Perhaps you remember the ’70s slogan “Save the Whales“. Well in the 2000’s this message is even more important.
I just saw this story on Facebook. It hurts and angers me deeply.
Even though this whale was found in Indonesia, there are most surely many, many more who have died from we humans lack of responsibility. This obviously is not the first marine animal to be injured or killed by our trash.
Every year 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans. That’s equivalent to 5 bags of plastic for every foot of coastal land.
When plastic breaks down within the oceans from exposure to salt, sun, and agitation or the movement of water, it creates floating patches of plastic trash. These particles break down to tiny pieces that end up in food for species all the way up the chain, including our food. Think “fresh caught Halibut”
There are more than 5 huge swirling floating patches of trash in our planet’s oceans.
“It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments”
Captain Charles Moore, discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
It’s not only plastics but industrial and agricultural waste that is killing marine life.
There are places around coastal areas called Dead Zones or hypoxic (low oxygen) zones. Hypoxic zones do occur naturally around the planet, but scientists are concerned about areas where we humans seem to add to the problem by dumping wastewater and agricultural waste like fertilizer and pesticides that wash down from crops to rivers and eventually to sea causing an overgrowth of algae that sinks and decomposes in the water consuming oxygen and depletes the supply available to marine life where it suffocates and dies.. (NOAA)
There are 100’s of dead zones throughout the world covering 100,000 square miles. Here in the US one area of concern is The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, covering 8,776 square miles!!
We are the species that causes the most destruction on this planet. We also are the only species that can make a difference.
What we as consumers can do.
- Reduce: choose to buy fewer items packaged in plastic.Choose paper, not plastic grocery bags. Better yet, use choose fabric grocery bags. (hint) Once emptied, keep them in your car so you won’t forget to take them with you the next time you shop.
- Reuse: Use things like stainless steel water bottles instead of buying cases of water in plastic bottles. (hint) many plastic bottles still contain BPAs, a hormone disruptor. Use a BPA free filtering pitcher to remove toxic crap from municipal water supplies to refill the steel bottles.
- Recycle: Now that’s easy, right? Why then do so many people choose to throw recyclable stuff in the garbage can? Just too lazy? Most cities have curbside recycling and you don’t even have to separate things! (hint) clothes and shoes can be donated, fabric shopping bags can be used as storage bags, almost any household item can be recycled. Google it!
- Rethink: when you build or buy something, is the same item made of a different material besides plastic. Instead of vinyl fencing, why not wood? Do you really need to use plastic cutlery and straws?
How farming can make a difference.
Thankfully, marine Dead Zones aren’t permanent. They appear in during the early part of the growing season. Eventually lowering temperatures, high winds such as hurricanes in the Gulf mix up the decomposed algae and add oxygen back in. Who thought hurricanes could be advantageous?
With continued focus on more natural forms of farming such as rotating crops, allowing native grasses to grow once again, and restricting synthetic fertilizers by adding manure to the rotation, researchers find an increase in crop yields, soil quality and a decrease in soil depletion. A win-win.
The welfare of our planet and all the beings upon it is our responsibility.
Nature has a way of keeping everything in balance. We are the unnatural factor in the equation. It’s not that hard to be responsible, but it does take a little effort. A little effort can create big changes. Be the change, save the whales.
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