Local artists Richard and Judith Lang have created an art experience from one unsuspecting whale’s deathly meals! This hulking and thought-provoking sculpture, made from a portion of the 450lbs of “ghost nets” and trash found in the belly of a dead sperm whale necropsied by The Marine Mammal Center, is just one heartbreaking tale of what can happen to marine life when humans set their garbage adrift. You’ll see, touch, learn and be inspired to make the ocean a healthier place for all.
Hello from Long Beach, CA!
In mid-February, I was honored to participate in an event and panel discussion at the Aquarium of the Pacific highlighting plastics in the marine environment. The panel introduced the issue to the audience and talked about solutions, while the non-profit 5 Gyres Institute debuted a traveling exhibit on the impacts of ocean pollution.
Here are my take-aways from the evening:
It became clear that although marine debris seems like a relatively simple problem to solve – it’s visible, tangible, and comes directly from humans – the issue needs to be addressed at multiple levels. Meaning, to make great strides in preventing marine debris we need industry participation and innovation, effective policies grounded in sound science, and changes in consumer behavior.
It’s true that more research is needed to fully understand and measure the impacts of debris, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take action. While advances in science will help us identify better, more successful management strategies, there are easy changes we can make every day to make a huge difference. For example, reducing our consumption of single-use, disposable plastics is a great start. (See Ocean Conservancy’s Keep the Coast Clear website for more suggestions).
A big thank-you to the Aquarium of the Pacific, Algalita Marine Research Institute, 5 Gyres, and my fellow panelists from the NRDC and Packaging 2.0 for the inspiring discussion!
February 26, 2013
Marine Debris Blog
If you are visiting Seattle before the end of May, consider a trip to the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The museum recently unveiled a new exhibit called– “Plastics Unwrapped,” which takes a look at the cultural changes that have led to the increasing use of plastics in the last 50 years.
The exhibit begins with our “life before plastics,” which looks at how we met challenges before plastics became commonplace before progressing onto the “science of plastics,” where it explores the manufacturing and insights into the future of plastics engineering.
Next, is the intersection of “health and plastics” in medical advances. The medical field has used plastics for life-saving endeavors over the past 50 years; however, medical supplies are also a large source of plastic waste. The exhibit presents this information with an almost sterile viewpoint which forces viewers to absorb the information without bias.
The exhibit then takes a turn to “waste and plastics,” which occupies a large portion of the space. An entire wall is covered with thousands of discarded, single-use plastic shopping bags – this definitely packs an emotional punch.
This kid-friendly exhibit, also features a creative and interactive “studio lab,” where museum-goers can combine science and art to produce something imaginative for reusing plastics.
The last theme of the exhibit is “rethink plastics,” which guides viewers through options for reducing our personal consumables, reusing, recycling, and advocacy resources.
This is definitely food for thought… even for those of us who have done a lot of thinking about plastics. It is refreshing to see a new take on the issue of plastics and society!
To learn more about the exhibit, check out the Burke Museum online: http://www.burkemuseum.org/booknow/plastics_unwrapped
February 15, 2013
Marine Debris Blog