Returning Home to Maui;
I shared the joy’s and unexpected sorrows of our adventure. Everyone loved to here the stories, even the environmentally tragic ones of plastic pollution everywhere.
And then…………… nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. As I shared the atrocities of plastic in the rivers, streams and oceans, someone shared with me a man made disaster of unimaginable proportion. They said there is a place in the North Pacific called a ” Gyre ” pronounced like Gyroscope. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch the media had claimed it, where plastic pollution gathers and stays for 400 to 800 hundred years, ( a scientific estimate ). As they where describing this place twice the Texas with millions of tons of confetti size piece, I could feel my stomach start to Knot up. The ill feeling that came over me as I realized what we as humans are doing to the oceans and the scale of what we are doing. As my head spun in many directions all at the same time, How could I have of not heard of this before? Who was responsible? who is cleaning it up, Why??
I immediately went to the Internet to search this Gyre thing, a word not previously in my vocabulary. It was true, Plastic Pollution outweighs zooplankton 6 lbs to 1, Capt. Charles Moore’s research, in 2002. Capt. Moore was the only source of information at that time, so I contacted him. I sent an email to Algalita Marine Research Foundation ( AMRF, as it was called back then ) addressed to Capt. Moore. My inquiry was two fold, 1. who was cleaning it up ? and 2. could I do a documentary film on it ?. Capt. Moore answered my email said it’s not possible to cleanup, thanked me for my interest and closed with “have a nice day”. WOW… the oceans are filling with Plastic Pollution, nothing can be done, have a nice day!!!, WHAT !!!
My head was spinning even more, I couldn’t sleep, eat or do much but think about how someone or some government must do something. I had some time on my hands, I’d moved to Maui a few years earlier, had planned well and needed to work only 3 days a week. Earth Day Maui was in just a few weeks, I inquired about booth space, made a Gyre Cleanup banner and got as much info on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as could and set up shop for the day. Most people were as shocked as I, and most felt overwhelmed at the size of area. However one person asked me, ” What are you doing about it ? “, then said “How about you starting a nonprofit to address the cleanup. By this time I had imagined that there are many ways to do any one thing, ships netting it, vacuums sucking out plastic, maybe even a bacteria that eats it. It is after all a finite amount of space, get started and we will eventually get to the end.
It took only a few days, the stars where lining up, meeting the right people, asking the right questions and Environmental Cleanup Coalition was conceived. It took a world of people to make this mess, it will take a world of people to clean it up, a Coalition, I imagined.
And then the real work started…………………………..
I will end for today with;
Everyone ” Can Do” something about Plastic Pollution. 1. Pick it up when you see it, 2. Refuse single use plastic at every opportunity, 3. Share with others this Noble Cause, 4. Tithe to the ocean organization of your choice, it will make you feel good.