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Founder of Algalita Marine Research Foundation Explains Devastating Effects on Sea Life of Littering

Posted Jan 20 2010 7:00am

"The ocean is downhill from everywhere. Only we humans make waste that nature cannot digest.”

– Captain Charles Moore

Founder, Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Since most forms of plastic are manufactured from petroleum, it is easy to realize that recycling is an excellent way to fight global warming. However, there is another reason of equal environmental importance. Littering is very harmful to marine life and littering plastics is among the worst things we can do to the seas.

It is a normal part of the circle of life for creatures of the sea to feed upon other living things in their surroundings. Put another way, in nature, creatures do not import their food from distant places. Instead, they establish a natural equilibrium with their environment. They have one thing in common with humans, though. They are incapable of recognizing all forms of poison.

That’s why the damage to seas caused by littering plastics is so particularly insidious. As Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation explains in his brilliant documentaries, presentations and writings, the petroleum-derived plastics which are produced in the billions of tons every year to give us disposable bottles and shopping bags degrade neither graciously nor quickly in nature. Hence, when oceanic currents such as the [link1]North Pacific Gyre[/link1] concentrate our litter in otherwise pristine natural areas, environmental damage is amplified.

For this reason, I exhort you to reduce your consumption of plastic bottles and shopping bags, recycling what you can and disposing carefully what you cannot. Then, if you think that I’m exaggerating the effects on nature of our carelessness in the use and disposal of petroleum-derived plastics, subscribe to Captain Moore’s newsletter at

algalita.org

If you need additional encouragement to use less and recycle more, watch his stupefying video presentation to TED around this time last year.

ted.com/talks/view/id/470

It’s true that all living things, including people, are what they eat. Tragically, we are causing many forms of marine life to become the garbage we discard.

Disclosure of consideration: The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. They were not influenced by any outside party. Moreover, I have no financial interest in Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

photo credit: Jonathan Alcorn/ Bloomberg News

credit: algalita.org]

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