May 31, 2017

As someone who used to scuba dive for work, I have finally reached my own personal breaking point. I have heard one too many stories about the destruction of the oceans. Dying coral reefs, ocean acidification, a giant garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – it all became too much. In the midst of my frustration and helplessness, a thought bubble exploded in my head: Who is causing the problems? We are! And “we” includes “me.”

With images of the Pacific Plastic Soup dancing in my mind (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM2GAQEaed0), it occurred to me that I use plastic every single day, and I toss single-use plastic items into the recycling bin without a second thought. What’s up with that? Where does that plastic go, really? And why are we using a substance that persists for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in the environment to manufacture items meant only to be used one single time?

So, in the heat of the moment, I made a vow: to purge single-use plastic items from my life forever. Five minutes of trying, however, made me realize that such a thing may not even be possible. So I changed “forever” to one month. One month of not using any single-use plastic will allow me to discover how completely permeated in plastic my life (and presumably yours) really is, what’s easy to change and what’s harder, what I can do myself and what is going to require help from others.

So here goes. In this blog, I am going to share with you, day by day through the month of June, my fight against the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Maybe you’re already shaking your head over what you consider a futile effort, or maybe you’re curious about how I’m going to do. Maybe you’re even thinking, “Hey, I could do that too – or could I?”

Well, that’s what we’re about to find out.

Photo credit: Jeremy Carroll, Photo credit: Jeremy  https://www.facebook.com/jeremycarrollstudio/

More about me:

Full disclosure: I am a recovering marine biologist who now spends my days sitting at a computer doing public health research. I think a lot in my daily life about how we humans are affecting our planet and how in turn the changing planet is affecting our health. I have a special affection for the 2/3 of our home that is covered in salty water, and the amazing, weird, and sometimes icky creatures that live there. Including the really small ones, like copepods and prochlorococcus. Prochlorococcus rules!