I think all of us had a stack of National Geographic in our elementary school. It was the stack that was mercilessly attacked by small children with less than stellar coordination cut out faces and polar bears for collages and school posters. However there is something more to the magazine.
This month they did an issue that has a cover that looks quite familiar to a previous cover. On further inspection, the familiar iceberg is not what it appears. It is actually a plastic bag floating on the surface of the ocean.
It is a symbol for the massive amount of plastic pollution we have created and are, unfortunately sustaining. This plastic pollution is doing untold damage and killing off sea life at an alarming rate. The pieces themselves are cutting off air supply, clogging stomachs, and some are even sending poisonous materials through the water.
I even remember, on my trip to Ghana taking a trip to the shore. Filled with excitement, I longed for the crashing waves on the shore. When we arrived though the whole image saddened me. There was garbage lapping up with the waves onto shore. Instead of the speckle of sea shells it was the glisten of plastic. There was enough that even if our whole group of 16 each filled up an industrial trash bag we would have barely made a dent.
As a girl who grew up by the ocean, pretending or rather wishing to be a mermaid to swim with the sea otters and turtles, the news greatly saddened me. I mean, I for one cried during Planet Earth on multiple separate occasions with the human-caused death of animals. I know however that I am more emotional than most. But what would a world be without beautiful beach days with the sightings of dolphins and the salt-crusted skin of a day well spent.
Could you imagine or even stand the thought of the death of a turtle being your fault or that your plastic bag was the direct cause? I know it is dramatic and a bit over the top but just attempting to be over the top for effect.
As always with these articles there are plenty of thins we can do. If you go to National Geographic you can see the list of plastic-free pledges you can take. For starters, if you would like to subscribe to National Geographic you can do so for as little as $12 and they will send you a re-usable bag. I keep several in the car at all times and haven’t actually received a plastic bag from a store in four months, the cheapest ones are typically at your local grocery store; I purchased mine for $0.89/bag.
That was the easiest switch I made. There are other things as well such as not using the single-use straws at restaurants (I have not gotten the hang of this one yet) however there are also re-usable straws you can purchase (here is where:Amazon, Sand Cloud, Final Straw ). I have gotten the hang of bringing my own coffee mug places though so no single-use cups there!
Anyhow, there are so many ways to reduce your negative impact on the animals in our oceans and even those here on shore. Just be conscious of your impact, and move with me to a better tomorrow.