Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Gyre’

Change the World Wednesday – 2nd Apr


The fruits of my labour…


An orange tree has sprouted from seeds I threw in a box, and some garlic on the left


Ginger grown from the green nodules broken off supermarket root

Ginger grown from the green nodules broken off supermarket root


Self-sown tomatoes growing in the soil from an ornamental plant

Self-sown tomatoes growing in the soil (my compost) from an ornamental plant


Pineapples grow slowly, but still growing

Pineapples grow slowly, but still growing


Passion fruit growing up the side of the house, ready for fruit next year

Passion fruit growing up the side of the house, ready for fruit next year

Good News

On Saturday we gained a new little sacolão (fruit and vege store) in the neighborhood. It’s only small, but handy; and only 30 metres (32 yards) from home.

Sacolão, small, but handy

Sacolão, small, but handy

And the good thing is they don’t get their produce from CEASA, the state supplier. With CEASA you can’t guarantee the source. But they get their produce from a smallholder in Teresópolis in the north of the state. They have a choice of organic and pesticide-free veges.

A small range of produce

A small range of produce

And they’re not expensive.

They already know that I don’t like plastic bags and put the produce in my carry bag.

This morning when I took the photos, there was a big plastic bag of cauliflower trimmings, I asked and was able to take it to add to my compost heap. The bag… well, that will be used to put my recyclable water bottles in for the Tuesday recycle collection.


Click on the banner for the full post

On with this weeks CTWW.

This week it’s a biggie…

This week, begin by educating yourself on the ocean. Do a google search using the words “protect the ocean” and read some of the articles which come up. Visit the Marine Conservation Institute or NOAA for information.



Choose one (or more) of the following activities:

  • Say NO to plastic, especially plastic bottles and bags. The world’s largest “landfill” is floating in the North Pacific Ocean and consists of plastic.
  • Contact your state officials and encourage them to vote against off-shore drilling.
  • Walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation this week. If you must drive, drive less.
  • Maintain your car and fix any leaks (oil on the pavement gets washed into storms drains and ultimately finds its way to the ocean). Never toss used oil down the drain.
  • Avoid fish and seafood this week. If you must eat it, make sustainable and healthy choices (look for the Marine Stewardship Council label to ensure that it is sustainable and environmentally friendly).
  • Take part in a beach clean-up.
  • Eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in your home.
  • Avoid the use of herbicides and pesticides.
  • Scoop pet waste. Letting it sit on the lawn means that it will enter our waterways.
  • Stay off the water. If you must boat, do so responsibly (don’t toss things into the water and use a human-powered boat rather than a gas-powered version).
  • Dispose of all trash properly and pick up litter if you see it.


Leaves me breathless just reading it.

Part One

The plight of our oceans is disheartening. I have eluded to this in the past. Just because we can’t ‘see’ under the ocean, we seem to forget that is is just as susceptible to pollution and predation as the land.

The ocean is threatened by plastic. Obvious plastic that we can see the plastic strewn beaches, the Pacific gyre are a public disgrace; and the less obvious the micro-pellets from our washing machines that enter the water chain. The ocean also is affected by the run off of pesticides and agro-chemicals from our farmlands. Then there are stupid politicians who make assinine decisions like the Australians to dump millions of tons of waste on coral reefs like the Great Barrier Reef. The oceans are subject to warming which is changing habitats, the you have massive problems with radiation from the likes of Fukushima in Japan; already 100% of tuna caught off the American coast have levels above the acceptable limits for consumption.

The oceans aren’t safe for anyone, let alone the fish. The governments have stopped testing (American and Canadian) because the results are just too embarrassing. The latest IPCC report classifies Fukushima radiation as an ‘extinction event’. Oh, don’t get that wrong, it’s not just the fish that are affected, ALL LIFE on the planet will be affected. Cancer/radiation related deaths in babies, new borns and foetuses are already increasing on the west coast of the USA.

Now that’s just a tad more than serious.

Why isn’t this in the news? The governments don’t want you to know.

