Plastics PostScript

“A thing’s greatest weakness
is also its greatest strength.”

~ Horrorshow (reworked)

So I freaked myself out with last week’s post. I had a dream where I visited the future.

Took a drive and found myself airborne over Seattle. We flew higher and higher and I was feeling greener and greener…

I cast a glance over my shoulder through the rear windscreen. There, in the process of construction, snaked a giant coastal fortress made entirely of rubbish.

“Holy crap,” I thought, “we’re living in Wall-E!!”

Wall E

It’s almost the sequel to a dream I had 18 years ago.

My family were shipwrecked at sea. The lone survivor, I was washed up in the year 2020 where everything moved at warp speed – even the garbage collection, which was taken up by little men in green spacesuits, running around with industrial sized wheelie bins!

It’s frightening living in my brain. I promise after this I’ll stop talking rubbish 😉

But a couple of things were brought to my attention this week that I had to share.

First, the ugly beautiful.

Chris Jordan, the filmmaker of the shocking albatross story, is also an artist. He’s created an amazing series of images that put into perspective the  “increasingly enormous, incomprehensible and overwhelming” reality of our collective existence. Check it out – it’ll blow your mind! Thanks Sean Bidd for the share 🙂

Second, the plastic fantastic.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Valerie Davies pointed me to a man in Japan who has invented a “plastic-to-oil-fantastic” solution to all the non-recyclable plastics we consume. Just check out this video (thanks, Valerie!):

“The home is the oil field of the future.”

~ Akinori Ito

With incredible simplicity, this man has put a solution within reach of all us little people. Together with Boyan Slat’s ocean hoover, and our own efforts to reduce plastic usage, change suddenly seems infinitely more achievable.

I think I’m on the verge of doing something drastic. Like selling the car to buy one of these oil making machines (as of last update, the cost was $12,700 US).

We already have the answers to all the world’s problems. As some of you pointed out, what’s missing is the awareness and, quite possibly, the will. But maybe with one, comes the other – and when that happens…

Butterfly Nebula

Butterfly Nebula – image source NASA

…shine, shine, dead star shine.

~ Horrorshow

Think I’ve done my dash with horror stories for this month! I’m changing my fortnightly schedule to continue from this week, as I’ll be caught up with family commitments on the off weekends.

So, until next time, have a Happy Halloween!


  1. says

    In your flying over Seattle dream, did you happen to see me down there, sitting in an all day long traffic jam, cursing the circumstances that put me to living in this wretched, wretched place??

  2. says

    Is Seattle particularly garbage-ridden? I’ve only spent time in the suburban areas, for the most part, even though one of my closest friends lives there, so that is useful to know. 🙂 Or perhaps that was just the 2020 Seattle of your dream. Anyway, the plastic-to-oil video is definitely inspiring to me.

  3. Catherine Johnson says

    That video is awesome. Great lesson in looking after our planet. It is great that he took the machine to countries that don’t have the recycling bins habit that we are used to.

  4. says

    hello, Alarna… ahaha, you have such a wild imagination, would think a bit before getting inside your tumultuous but poetic brain, hehe. btw, i love how you put things here, the solutions being in the problems. industrial wastes are such that even non-industrial countries like ours produce trash and toxins by the tons each day… not many are concerned, that’s the sad part… 🙂

    • says

      It’s only going to get harder for us to ignore, I think. In the meantime, I’m going to try to put this tumultuous brain of mine to use and do something. Not sure exactly what yet… 😉

      • says

        ahaha, you think so? how about, people’s ability to ignore would improve? hehe. am bad… hey, i could say the same for myself, buddy. have the rest of the week good, Alarna. wishing you well… 🙂

  5. says

    A-Ha Alarna – are you going home to learn to grow organic vegetables !!!
    Great that you ran that video, and thanks for giving me a mention…
    Hope all goes well, Valerie

  6. says

    Alarna, I just love your commitment to the environment. It’s heart-breaking to see what is happening to our planet. What I worry about now is the huge amount of radio-active waste coming from Japan from the earthquake disaster that happened last year. it’s on it’s way through the Pacific and headed to the west coast of Canada, the United States (where I live) and the Hawaiian Islands amongst others. If you look on the internet, it has already reached Vancouver, Canada and has killed the fish. U.N. reports that this nuclear disaster is 100 times worse than Chernobyl, Russia and will take about 140 years to clean up. Great. Oh yes, I am full of wonderful news. So you know, I am looking for a higher power to fix this mess because the officials do not know what to do about it. Oh, I also talked to a Commercial fisherman, and he said do not eat Bluefin Tuna anymore. Especially Pacific Bluefin. Can you say, Radioactive? Yikes! Have you heard anything about this in your neck of the woods? 🙂

  7. says

    Hi Alarna,

    Great post.

    So how do we move forward? You have rightly spoken of awareness. Yes, this is needed and this then needs to be used to fuel intention.

    There are so many technologies available in the world to “solve all problems”. But it all boils down to commercial viability for that is the single-most important mantra adopted by industry. It may just be that the plastic to oil machine may suffer because of this.So we come back again to the question, ‘What is the way forward?’ I would say that the criteria used to evaluate corporate performance needs to have a sea change.


    • says

      You’re quite right, Shakti. I have been wondering the same thing – I think the plastic-to-oil machine is great in countries where this sort of thing is not strongly monitored or controlled by corporate interests, and people have a use for the unprocessed oil it produces. I’m slowly investigating its viability in places like Australia, because the issue would be what to do with the oil once converted. If there was somewhere to take it for processing, then great. I was interested to see there is a commercial operation of this kind in Maryland . I’d love to think local government could get behind this kind of thing…


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