Monday, August 25, 2014


How lovely the ocean may appear

Someone said the other day we could call this planet Ocean, not Earth, because there is far more sea here than land. 

The way we're treating the oceans, however, could mean we have a vast wash of garbage instead of lovely saltwater, sealife and birds.

Want to turn off? But there are solutions.

Sure, those who tire of bad news may experience compassion fatigue, or switch off, refuse to read newspapers, close down all the news stories in our online feed, and stick with the cat pictures. Is this self-protection or wilful blindness? But if it's only too much when we feel hopeless, why not then find ways to change the state of the oceans for the better?

Yes, and the overwhelming internet is too often a whole other rubbish heap, true, a relentless tide of bad news washing over us day and night, whenever we swim there, or just trot along the edges, the beaches of it. Continuous bad news, as I said, can make a person feel ill. 

Some are swearing off the internet. A few argue the social media phenomenon is deliberately designed to distract us, and stop us being involved in anything too political, including voting. 'They' want us to feel ill. It is also a powerful way to connect with others, and share information.

There are unbelievable stories like this one. A boat travelling across the top of the Pacific Ocean, recently, found almost no life at all, no birds, no fish. But they did discover enormous swathes of rubbish, and a fishing trawler scooping up everything in its path. The trawler then dumped all their half-dead findings, except the tuna. Fish thrown back, to die in the ocean. 

The traveller, yachtsman, Ivan MacFadyen felt so appalled he wrote this article.  The photos below are from the article.

On a fb thread headed by that article, we social media hounds discussed the horror of it. One of us, James Bean wrote this, which I have permission to reprint -
" The saddest thing about this is that nobody seems to be seriously making an effort to clean this up. Is it because most of this is in international waters?

I realize this is no small affair. It's more than just raising a few million to build a game, or even a hundred million to make a movie. It might cost a few billion dollars to do this right. A drop in the bucket for nations, but they'd rather blow each other up with that money. Actually, they'd rather blow US up... the government leaders, power brokers and military contractors don't get on the wrong end of the weapons... just the general public.

Can't someone just get serious about raising money to clean this up? No diversion. No shadow project. Just specifically to clean this up? Prototype a simple method to clean it up, raise the capital to put it into practice, then shame the nations into funding the full endeavor?

Seriously... take an old tanker or better, fish processing ship... convert it to sort recyclable garbage. We've got lots of experience with this, so should be able to take these systems, installed in nearly every municipality in America, and around the world, and install them on a ship. Set up a simple skimming system to skim everything on the surface of the water, and concentrate it at a point. Attach those to this ship, making it the focal point (where the skimmed stuff goes) and drag your skimmers with two other smaller ships.

So, you skim waste in a kilometer wide swath from the ocean, and process it at this ship. Recyclable waste gets loaded onto barges, real trash could get burned in incinerators (this can be done so that very little if any pollution gets into the atmosphere, and maybe even power the ship?). Or, it also gets loaded onto barges.

The recycled materials get sold at market rates, to recoup a little of the cost to the operation.

I bet, a system like this, operating at full tilt, could start making a pretty damn good dent in one of the huge debris islands in the ocean. They don't have to skim every inch of the ocean. Currents and eddies do this for us, concentrating that floating crap. Go there, attack it, and get rid of it.

A documentary on the process, and a few good aerial movies of this ship doing its business, and it would be hard not to make this a popular political thing, and get the funding to get more of these ships, and improve their design. And I bet you could modify the design to handle oil spills too, so there are broader practical applications, and perhaps other funding partners for it, once you get the publicity.

So, how about it? What do we need to do? Anyone know a potential funding partner? Three ships (can be leased/rented) and a small recycling center... how much would that cost? $10,000,000? Believe it or not, that's not much at all. "
Someone else pointed out that if the stuff were valuable, someone would surely harvest it, be doing so already. But I read this week they are trialling plastic roads, so maybe discarded plastic in the ocean could be used that way, and for building?

Please share and discuss this information widely. This is how we may change the state we're in. The more people know about an issue, the more we talk and write about it, the more likely is it taht solutions and actions shall appear to change the oceans for the better.

For instance, this young man, Boyan Slat, has invented a machine to clear the oceans of rubbish, already.

Underwater view -
I haven't mentioned friends, or love affairs, or exciting travels, this blog. Sometimes I simply have to write about some issue plainly, and here it is. 

Let's save ourselves. Who's in? 

Writing and talk is action. Even just a link to this blog on your fb or blog is enough. 

People can grow inspired, do something useful. Let's hope so.

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