Furthermore, there are problems with over-fishing serious straining the life-cycles of marine life.

This week there was good news. Japan has been banned from it’s ‘research whaling’ (read commercial whaling in disguise) in Antarctic waters. Japan has said it will bide by the ruling, but are already looking at loopholes like reduced quotas.

the_world_in_a_nutshellSo to put it in a nutshell, we have totally destroyed the planet.

Not only the visible portions, but the invisible as well.

Man’s irresponsibility is drawing us closer and closer to our own extinction.

It’s time we woke up!

It’s time we let the governments know!

It’s time we got rid of the incumbent arseholes and their pandering to the corporations.

We need to take the dog by the tail and wake the bloody thing up, because until we do, we’re f**ked!

This CTWW by Small is probably one of the most radical we face; certainly it is the most global.

We really need to educate the masses, because most of the populace is just sitting on its sanctimonious backside saying “oh, it’ll never happen!” They are lulled into complacency by the lack of news, the government’s ‘do nothing’ approach. And, worst of all the blatant bullshit of the deniers!

Well, I’ve got news for them: It is happening, here, it is happening now!

Part deux:

  • While I am not perfect, there is plastic in my life, but I go out of my way to reduce it to a minimum.
  • I am bound by public transport, no car; no car, less planetary resources used and wasted.
  • I will not avoid fish, I consider that fish is an important dietary aspect. I do however, spurn fish like panga produced in the Asian sewer known as the Mekong River in Vietnam.
  • I don’t go to the beach, but I am active and vocal in keeping our neighbourhood clean.
  • I use products that are non or less toxic where possible.
  • I am now shopping at the new sacolão who are supporting fruit and vege with no pesiticides and organic produce (this is a new aspect in my life).
  • My pet waste is composted. The worms do a good job.

There you have it, my CTWW.

The Pacific Gyre


If you get closer, it looks like this…


Some of those plastic bottles may be yours…

Makes you proud, doesn’t it?


Make you Fink on Friday


We have to stop sweeping the inconvenient under the carpet; we have been doing it for too long.

The world’s population has been growing at exponential rates, but this is not only confined to the population. Other things have been growing likewise. Shipping for example, there are more passenger and cruise liners than ever before, there are more fishing vessels, there are more container ships and more pleasure craft.

Maritime pollution is also growing faster than ever before.

We don’t see this the same as on land, because most of us don’t sail, but it is there and it is endangering marine life and the food chain which ultimately ends up on our tables.

What happens to all the trash from these boats?

A lot of it gets dumped in the sea.

The worst example is the Pacific Gyre, a vortex of ocean currents that has created the world’s largest marine trash heap. But it’s not the only gyre in the world, there are five such areas.

The Pacific Gyre, 90% of this trash has been dumped by boats – image: feedlol

The problem will only get worse unless a stand is taken.

Maritime laws must change. If a ship takes so much product on board, then it can be calculated within reason how much trash this product will generate. If a ship returns to port and can’t produce the estimated trash, then it is obvious that the trash has gone somewhere. Ports and boats need to maintain product in/trash out schedules or registers.

Not only trash, but fishing nets and tackle, should all have to be accounted for.

All ships must be made to account for their trash

This idea has to be an international effort, obviously a ship doesn’t necessarily off-load its trash at the port of departure, but it must be able to prove where the trash went, or the ship/company should be fined, and fined heavily; not just a smack across the wrist.

The money from these fines would be used in international efforts to clean up the crap we have already dumped in the sea.

But humanity must get off it’s sanctimonious derriere and be held responsible. Remember, once we have plundered the land to the point where it won’t produce food anymore, the sea is our last resort… if it’s still viable.

Monday Moaning

We’ve done it!

The Pacific Garbage Patch is a Texas-sized swirling mass of the world's mostly plastic garbage floating around in the North Pacific Ocean.

