The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

we need to take responsibility instead of passing it down to our children, as others before us have.
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Every year we produce about three million tons of plastic. Our economy grew rapidly in the last 25 years and now thrives off of cheap packaging. If you want to eat a biscuit nowadays, we have to buy a biscuit within a plastic wrapper, within a plastic tray, within a cardboard box, within some plastic foil within a plastic bag. People need to be educated on where this plastic goes when we are done with it, what effects this plastic has, as well as what is being done about this topic.

When issues of pollution arise, the main response is to leave the solution to our children. Well, here we are, and it is time to bring awareness to this issue.

Where does this plastic go when we are done with it?

Approximately 1,000 plastic bottles are wasted into our bodies of water per second. These rivers, streams, and channels lead to the ocean. The plastic debris primarily collect at these five rotating currents, called the gyers, where it doesn’t only directly kill sea life, but due to the absorption of PCBs and DDTs, also poisons the food chain… a food chain that includes us- humans. I would like to place emphasis on the North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Researcher Charles Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and describes this island of plastic as twice the size of Texas. In this gyre, plastic outnumbers sea life 6-1. Moore also estimates that there is 7.25 million tons of extractable plastic in the top layers of the gyre. That is the weight of 1,000 Eiffel towers floating in the ocean.

What are the effects of plastic in the ocean?

Most effects are unfortunately negative. It is approximated that one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals die yearly from ocean plastic pollution. According to a study done by aerospace engineer, environmentalist, and Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, nearly all Laysam albatross chick- 97.5 percent to be exact already have pieces of plastic already in their stomachs; their parents feed them plastic particles that they mistake for food.

When turtles ingest plastic, they bring a false sensation of satiation that slows and has the possibility of halting reproduction. Plastic also warps their bodies until they die.

Approximately 2.5 billion people rely on fish for at least 20 percent of the protein they get from animals. As I mentioned before, synthetic chemicals in plastic including PBCs and DDTs are absorbed by the ocean, which increases the concentration by a million times.

These toxins are quickly absorbed into the marine food chain, which becomes an issue when fish in the north pacific ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic per year. Economically, plastic pollution causes over an estimated $13 billion globally each year. These plastics also cause an approximate $1.27 billion in the United States for fishing/vessel repairs alone.

What is being done about this?

Aggressive actions are currently taking place to either clean the ocean or prevent further pollution. EcoCortec is a company based in Beli Manastir, Croatia, and they have come up with a solution to prevent future pollution. According to EcoCortec, its ‘EcoOcean’ flexible packaging, produced from material made with the latest bio-based PHA polymer technology, is fully marine biodegradable. Even though that this may seem like a feasible solution, manufacturers are quick to point out that marine biodegradable does not necessarily mean marine disposable.

Scientists in Britain and the Netherlands have proposed the idea to cut out plastic pollution by the institution of a “circular economy." The basic idea of this concept is that products must be designed with the “end-of-life” reclamation in mind. In the United States, specifically in California, focus has been placed on “structural controls”. This means the covering of gutters and catch basins with screens.

Instead of going out and trying to clean the ocean from plastic, most specifically the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Boyan Slat considers that we let the ocean clean itself. More specifically, he claims in his TedTalk, “why move through the oceans, when the oceans can move through you”? By attaching many floating barriers with platforms to the seabed, the plastic can be concentrated in one place to make for easier extraction. This process is all natural, as ocean currents and winds dictate it.

Another benefit of Slat’s cleanup process is that the probability of by-catch is limited to almost 0 percent, because “… no nets are used, so entanglement is virtually impossible." This claim is supported by the fact that almost all of the ocean currents flow beneath the surface, meaning that they flow beneath the floating booms, which would remove all “neutrally buoyant organisms, preventing by-catch, while the lighter-than-water plastic collects in front of the floating barrier.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is something that everyone needs to be aware of, as we need to take responsibility instead of passing it down to our children, as others before us have.



Cover Image Credit: themillenniumreport.com

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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What Happened To My Country That I Love? The Radical Left Happened

They have made the young conservatives angry, and oh boy, will they regret that.
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What happened to the America I loved? What happened to the country that fought for liberties, not against them? What happened to my country? What happened?

I was terrified to enter the political world when I first began developing my own thoughts and opinions on many social and economic issues. I started to see this new side of the world that was boiling beneath the surface, ready to explode. I was unsure what to do with the information handed to me. But none-the-less, I fell in love with politics.

I found myself on the conservative side of the political spectrum. For anyone who knows me, this is not too much of a surprise. I was already incredibly pro-life and was one of the most outspoken people against the government being involved in my life. With a very conservative household, people tend to point at me and say that I have known no different. And maybe I haven’t.

What I have noticed in my time being incredibly active in politics is the increasing amount of worry and fear that has been radiating off the Right. They are afraid that they were the last generation of conservatives. They fear that free markets and our basic human rights are soon to head out the door.

But I am here to tell them, they are not the last wave of conservatism.

As I walked into the Midwest Regional Conference hosted by Turning Point USA (TPUSA) a couple weekends ago, I saw all I needed to see. One thousand college-aged conservatives, mingling around the room proud in their country and displaying their “Socialism Sucks” shirts.

One thousand does not sound like a lot, but each came from their college chapter representing another three or four students. Then, on top of that there are all the students on college campuses to afraid to say anything, and then there are those who simply are out of college or couldn’t come. This was only for the Midwest as well. There are numerous amounts of conferences hosted by TPUSA around the United States every year.

This was just one.

There is a new wave of conservatism that is coming, and I promise that we will not let our parents and grandparents down. We have already begun to speak out against the radical Left, that has left behind what our country was founded on.

We have grown tired of the ways of conservatives have always sat back and never spoken too loud. They have fought back in votes, petitions, and talk shows. This new wave is strong, and know that in order to fight back we have to be just as loud. It has begun already with organizations like Campus Reform, Lone Conservative, and Turning Point USA. All rooted in capitalism, free markets, and our civil liberties and rights.

We are here to fight for America, and to keep our lives and generations to come safe. We will not let the Left take away our defense, our speech, and the rest of what makes America, America. Because if we do, where else will we go?

What happened to the America I loved? It is still here and is here to stay.

What happened to the country that fought for liberties, not against them? It is still here and is here to stay.

What happened to my country? The radical Left happened.

What happened? They have made the young conservatives angry, and oh boy, will they regret that.

Cover Image Credit: aimeecustis / Flickr

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