Thursday, November 6, 2008

Island of Trash!

You have probably heard there is an 'Island of Trash', twice the size of Texas, floating in the Pacific Ocean some where near Hawaii. That's bad news.
I first became turned off to the eco-movement while serving (which I still do) on the Board of Directors for the Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District. It's a pretty little spot people can hike, birdwatch, hunt, fish, go boating, camp, picnic....It's completely supported by the use fees and is non profit.
Every couple of years, eco-groups come at us for one thing or another, and threaten to shut us down if we don't change some little thing. If you change the little thing, they come up with another, then another, until they get you to a negotiating table and demand a payoff. It's a huge expense that produces nothing. (A great read on the topic is 'Undue Influence', BTW)
Back to our 'Island of Trash'. I was suspicious, because a photo would have been striking. The articles made it sound like a giant, vast mound of trash swirling in the Pacific.
The reality? An area with 'An increased concentration of man-made debris'. A group with an agenda chartered a boat to get some evidence. All they found was the occasional flotsam. The most damning photo they produced is shown here; Damn those coconuts!!! Also...plastic DOES break down over time.
If you want to tell me there is way too much packaging, I agree 100%. We produce way too much trash, and it is unsightly and harms wildlife.
A wealthy nation is in a much better position to be eco friendly than a poor one. A wealthy nation can feed more people with less land, too. When environmental laws and groups leverage public fear to stick it to businesses, it just drives them overseas or bankrupts them. The real island of trash is the fatalistic view of a poisoned planet.

1 comment:

princess slea said...

i watched that documentary about the students who chartered a boat to take them to find the floating island of trash. they found little pebbles of platic and some netting with plastic hooked onto it.
supposedly it gathers in that one place because it's where the currents meet (in a whirlpool type area).
The most interesting part was when two of the bored students were making out on their night shift.

gab told me about some part of Oregan where shoes land on the beach. The right shoes wash up in one area and the left ones wash up in another area and it's because they float with the soles up and the top of the shoe acts as a rudder and guides the shoe different directions. Not sure where he read that but found it interesting.