Monday, March 31, 2014

Flotsam, Jetsam and Human Garbage
Human garbage, as we know, is everywhere in the ocean and very easy to confuse with "real wreckage"*. When I was teaching in SE Alaska in 1970-2 (Prudhoe Bay, Alyeska Pipeline, post earthquake), I used to go to the outside, stone-pebble shore.

Even then, with half today's population and a tenth the plastic-capacity, at the high tide line on the Pacific coast of Alaska was
a foot-wide trail of cigarette butts, tampons, the occasional Barbie doll part and plastic thingies amongst the natural driftwood, skeletal remains and "real wreckage".

First time I saw it, I quit smoking on the spot. Now, we know, almost habitable, human-created continents of garbage float in the Pacific. In fact, there are cute proposals afoot to inhabit and commercially re-cycle them! Enough, already!

Perhaps we need a broadcast flotsam tax. Couldn't the media figure out a way to make helpless millions of victims of war** as visible as 200 crash victims who put themselves at known risk when they fly on a jet ... or travel in a car ... anyway?

*Roundtablers were discussing flight 370 -- for the 16th? time.

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