National Week of the Ocean

The first week of April is the National Week of the Ocean.

A perfect time to think about the ocean.  Not just the beaches.  Though they do matter.  The beaches are like the leaves of the ocean. They stretch out to join ocean and Earth.  Ocean and sky.  We see the health of the ocean through its natural beaches.  Those less travelled by humans.

Oceans were once teeming with life.  Now, many sections are left barren by overfishing.  Empty places, with little, or nothing to fill them.

Beaches show this by their lack of living, mostly mammals and crustaceans, who once lived on the beaches, the border between the land and the sea.

Oceans are now filled with debris.  Much plastic, and other garbage, that floated into them from the mountains, down the once pristine streams, to glutted rivers, and deposited in the ocean. Animals eat this plastic, thinking it is food.  Or, in the case of filter feeders, there is no escaping as they open their mouths to eat.  In many ways, plastic in the oceans, is like smoke in smoke-filled room.  No escaping it.  It is in your clothes, lungs, food, drink, hair, and everything there.

We see the devastation on many beaches. Covered with garbage, brought in by the waves.  Garbage that did not originate on that coast, or even that continent.

Europeans are doing their part to enact laws to cut back plastics use, and help clean up oceans, regardless of where the trash in them came from.

Our beaches show us the life and death struggle of the animals that live both in the depths, and those that live on land.

Once, the beaches teemed with life.  Both ocean life, and terrestrial life.  Sleeping, feeding, and raising families.  Now, many are lifeless, empty, eroding without the animals to keep them safe from harm.

Ocean Garbage : https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2018/03/22/great-pacific-garbage-patch-grows/446405002/

Ocean Cleanup:  https://www.theoceancleanup.com/

Ocean Cleanup on Beaches where the garbage did not originate.  People drink this water.  Fish from it.  Bathe in it.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/09/modern-life-rubbish-helping-mumbai-clean-up-beach-india-city

It doesn’t have to be this way.  There are plenty of teens inventing solutions to collect the garbage from the oceans.  As much as possible.  Of course, millions of jobs could be created.  Governments choose not to, as they’ve no place to put all the garbage.  Though, it could be sorted, recycled, and broken down into less dangerous particles.

Garbage Bin: http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2015/12/a_clever_new_automatic_ocean_trash_collection_system_called_the_seabin_is.html

A list of options: https://upliftconnect.com/clean-up-the-ocean/

There are dangers to fish being trapped inside the garbage collection devices.  And most of the choices will not collect microplastics, especially microplastic beads. Which tend to fill plankton, that are eaten by larger fish, and larger fish, up three or four sizes before being eaten by humans.

Microplastics https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html

Another option is bacteria that digest plastic.  They could eventually help clean up our oceans, and our landfills.  https://phys.org/news/2016-03-newly-bacteria-plastic-bottles.html Again, creating millions of jobs to grow the bacteria, disperse, it, and evaluate the landfills as they shrink from plastic disappearing.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the ocean, and its beaches teeming with life, rather than litter?

Science and Medical

Today’s topic is the importance of science in our lives.
Without science, we wouldn’t know so many things. We wouldn’t understand the basics of food safety for one thing. Hundreds die each year from improperly handled food. If we didn’t follow common sense, scientifically proven food handling methods, millions would die each year from food poisoning.
Are all of the regulations correct? Um. Some may actually be backwards, or ineffective, if used incorrectly.
How did our ancestors manage? They cooked and ate the food then. Also, they had a naturally developed immune system. It could work on its own. It didn’t need the pharmaceutical companies to be activated.
Those pharmacy companies are the number one offender when it comes to blending science fact with money making. They are out to make money. No doubt. It’s more expensive to treat a symptom continually, than find the root cause of a disease, and cure it.
Pharmacy companies are the only ones who have too much self-regulation. They run tiny sample sizes, ignore symptoms, and don’t test for the long term. Too many drugs are put out that we find have deadly consequences, that sometimes don’t appear for decades, or until the next generation is born. If they are born.
Part of the scientific process, is independent scientists running the same tests with the same results. That almost never happens within the drug care industry.
True, people want cures. However, often, instead of a cure, they end up with long term side effects, that may damage any offspring for an unknown number of generations.
Another aspect, I value my hearing aids. They shouldn’t cost a year’s income. To the individual, or insurance.
It’s a case of, if they lowered the price, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand. As it is, they claim the price is so high, because demand is so low. And yet, they are only expected to last a few years before being replaced.
Oh, and hearing aids should not need disposable batteries. Our landfills simply don’t need more batteries. No places recycle them.

