Wednesday, July 23, 2014

'Fun Facts' About The Great Pacific Garbage Patch & Co.

Continuing from the previous post, a few interesting items from the Wikipedia page on the "Great Pacific garbage patch" and its four fellow mid-ocean dumps around the globe:

  • The Great Pacific garbage patch was predicted in a 1988 paper published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States. 
  • Charles J. Moore, returning home through the North Pacific Gyre after competing in the Transpac sailing race in 1997, came upon an enormous stretch of floating debris.
  • It consists primarily of submerged, suspended concentrations of often-microscopic particles in the upper water column, which, in one of many effects, fish consume as they feed on their normal menu… and those plastic micro-bits migrate all the way up the food chain.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The OceanS' Floating Garbage PatcheS – Yes, it's worse than you thought

Recently, the conclusion has come to me that the mere fact of the five gigantic "floating garbage patches" in the world's oceans means we'd better start figuring out how to capture waste plastic in the wild, and to reuse or break it down to its original elements, among other things.

North Pacific Gyre World Map (by Fangz)
(That's right: it's not just the one in the northern Pacific, the first one spotted in 1997, said to be twice the size of Texas.)
I mean, really – shouldn't the world collectively feel the shame of this, and the responsibility?

(Okay, I know the world I've mostly chosen to live in is a Frank Capra movie, but,)
How come as soon as the news first hit the big media, had its 15 minutes — now probably down to around 3-5, hm? —an immediate worldwide action movement didn't spring up to do something about it?
Could it be that maybe all the plastic they say has leached itself into our systems has influenced us to be more sympathetic to plastic!? (Okay, I'm kidding... I sure hope I'm kidding.)
But for the moment, rather than dive any further into another depressing round of grim facts about all our plastic-coated problems, two basic questions:

What can be done about it?
What can we do?

Maybe we could start with an insight of R. Buckminster Fuller's, who had the right idea when he wrote, decades ago,
“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value.”
(Pollution seen simply as unharvested resources – this idea would work as an brilliant example of Genius, or vision, something really grand like that.)

An End-to-End Range of Solutions

Beyond that, of course, the full product lifecycle has to be dealt with. The main point first will be to reduce demand and production to the level where it can all be recaptured and somehow processed.  Reducing demand will require learning how to produce good alternatives to the functions people like to use plastic for.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute 
The Guardian's environmental news index on plastic bags:  ( 
The "Great Pacific garbage patch" on Wikipedia  
Here: posts tagged "appropriate technology"

Monday, July 21, 2014

(All the old posts restored, cleared of any unsuspecting copyright issues)

As noted in a post here some months back, I had promptly taken down all 150+ pieces that I'd put up over the years when I heard that a certain online image bank was sending hefty bills with threatening letters to bloggers who'd used one of their copyrighted images.

It didn't matter if you'd linked and attributed that photo (which I've always practiced), or immediately took it down.  You owed 'em, and they said they'd sue if you didn't pay.

Given what a wild and woolly frontier the Web was in the early years, with everyone reusing everything and proud of it, this certainly did seem like a dirty trick.
So I then started going through every post, following the links to everything that I'd put there, and zapped anything that I couldn't confirm had a Creative Commons license or was otherwise public domain.  This did get dreary, naturally, so it's taken awhile; it wasn't exactly a high priority, y'know?

But today, working on a new one, I finally got around to finishing going through the rest of the earlier posts, from way back in 2006.  So, for what it's worth, it's all there again, minus a couple of pix.

A quick search of "blogs images copyright threats" reveals quite an amount of cases; this one, among others, was detailed and instructive:
If Getty Images sent you a demand letter, there is definitely potential for a lawsuit.” –  (