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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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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This is Cyntoia Brown And THIS is Why She Deserves To Be Freed, Immediately

A glimpse inside the incarceration of a Tennessee woman who was sentenced to life behind bars for killing a pedophile who solicited her for sex.

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In 2004, Cyntoia Brown, a Tenessee woman, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was only 16 years old. Now, 14 years later, the court has ruled that she must serve 51 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

So, what happened to Brown all those years ago? Brown says at the time of the murder, she was living with her abusive boyfriend who would often physically and sexually abuse her, force her to sell sex for money, and pump her full of drugs to make her more controllable.

Brown was picked up on the side of the road by a 43-year-old insurance agent named Johnny Mitchell Allen. Allen brought Brown to his home, showed her his extensive gun collection, and then came onto Brown. Brown then resisted Allen's sexual advances. After being rejected, Allen reached below his bed. Brown assumed he was reaching for a gun, and then shot Allen with her own gun out of fear of being shot herself. On the morning of the shooting, Brown's abusive boyfriend advised her that she better come home with money that day. Out of fear of her boyfriend, Brown then stole money from the dead man's wallet and left the home.

Since then, prosecutors have argued that Brown's intentions were to rob this man from the very beginning, though Brown and her lawyers insist that the shooting was done out of self-defense. It's worth noting that Tennessee law states that any sex work done by minors is ruled sex slavery. Brown was 16 years old, and practically in the custody of a man who is said to have repeatedly raped and solicited her to have sex with other men for money. She was under the control of someone stronger and more threatening than herself. She was scared and did what she thought she had to do to make it out of that situation alive.

I'm in no way condoning murdering someone. It's just pretty appalling to me how courts are so quick to send this woman to prison for the rest of her life when proven sexual predators like Brock Turner are given six-month sentences and only made to serve three for raping an unconscious woman in a park. How in the world does shooting a pedophile out of self-defense warrant a more severe punishment than raping a defenseless woman? Does this make sense to anyone? If so, please enlighten me.

Now, people across the country are pleading Tennessee governor Bill Haslam to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have shared their sympathy for Brown on social media, which has garnered a lot of publicity from a younger demographic.

On Monday, Governor Haslam gave a speech on education at the Nashville Public Library. After being asked about the amount of justice within Brown's case, Governor Haslam said: "We're reviewing a lot of cases, and while Cyntoia's case has gotten a lot of publicity, I don't think you want us to treat her's any different than a whole lot of cases that I think people want us to review."

Haslam said everyone in his office is looking very deeply into Brown's case and he will make a decision on whether or not to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks.

Haslam's conservative reputation could be impacted by his potential decision to show Brown mercy. It all comes down to how he wants to be remembered as a governor. My hope is that justice is shown and that Brown is treated as a victim of sex-slavery, rather than a killer and a thief. No person should be sent to a life behind bars for trying to defend themselves.

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