Our big, blue planet is facing a major threat — plastic waste. Entire islands of plastic waste are swirling around in gyres all over the world. Plastic pollution kills millions of fishes and other marine animals every year, contributing significantly to fish population declines. Yet, billions of people around the world rely on seafood for nutrition and their livelihoods. And even worse, plastic doesn’t go away. It breaks down into micro plastics eaten by fish and ultimately us. There’s still so much we can do, though!

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Ocean Pollution Explained

The environmental news outlet Eco Watch illustrates the causes, impacts and inspiring solutions to our global plastic problem.

National Geographic explains What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? and includes different versions, including one for 4th graders.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published A Visual Guide to Plastic in the Ocean, which shows how common plastics end up in the ocean.

Scientists at the world-respected Monterey Bay Aquarium explain the basic lifecycle of plastics, how they get in our oceans, why they are so toxic and what we can do to stop it. 

Let’s see where that plastic bottle you discarded today will be in 20 years! The Ocean Cleanup has a Plastic Tracker map. Enter your location and it will show you the bottle’s probable fate. 

Can you imagine islands of garbage with the combined size of India, Europe and Mexico, floating in our ocean? See up-to-date satellite details on the location and size of plastic garbage islands.

Balloons? Plastic Bottles? Learn what common plastics items are the mostly deadly to sea turtles, birds and mammals according to the Ocean Conservancy.Learn why micro plastics are the main source of ocean pollution in this report from the Ocean Blue Project.

Individual Action

NPR’s Life Kit podcast explains The Plastic Problem Isn’t Your Fault, But You Can Be Part of The Solution.

Want to stop plastic polluting the oceans? Stop eating fish. Fishing nets are clogging up oceans and the insides of marine life. 

National Geographic Kids shows how small steps in your everyday life can make a big impact. See their 10 tips to reduce plastic pollution

If you live in North America, learn what’s exactly recyclable in your area through the extensive How2recycle database. 

Choose to eat fish that is good for you and the ocean – sustainable. Use the SeafoodWatch.com database from the experts at the world-leading Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Straws kill thousands of turtles, albatross and fish every year. But, do you even really need a straw? Join the Ocean Conservancy campaign and pledge to Skip The Straw

Instead of Google, use the Ocean Hero browser. So far, they’ve helped communities around the world remove 19,526,856 bottles from the ocean…and counting.

Community Action

No matter where you live, Volunteering to help rid your local beach or waterway of plastic debris is easier than ever through these organizations: 

Volunteer with Plastic Oceans. Their education and advocacy projects create healthier, sustainable, plastic free communities around the globe. 

Be part of World Ocean Day on June 8, 2022. Learn how to plan a World Ocean Day event in your community or at your school.  

Join the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup to keep beaches, waterways and the ocean trash free. Download their free Clean Swell app, and document the trash you collect.

Create your own cleanup at a beach near you. Get started with these 8 Steps to Safely Conduct a Solo or Small Cleanup

Become a citizen scientist and help create Ocean Cleanup’s global plastic pollution map. Download the survey app and share details of plastic pollution wherever you live.

Youth Action

Teens Turning Green activates young people around plastic pollution solutions with their Project Green Challenge.

Become an Ocean Hero and join other youth activists around the world leading campaigns to heal our oceans. Join the Ocean Heroes Network virtual and in-person Bootcamp.

Be inspired and learn how to apply your skills for a future with clean seas. Download Ocean Heroes new online magazine, OH-WAKE, created by youth activists around the world. 

Join World Ocean Day’s 2022 Youth MovementSubscribe to receive the monthly Rising Blue Network Newsletter!

Hopeful News

The Hollywood Reporter reports how the nonprofit, Habits of Waste, has recruited a handful of directors to join its effort to replace throw-away plastics with reusables in TV and film.

Forbes considers the investment opportunities for circular plastic technologies in their article, Solutions To The Plastic Pollution Crisis Will Drive The Next Wave Of Climate-Tech Innovation.

The World Wildlife Fund Launches Activation Hub to Help Prevent 10 Million Metric Tons of Global Plastic Waste. 

Global Citizen reports on How A Groundbreaking Sailboat Is Clearing Plastic from the Oceans

The  Cayman Compass interviews Caymanian environmental activist Dejea Lyons about being chosen as one of six young editors of global magazine OH-WAKE. 

