time.
Reading, activites, and art for kids of all age; visit the Kid-Safe fun in the Kid's Corner.