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Midway Tragedy

The cliché “out of sight, out of mind” is  the only suitable expression I can find to describe the horrible complacency many of us fall into over topics such as environment. We all know that to affect impactful, positive change for our planet we have to sacrifice in a way that we will never benefit from in our lifetimes. But our children and their children will. It’s really like unconditional love.

I am sitting at my desk by the window looking out onto the park from the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? 3rd floor corporate office. It is spring and across the road the cherry blossoms are a deep and pretty pink and the verdant, hilly park beckons runners with their dogs. The scene is welcoming, clean, tidy…

It is raining, a typical Vancouver afternoon, which you expect could only heighten the colour and freshness of spring. But my heart is heavy. I am thinking of a CBC program about a documentary being made on Midway Island. It is being filmed now by Vancouver photographer, Chris Jordan. And when it is released, we can only hope it becomes Epic. Because Epic may be the very least we need to get people to change. I’m talking about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, twice the size of Texas, that is floating out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We’ve written about garbage island on this blog before.

Now, this documentary will show how the plastic mass is leading to the deaths of thousands of beautiful Albatrosses. There are 500,000 nesting pairs of Albatrosses on Midway Atoll, a tiny circle of coral reefs and islands comprising no more than 5 square kilometres. By the way, 110,000 of that population was also recently wiped out by waves from the Japan tsunami.

The pictures say it all. Basically this blog post is done. But in case you wondered, the Albatross, a very large bird, flies up to 1000 kilometres away to search for food for their young. Whether by accident or intentionally, the Albatross ingests numerous plastic items, which are then regurgitated into the babies throats. The tiny birds cannot survive once their tummies are full of indigestible plastic and they starve to death. Read the Midway Journey blog here.

Many efforts have been started to address the garbage island issue, but to my knowledge, the project is so huge that none have gotten off the ground. What will it take? Some experts say it’s too late to clean up the garbage patch. But we can increase awareness about littering and excessive use of plastics for a start, which is why I’m writing this post. Please, read what you can about the upcoming documentary, Midway Journey, and garbage island itself. Share as much as you can with your network of friends and family. And consider…2 Million plastic bottles are dumped every 5 minutes

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Tania Venn is Director, PR for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. Her other responsibilities include leading the PR team for WOW 1Day! Painting and You Move Me. In her spare time Tania enjoys the outdoors, hiking in summer and skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Tania can be found on Google+ and LinkedIn.