In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore of Long Beach, California, a furniture refinisher and seafarer was returning from a sailing trip through the seldom traveled Subtropical North Pacific only to realize his sailboat was encircled by a “plastic soup” for as far as he could see. In fact, Charles Moore had stumbled upon what is the largest garbage dump on the planet.
It is estimated that this discovery, now dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge stretch of floating waste is actually more like a soup of confetti-sized plastic bits, produced by our lifestyle of throw away consumerism. This discarded ‘stuff’ has made its way into every ocean.
This garbage patch is literally trash that gets stuck in storm drains and is washed into rivers and out to sea, the legal and illegal dumping of garbage and appliances, and plastic resin pellets inadvertently spilled and unloaded by plastic manufacturers. In fact, plastic marine debris is now found on the surface of every ocean on earth.
And, no matter where the plastic litter originates, once it reaches the ocean, it becomes a global problem. Garbage travels thousands of miles as it is carried by many large system of rotating ocean currents.
Moore’s discovery prompted him to take on a cause. Charles Moore founded Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF) in hopes of raising awareness about the oceans – plastic litter in particular.
Moore’s action falls right into the ecological discussions concerning Handprints…you know those positive ecological aspects of action towards sustainability and the environment that can occur on any scale without compromise.
There is a great deal of information concerning carbon footprints circulating. … the frightening things each and everyone of us is doing to the earth each and every day. Perhaps, if each of us took time to emulate ‘a guy who cared’ and improve upon our own, individual handprint we could make this world a more sustainable place for everyone and everything.
This Earth Day, think about your handprint and the capacity you have to influence others.
See You Tube video: NOAA Marine Debris
Author: Heidi Copeland