I wrote a piece on Midway Island four months ago that no one read (so I should probably take the hint and not revisit the subject, but, hey, that’s why Stewie is Generis). It was about the ecological disaster happening there, in the middle of the Pacific where no one really lives. If you want to know what’s going on in the picture below, check this out.
Here’s an 11-minute video from National Geographic that explains a lot more about the big picture.
What made me think about this was a short video I saw the other day showing someone sifting a bucket of sand on Kailua Beach in Hawaii. A random, ordinary looking bucket of sand turns out to be filled with plastic debris. This means, of course, that every bucket of sand in Hawaii, and probably everywhere else, looks like this as well.
For technical reasons, I can’t display it on this site, but do yourself a favor and click on this link to be amazed.
What you can see on the surface in Hawaii is bad enough, as this next picture shows.
But even if you cleaned up everything you see on the surface, you wouldn’t have touched everything beneath the surface that the sifting video clip shows.
And it made me realize there’s nothing particularly unique about Hawaii or Midway – the whole planet is already deeply damaged, possibly beyond repair. It’s just that it’s more jarring when you see it in the places we expect to be pristine, i.e. in “paradise”.
But we’ve become accustomed to a very high level of ambient garbage everywhere in the cities. It occurred to me that if you sifted a bucket of dirt from the banks (or the bottom) of the Charles River, you’d have a huge amount of plastic and metal garbage as well, probably a lot worse than in Hawaii, but in the cities it’s no longer a shock.
Yesterday, I took a walk by the river and was struck by the debris everywhere, and the fact that it’s completely “normal”. No one thinks much about it, though there is an annual clean-up day that does make things look a little better, a least on the surface, and at least for a while.
There’s a Canada Goose in this picture, believe it or not. See if you can spot it.