Conscious living / Environment

Islands of Sorrow, Oceans of Grief

globe On islands of sorrow, across oceans of grief,  all over the world there will be no tomorrow for marine life and ocean birds. They ingest our waste, starve, writhe in agony and die, and we are none the wiser.

The oceans are precious, yet we fill them with lethal junk that doesn’t break down in the environment,  junk that’s the agent of death for the life that’s left in the wild.  We sit in front of our TV’s and believe the wilderness we see there is intact. Well it isn’t and that’s a fact.  If you lived on a tiny island like me, you would begin to see a glimpse of what we are doing to the seas.

Please don’t throw anything into the sea

Please don’t throw anything into the sea.

Just look at the consequences and commit to: “no, not me!”

Near the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Midway Island is one of the most remote places on Earth.  Production of the feature film “Midway” continues through 2013.  Following Chris Jordan’s expeditions to Midway and the life-cycle of the Albatross, “Midway” is more than just a documentary or a film about wildlife at risk.  “Midway” brings us an opportunity for us to look at our world in close-up, to see how our lives are impacting the planet, and to find new approaches to moving forward.

*Numerous short videos and back stories are, and will continue to be made available on the Midway Journey YouTube site.

Trashed is a documentary featuring its executive producer, actor Jeremy Irons. It examines the encroaching problem of global waste.

Director Candida Brady, who describes herself as a childhood asthmatic and a concerned mother, builds a trajectory that illustrates the impact of waste on land, air and water. We see how marine life is impacted after ingesting toxins from billions of plastic items that do not breakdown after being discarded. Humans, in turn, eat the fish—retaining these contaminants in their systems.

TRASHED trailer (2012) – Environmental documentary with Jeremy Irons

Featured is an assessment of the effects of dioxins and how they are transmitted from a mother to her fetus. It takes six generations before toxins are eliminated from the human system.

There is growing evidence that some of the toxins associated with plastic particles in the gyre are responsible for an increase in health problems in humans such as endocrine cancers and brain damage, as well as reproductive and cardiovascular damage. — The Oceans Project

Become conscious of the ecological legacy you are leaving behind – out of sight and out of mind. The oceans contain the largest and most unexplored environments on Earth and their plants are responsible for creating over half the oxygen we breathe.

Images are powerful motivators for change.  When my husband and I viewed the images by AP Photographer Charlie Riedel of seabirds caught in the oil slick on a beach on Louisiana’s East Grand Terre Island we were heartsick.

Clearly, the need to kick our addiction to fossil fuels and eliminate plastic is evidenced in our disgraces; it’s “in our faces”.

If the federal and provincial Canadian governments lift the moratorium and allow off shore oil drilling permits even more tankers would be transporting oil up and down the Canadian coastline and increasing the risk of blow outs and spills. If pipeline proposals go forward there are likewise bound to be heartbreaking tomorrows.  But if we awake and insist on change, if we use only a small portion of our functioning brains, we can turn this around and become agents of change.

Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, by Beth Terry

Please don’t throw anything into the sea.

Stop being an agent of agony and strife.

Become the change you want to see.

Get plastic out of your life.

Essential reading for conscious living:

Plastic-free living guide

The Clean Oceans Project

Related posts found in this blog: Environment

21 thoughts on “Islands of Sorrow, Oceans of Grief

  1. I never throw rubbish into the sea but removing all plastic from my life will be difficult. So much fresh produce is wrapped in plastic these days. The soy milk I buy comes in cartoons with those little plastic lids not unlike the ones fed to the baby birds. I don’t know what the solution is. I think we will need to start using 100% biodegradable plastics that are made from corn starch rather than fossil fuels.

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  5. It is not easy not to throw trash because if we don’t it will be accumulated. But it is far more easy not to generate trash. I always thought that the invent of disposable camera was the most greedy and least needed invention and product. We must try everyday to use less and less disposable products but it is happening otherwise. Everywhere.

