A couple of weeks ago, for the (shockingly) first time, I sent a mass e-mail to family and friends, pleading for them to take note of an issue that I feel strongly about. Normally, I limit my enthusiasm to the sharing of links on Facebook and Twitter, but this time, I was too enraged not to bring a cause to inboxes.
So what was that cause you may ask?
Dead baby birds with bodies full of plastic.
These photographs of albatross chicks were made in September, 2009, on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking. To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.
So many of us use plastic bottles and utensils and don’t necessarily consider the consequences of doing so, or where it all might end up. If you ever saw something that would compel you to not litter, make sure to recycle or especially use less plastic, I have to think this project would be it.
Jordan’s photos are so disturbing, I think they say everything that needs to be said. This is one of those cases when a photo really is worth the clichéd thousand words.
In doing more reading, I’ve learned that it’s well-known that albatrosses suffer this fate because of their habitat. But knowing that this is happening to birds thousands of miles from the nearest continent, I can only imagine what must be happening to the ones on land.
I could only hope that my family and friends would feel as compelled as I did to not only let other people know that this is happening, but also to use less plastic, helping the animals and the environment we all share.
I have the same hopes for you.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition is a great place to visit for tips to cut back on the plastic.