Landfills

One subject that is covered in nearly the entire Trails Series is Landfills.
Landfills are the bane of the last 120 years.
Before then, our ancestors used and re-used items they created until they were no longer useful. Then, they served as fuel.
In some areas, particularly along coastlines, a garbage might develop – containing the discarded shells fish. Anthropologists enjoy studying them.
Did you know that a newspaper printed and placed in a landfill over 100 years ago, would be as readable as it was when placed there?
The descendants of today will have to mine our landfills. they will have to find a way to safely dispose of things such as the billions of batteries, electronics, broken light bulbs, and other items that leak toxins into our drinking water.
They have been left a sordid chore.
What to do with all the toxins? How to safely dispose of them so that they can never again harm the environment, or a living being?

Pacific Garbage Patch

When I’m stressed, I sing. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I need to quit creating songs.
One aspect that is lightly mentioned in my novels, and would make a good follow up short story if I ever have time – the trip to the Pacific Garbage Patch.
We really need our teens to work on this. Teens – because they have the brain power, the energy, the strength to do the work. They haven’t been told no too many times. They haven’t accepted the death of the planet as inevitable in the next few decades. They don’t want to race to that moment. They want to live to see adulthood.
We need them to create ways to collect the garbage patches. We need them to clean up the mess their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents made.
Then, we need to know if the plastic eating bacteria are safe. What happens when they encounter batteries in the garbage for instance?
We don’t want to create a bigger problem.
Or, like some Northern European countries, we need to turn those plastics back into fuel.
Our planet cannot exist without living oceans.
If all the animals die – through over hunting and eating plastic instead of food, the currents will slow. The tides will change. The weather patterns will falter.
We need living oceans.
We need living creatures.
We don’t want to be the cause of the only living things on Earth being bacteria and viruses.
We need science oriented teens to lead the way to save our planet.
We might not live long enough to see sustainable oceans. They might. Teens are our hope for a future. One we won’t see.
One they, and the children of today deserve. They deserve a chance to live. And at least a tenth of the resources of those who lived in the last century.
Give them a chance to save the Earth for themselves, and their future.

Homes

Homes. Most of us have one. Usually.
Some people have been posting we need to build new homes for the homeless before we help others.
Yes, we need to help our people first.
Thing is, we have more homes, and empty buildings in this country than every homeless person could fill.
How can that be?
Mos t homes are simply not affordable. I remember when I was 20, nice homes were sold for $50,000. Within a few years, they were double or triple that.
When I was 20, I tried desperately to buy a home. I was called a child by the bank, and told to wait a few years. Only, a few years later, all homes were out of anyone’s price range.
Do most of these homes and buildings need work?
Certainly. For 30 to 40 years, homes were built like cogs on a wheel, with no thought to people outside the age range of 20 – 30.
Tearing them down isn’t an option either. Many are plagued with asbestos and other hazardous materials. As a society, we really need to think about what we are putting in our environment, and whether or not it is sustainable. Landfills simply aren’t enough for all the hazardous chemicals and materials produced between 1900 and now.
We have plenty of homes. They need to be repaired and made available to those who need them. Those people may need help caring for their homes. Most people do. Those in the 20-60 age range work too much to care for their homes. Those beyond that age range, simply are no longer able to fully care for their homes. That’s a topic for another day.
Homes exist. Buildings that have sat empty for years could be transformed into nice homes. There is no reason to have a homeless person. There is no reason to build new homes, until the ones that exist are fixed and filled.

Seaquest – Why aren’t we there?

Last night we watched an episode of Seaquest.
It mentioned the year 2018. In that year – the oceans were supposed to be cleaned.
Why haven’t we done this?
Our country created the mess – It started in the 1950’s. By the 1970’s, it was well known. Today, it grows.
Every person is a part of the problem. Even if you tie your garbage up tightly in bags for the garbage collectors. Once the bags reach the landfills – they rip. Birds and wind carry garbage to the sea. Enough to walk knee deep, if all of it were piled in any average sized state.
If we want any ocean life in 20 years, we must clean up the mess of those who made it. We have several generations of plastics and other garbage in the ocean.
We need to spend more on science, so that the plastic eating bacteria can be developed to help us clean up the messes our parents and grandparents left us.
We don’t have the time, or lifecycle, to lessen the money spent on science.
We need more. More time and resources. We need the plastics eaten by bacteria. We need the garbage dumps cleared safely. Toxins removed from our environment. We also need to be sure that those bacteria can die out after plastics are gone and they are no longer needed.