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!

Message in a Bottle

“Why move through the oceans
if the oceans can move through you?”

~ Boyan Slat

Mantaray

‘Manta Ray Cleaning Station’ courtesy NOAA’s National Ocean Service

A few months ago I clicked on a YouTube link that said “this film should be seen by the entire world!”

Yeah, right. I thought. Which twerk is it this time?

But, for once, the claim was true. If you haven’t already, please watch it. I don’t care if it gives you nightmares, because WE ALL DID THIS.

The images from that video have been burned in my brain, suffocating me (and no doubt the million other viewers) with despair because I can’t do a thing about it.

Or so I thought.

Luckily, someone much cleverer than I am is working on a solution Right Now.

Watch this TEDx talk and tell me you’re not blown away by the simplicity of an idea that began with one small admission:

“It will be very hard to convince everyone in the world to handle their plastics responsibly, but what we humans are very good at, is inventing technical solutions to our problems.”

What that reads to me is:

Let’s just admit we’re not going to change (this century), and find another way until we do…

Bottle

‘Why’ courtesy Andrea Zanivan

Inside the shell of memory
I hear
The squalling of the ocean
And the sound of
Hope on our horizon
Washing out to sea.

What’s the message
In the bottle
She would send to me?

She giveth and
She taketh away
And somewhere
Out of sight and mind
There lies an answer
Buried in the bellies
Of our shame.

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
And everything returns
From whence it came.

Deliverance.

Follow the current
And we find
The sirens’ call is not
The journey’s end.

What price – Hope?
What cost – Dreams?

Surrender.

Not to what we should be
But to what it is we are.
Nine tenths of reality.
Could change be
As simple as
The turning of the tide
Of what we see?

Sure, there are the critics out there who say this just won’t work. But the best ideas always sound far fetched – until they do. Does that mean we shouldn’t even ask ‘What if’?

“We created this mess. Heck, we even invented this new material [plastic] before we made this mess! So please. Don’t tell me we can’t clean this up. Together.”

~ Boyan Slat
19 yo Aerospace Engineering Student

Tell me, what do you hear? Naivety? Arrogance? Or possibility?

Life is a Dance

There’s a lot being said lately about the end of the world as we know it.  We all feel it – from the economy to the Antarctic, a world on the edge of meltdown.

It’s almost reassuring to flirt with the idea that the Mayans might be right about The End.  How good would that be?  No Christmas, no New Year’s resolutions to be broken, no more difficult life changing decisions to be made.  Most importantly, no more fear, uncertainty or guilt.

I wonder.  What is it about doomsday prophecies that find us a little unhinged?

Near where I live, there’s a place I like to go and walk.  In many ways, it’s an unremarkable beach in what was once a working class village on the ‘wrong’ side of town.

But at a certain spot, it’s possible to pause and look across the bay, and imagine you are standing on the edge of the world.

No people in sight.

Altona Panorama

It’s like your brain opens up, and all of a sudden, you can breathe again.

In those moments, when it’s all stripped back and there’s nothing but you and the swans who’ve come to nurse their young, you remember.

This tired earth on which we stand – it all comes back to her.

Earth.  Water.  Fire.  Air.

In the flurry of our busy, elaborate lives, sometimes we forget how much we are in need of her.

Need is not a word we like to use.  It connotes weakness.  Dependency.  Responsibility.  It frightens us.

It means there’s a chance we could get hurt.

But it’s also the moment when we acknowledge we can no longer take her for granted.

When we see we have a role to play.

When change and renewal can begin.

Manly

Doomsday prophecies offer freedom.  But they also suggest things may be out of balance, and perhaps we are to blame.  In the words of Buffy’s sister, Dawn…

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”

– (Once More with Feeling, 2001).

As we approach holiday season, and if life as we know it doesn’t end on 21 December, this is the perfect time to begin anew.

To remember the loved ones whom we take for granted.

To breathe in the air, and thank the earth for what she gives.

To see ourselves as one among the elements.  And remember our steps in this dance we call Life.

Do you have any plans to get away this Christmas?  What will you be doing to recharge?