Thursday, February 19, 2009

All The Creatures of the World

I think that you would be amazed to know how plastics are impacting our oceans and animal life that lives within it.  Humans are currently a species that as a whole are unaware of the circumstances that our consumer based behavior is having on the rest of the parts of the world.

Education to raise the awareness of the global crisis is the start. 

Most of the products that we purchase today are made or packaged in plastic.  Where does this plastic go once we are done with it?  Some of it makes it to the landfills where it pile up for the next billion years (it doesn't disintegrate), while other pieces end up finding their way down sewers, to streams and river and then end up in the ocean.  Since these plastic bottles and plastic bits float, and do not sink to the bottom of the ocean, they remain in the water indefinitely.  they float and  slowly break down into very small pieces. These pieces concentrate in the oceans, through the action of the normal currents. 

In the North Pacific Guyer, an area in the ocean near the USA and Canada now covers an area 4 times the size of Texas.  Not that is huge.  It is a huge swirling trash soup with plastic bits.

And why does this matter? Some plastic floating in the ocean, what harm can that cause?

Well, what it is doing is displacing the plankton in the water.  Plankton are tiny plants and animals that form the basis of the food chain in our oceans.  There are six times more plastic in these areas than the plankton.  These little pieces of plastic are being eaten by the next little creatures, which then become starved for food and expire. 

Sea birds are picking up plastic as it mimics their food and gets stuck in their digestive tract and they die.  Larger animals are finding it harder and harder to get nourishment.  Studies on plankton eating sea mammals are now just coming out and massive impacts to plankton eating whales have just been reported.  We expect a crash in the fisheries from not just over-fishing, but from the replacement of the food chain with bits of plastic.

The oceans and its sea life are critical to the whole picture of our existence.  We all need each other for earth to be in harmony.  Here are some amazing shots of other forms of life that we share the planet with taken by Sandra Critelli while on vacation near the Yucatan Peninsula. 

"Mass Migration of Stingrays:  Looking like giant leaves floating in the sea, thousands of Golden Rays are seen here gathering off the coast of Mexico.  The spectacular scene was captured as the 
magnificent creatures made one of their biannual mass migrations to more agreeable waters. Gliding silently beneath the waves, they turned vast areas of blue water to gold off the norther 
tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Sandra Critelli describes the experience, "It was an unreal image, very difficult to describe.  The surface of the water was covered by warm and different shades of gold and looked like a bed of autumn leaves gently moved by the wind. 

It's hard to say how many there were, but in the range of a few thousand. We were surrounded by them without seeing the edge of the school and we could see many under the water surface too.
I feel very fortunate I was there in the right place at the right time to experience nature at its best.  Measuring up to 7ft from wing-tip, Golden rays are also more prosaically known as cow nose rays.                                                                      
They have long, pointed pectoral fins that separate into two lobes in from of their high-dommed heads and give them a cow-like appearance.  Despite having poisonous stingers, they are known to be shy and non-threatening when in large schools.  The population in the Gulf of Mexico migrates, in shcools of as many as 10,000, clockwise from western 
Florida to the Yucatan."  

I am pretty sure that you will agree that these creatures are spectacular as are many of the species in the ocean.  The time to act is NOW.  

You can make a difference by:

-Limiting the plastics that you purchase. 
-Recycling all plastics possible. 
-Eliminating the #1 contaminant - bottled water - by purchasing a Kangen Water Unit

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