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?

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.