  6. At this moment, I have over 45 different clean empty large yogurt containers in a kitchen drawer. My partner eats a lot of yogurt. Nearly once per day. I eat a lot less of the stuff. I guess the local children’s art school thought I was a threat /offering something wrong about these containers: they turned down my offer.

    And I know Emily Carr Institute of Art school coveted these containers in my painting classes!! I just shake my head. Oh well, we use them to store food, etc. And yes, whenever I paint, I use such containers several times before I throw out a container. Need any containers for art paints, titi?? :)

    I can’t say I’m great at eliminating plastic from my life. I try to reuse a plastic grocery bag at least several times before I throw it out. And cycling as a lifestyle, really naturally gets a person into a groove not to buy too much anyway: you have to cycle the weight back home!

    • Hi Jean,
      We have been making an effort to get plastic out of our lives for over 6 years. We became plastic conscious, began using cloth shopping bags, purchased stainless steel water bottles and made numerous other changes back then that we continue today. We know it’s impossible to get rid of all of it but we are staying the course ie. we avoid plastic whenever and wherever possible.

      • A Government enforced move has started here in New Delhi. In hill state like HP it is already in place for several years. Everybody uses paperbag there. I think, disposable products should be subjected to environment tax.
        We have a “Rock-Garden” in Chandigarh, India sprawled over several acres of land. In this Garden numerous statutes or other creations have been made all from old tiles, pottery, Sanitary, bottles or what not. I will look up for photo and share a link, if possible.

        • Sandeep,
          Most folks here have been using cloth bags for some time now but that’s just in my tiny community. When we go to cities we see that most people are carrying plastic bags.

  7. This post, like many of your posts, brings important into focus . That that matters. And I appreciate that … even though I am sad, very sad indeed because I know (as many do) that time is running out and humans remain determine to drive OUR ONLY habitat into decay … but the thing is – habitat will remain, we will not. The only self-extinct spices.

    Thank you,

    • Dear Daniela,
      I too am sad. The habitat is being and will continue to be reshaped by our greed and consumptive unsustainable expectations and habits. But I cannot snuff the one small candle of hope burning in my heart.

  8. I confess I’m not optimistic. Human greed and selfishness always seem to win out and escalate to even greater heights. No plummet to even greater depths would be a better description. People are either unaware, or choose to be unaware, burying their heads in the sand. And think that all us doom merchants are a bunch of loopy cranks. Maybe we are. For wanting to live in harmony with our environment and respect it and the other species that inhabit it – and cause far less damage, death and destruction than humans.

    It must be more than 40 years ago that I was telling my father NOT to throw his cigarette packets out of the car window. It took even longer before I got him to stop smoking in the car. How can a child conceive that throwing rubbish out of the car is bad and an adult is unconcerned?

    Consumerism eh? Minimum recycling. Got to buy new. Don’t care about ethics. My partner noticed a vacuum cleaner on the street today and looked to see if anything was usable and ended up taking some cable for an inspection lamp. But the rest of it will go in landfill/incineration. We don’t repair anything these days because there is more money in making poor quality goods with a limited life.

    Sorry, I’m digressing somewhat but the principle is the same – we live in an ever more throw-away society.

    • I agree that we still live in throw-away societies. We humans are plagued with never ending growth models that fail to recognize the environment is grounds for all. Without it there can be no society or economy.

      On a local and regional level I’m encouraged to see how many people have made complete turnarounds. They and their kids kids here are far more environmentally aware than the generations before them were. They do purchase less, recycle more and reuse what they have. In a way the kids of today are closer to being like my grandparents, who lived through the years of The Great Depression, than they are to the affluent society that developed after the war years. Granted that model that leads to the entitlement mentality is still having it’s effects but hopefully that thinking will be replaced with common sense.

      When I tune into the global scale of things I’m immediately bummed out so I try not to let my mind dwell there.

      “The universe and our world is ever-changing and I intend to be part of the change for good. I intend to let go my attachment to negativity when it comes to where mankind is headed. I have lit the candle of hope in my heart and won’t let the flame of positivity burn out.”