We all know that our oceans and seas are polluted with plastic, bottles, bags and all sorts of plastic crap that is thrown out on a daily basis. Plastic containers left on the beach, trash from rivers, garbage from ships, fishing nets, etc. This pollution is a plague, totally out of all proportion and control.

On land we try to recycle as much as possible, but what happens when it gets to the sea?

The Pacific Gyre is the size of Texas, that’s hell of a lot of plastic; you imagine Texas covered in three feet of plastic. Check out this disaster on Greenpeace’s Pacific Vortex and you’ll get an idea of how disastrous this is.

If that is not enough to shock you, I’m going to refer to a BBC News article that will, and it’s not about the Pacific Gyre, it’s about your laundry, your neighbour’s laundry, every laundry in the world that has a washing machine!

Accumulating ‘microplastic’ threat to shores

Concentrations of microplastic were greatest near coastal urban areas, the study showed

Microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain, a study has warned.

Researchers traced the “microplastic” back to synthetic clothes, which released up to 1,900 tiny fibres per garment every time they were washed.

Earlier research showed plastic smaller than 1mm were being eaten by animals and getting into the food chain.

The findings appeared in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

“Research we had done before… showed that when we looked at all the bits of plastic in the environment, about 80% was made up from smaller bits of plastic,” said co-author Mark Browne, an ecologist now based at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“This really led us to the idea of what sorts of plastic are there and where did they come from.”

Dr Browne, a member of the US-based research network National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, said the tiny plastic was a concern because evidence showed that it was making its way into the food chain.

“Once the plastics had been eaten, it transferred from [the animals’] stomachs to their circulation system and actually accumulated in their cells,” he told BBC News.

In order to identify how widespread the presence of microplastic was on shorelines, the team took samples from 18 beaches around the globe, including the UK, India and Singapore.

“We found that there was no sample from around the world that did not contain pieces of microplastic.”

Scanning microscope image of nylon fibres The smallest fibres could end up causing huge problems worldwide

Dr Browne added: “Most of the plastic seemed to be fibrous.

“When we looked at the different types of polymers we were finding, we were finding that polyester, acrylic and polyamides (nylon) were the major ones that we were finding.”

The data also showed that the concentration of microplastic was greatest in areas near large urban centres.

In order to test the idea that sewerage discharges were the source of the plastic discharges, the team worked with a local authority in New South Wales, Australia.

“We found exactly the same proportion of plastics,” Dr Browne revealed, which led the team to conclude that their suspicions had been correct.

As a result, Dr Browne his colleague Professor Richard Thompson from the University of Plymouth, UK carried out a number of experiments to see what fibres were contained in the water discharge from washing machines.

“We were quite surprised. Some polyester garments released more than 1,900 fibres per garment, per wash,” Dr Browne observed.

“It may not sound like an awful lot, but if that is from a single item from a single wash, it shows how things can build up.

“It suggests to us that a large proportion of the fibres we were finding in the environment, in the strongest evidence yet, was derived from the sewerage as a consequence from washing clothes.”

Source: BBC News

It appears that regardless of the visible plastic that pollutes the oceans, regardless of how much plastic we recycle, there is a greater threat that has existed longer.

Your laundry, your washing machine, it turns out,  is one of the greatest dangers to mankind. Microplastic entering the sea, eaten by fish, we eat the fish whose metabolism has been altered by the plastic.

This is the strongest argument that I have seen for a return to 100% natural fibres and a return to hand washing. Remember the days when the washing water was used to water the garden and wasn’t wasted down the sewer.

Once again mankind in his rush to make life easier with washing machines and synthetic fibres has damaged the natural balance of the eco-system, perhaps beyond recovery.

Imagine: 7,000,000,000 people washing a shirt a day means that each week we potentially pour 93.1 quadrillion pieces of microplastic into the rivers and sewers of the world, and we haven’t even discussed socks, underwear and trousers. That’s 4.74 quintillion a year; I can’t even imagine a number that large, I don’t even know if quintillion exists…


It does, I just checked, Rubik’s Cube has 43 quintillion +/- possible combinations.

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