April 23, 2011
Earth Day: Great Pacific Garbage Patch
A coworker came to my desk a couple weeks ago, sat down, and said, “Have you heard of something called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?” And I said, Yes. Of course I had. I thought it was something everyone knew about due to how disgusting it is.
Apparently not. A random poll in my life showed that 5 out of 5 people asked (large poll, I know) had never heard of it. My coworker had seen it on TV, and it shook her how gross it was. Overnight, she stopped using water bottles and switched to reusable cups.
My brother spread the news when he dressed up as the Garbage Patch for Halloween. I thought I could use this little space to spread it too.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a gyre, where ocean currents swirl together, and pull in garbage from all over the Pacific. It is a huge floating island of trash that is twice the size of Texas. Sea creatures get trapped in it. It leaks toxins into the water. It is 537,162 square miles of trash.
Every person in my poll said, "That's disgusting. Why don't they move it somewhere?" And my question is, Where? Where could we possible move that much trash. Only half of it will fit in Texas, where's the other portion going? At this point, our best option is reduction.
I know it’s easy to think, “One water bottle won’t hurt” – but they add up. When we all do that, it’s a huge amount of plastic. I’m guilty of contributing plastic coffee lids. I’ve made the permanent switch to reusable mugs (I leave one at work so I never forget) and it saves the Earth and my wallet. At most coffee shops, you get a $0.10 or $0.15 discount for bringing your own mug. And in honor of Earth Day, Starbucks will be giving you free coffee or tea if you get it in a reusable cup today.
Happy Friday/Good Friday/Earth Day! Go enjoy some free coffee!