      • I know my comment was negative, but that was regarding society overall, and like you I tend not to let the news affect me, I’m selective about what I read, and prefer to concentrate on anything I can locally and personally that is positive.

        Like you, I’ll also write about it. Unlike you, most of my readers don’t share my views, maybe some share some small aspects but overall, they don’t. But at least if they read something they aren’t aware of, or don’t agree with, they might once day have second thoughts. Who knows?

        Your post about hope was inspiring.

        I was surprised when I wrote about World Earth Day that I got some interesting comments and discussion. Must remember to write again about it this year :

        • ” Unlike you, most of my readers don’t share my views, maybe some share some small aspects but overall, they don’t. ”

          That’s so interesting. I wonder why that is.

          “But at least if they read something they aren’t aware of, or don’t agree with, they might once day have second thoughts. Who knows?”

          Agreed. Stay strong and keep the faith. Hopefully, some may listen up.

  9. We humans are the biggest danger to all life on this planet. I’ve often thought that in a war between us and the planet, the planet will win. We are waking up, many of us, thousands of us, I like to think millions of us are waking and rising up. We are making changes in our own homes, in our ways of living and consuming. And many are rising to stand against the tide of big government, big pharma, big progress. Much work needs to be done and each of us can change our own ways to contribute to the health and well being of this amazing world we are a small part of.

    • Yes, indeed it appears as if we humans are a cancer that plagues the planet. Our ignorant and arrogant belief systems depicting us as having dominion over the planet rather than stewardship over it has led to this terrible state we are in. There is a definite sexist bias causation in what has gone down. The Earth is our mother who sustains all. Systemic paternalism in resource management and in all else has lead to this dreadful state of affairs.

      Yes the planet adapts and evolves as we impact it and I think we agree that the direction it’s going is frightening. I’m not clear if there is any winning or losing to be done in this planetary struggle.

      I’m encouraged to see more going on in terms of mitigation and remediation these days. The removal of environmental contaminants from the waste streams, soil, groundwater, sediment, or surface water programs do raise hope in my heart. But it’s difficult to be confident that we can make the changes we desperately need to make. It’s possible that we have passed the tipping point where effective change will produce widespread results for the better. I cling to the hope that we can still turn this around as do many others.

  10. I don’t throw anything anywhere, except in the recycle, compost, or trash bins because all things cast off (i.e., not contained) will likely end up in the oceans anyway. Runoff, via natural waterways and storm drains, makes its journey to lakes and oceans, taking plastic stowaways along with it.

    I try to eliminate as much plastic from my life as I can. I reduce, reuse, and recycle – but, oh! how many things are made from plastics, and come bundled up in plastics. Plastics do serve us in many ways, but we need to be more diligent in both making and remaking them, over and over, and not acting with this consuming, disposable mindset.

    I cannot yet see a world free of plastics as long as humans exist, and, sadly, neither can our planet and its inhabitants. I carry cloth shopping bags, refill my Klean Kanteen water bottle, keep leftovers in class containers in the fridge, and recycle the plastic bags and tags that come along with our foods and other household products. But it’s everywhere – we’re bathing in it and drinking it up, storing it in our living cells. And worse.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post. It’s comforting to know that there are many of us, maybe even enough to make a change. I hope.

    • I do all the things you list above. After decades of being intensely focused on environmental activism I moved into the tree dweller phase of my life. I avoid listening to the news and when I do I avoid becoming “attached”.

      Without doubt the news of what’s happening on the environmental front the world over is distressing. I recognize that if each and every one of us stopped using plastics and plastic production came to an end we would still have HUGE problem with plastics that don’t break down. I recognize our bodies and even the bodies of newborns are full of chemicals but what to do?

      I try not to despair by simply doing what I can, like removing all trash I find on our beautiful beaches. I take comfort in knowing how many others are focused on leaving only small footprints behind.

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