British rock band Coldplay joins the Ocean Cleanup’s mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, by supporting a 100% solar powered vessel designed to collect plastic in the world riverways.

Patagonia and Bureo Are Making Jackets Out of Old Fishing Nets, Treehugger reports.

Alarming News

More than 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises die from entanglement in fishing gear every year, WWF explains in their article Plastic pollution is killing sea turtles: Here’s how.

Groundbreaking online media publication, Salon, details Harrowing report on plastic pollution says we have 29 years to save the ocean.  

Fast Company reports on a new study that finds There are thousands more toxic chemicals in plastic than we thought.

Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell volunteers logged 107,219 items of personal protective equipment (PPE) removed from beaches and waterways worldwide in second half of 2020.

The Revelator, an online news and ideas initiative of the Center for Biological Diversity, on just how dangerous PFAS chemicals travel ocean currents, and harm wildlife and human life.

Takeaway food and drink litter dominates ocean plastic, study shows, the Guardian reports. New research shows that just 10 plastic products make up 75% of all plastics in the world’s oceans.

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Plastic Alternatives

It’s easier than ever to find alternatives to plastic. Here are some ideas: 

Everyday Items: 

Ditch single-use and reuse, reuse, reuse. Sustainable products company, Eartheasy, describes the best, long-lasting alternatives to everyday plastic items.

Kitchen:

From beeswax to bamboo and silicone to stainless steel, Real Simple Magazine has 24 Smart Products to Help You Go Plastic-Free in the Kitchen.

It’s easy to make your own plastic wrap alternative. Learn how with Good Housekeeping magazine’s How to Make DIY Beeswax Food Wraps for a Plastic-Free Kitchen.

Bathroom: 

Plastic dominates most personal care items from shampoo bottles to toothpaste tubes. Earth911, explains Sustainable Personal Care Products for an Earth-Friendly Bathroom.

Bamboo Electric Toothbrush 

Laundry:

Leading sustainability-focused site, Treehugger, shows you how to Ditch the Laundry Jugs and Go Plastic-Free and even how to make your own detergent.

Grocery Shopping:

Sustainable lifestyle site, One Green Planet, shows how to avoid plastic packaging in their Simple Guide to Waste-Free Grocery Shopping.

Restaurants:

Whether you’re taking home leftovers from your restaurant meal or getting your favorite food as takeout, Ethical Foods has reusable, eco-friendly suggestions to plastic take-out.

Future Alternatives:

Have your packaging and eat it too? Many companies are working on fully compostable and sometimes edible packaging. Eartheasy details the new, natural wrappers.

Truth on Some Alternatives:

Just because it says it’s a plastic alternative doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better for the environment. Understand The False Promise of Bioplastics and Compostable Plastics.

Educational Resources

Plastic Oceans’ Rethink.Refill. campaign empowers students and communities to prevent over 10 million plastic bottles from entering the environment by the end of 2022.

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.’s Ocean Portal Educators’ Corner provides engaging activities, lessons and vivid resources that bring the ocean to life.

Books

Youth activist Hannah Testa, the founder of Hannah4Change, chronicles both her personal and political mission to save the Earth’s oceans by limiting single-use plastic products.

“Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans”  inspires readers and was written Great Pacific Garbage Patch’s scientific discoverer. 

“Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution” is a beautifully illustrated survey of the plastics clogging our seas, and their impacts on wildlife and people around the world.

“How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time” is a straightforward guide to eliminating plastic from your life. 

“Simply Sustainable: Moving Toward Plastic-Free, Low-Waste Living” by author Lily Cameron shows you how to break your plastic habit with simple, actionable steps.

Who Cares Wins: Reasons for Optimism in a Changing World” by Lily Cole shows how every one of us has the power to help create a better world.

Children's Books

“The Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle” is a picture book for ages 3-5 where Myrtle the Turtle discovers the harm plastic pollution causes to sea life and the importance of recycling.

“Saving Tally: An Adventure into the Great Pacific Plastic Patch” is a book for ages 3-12 where Tally, a turtle, and her friend Ara, a lobster, realize the dangers of living in an plastic-filled ocean.

“Harry Saves The Ocean!: Teaching children about plastic pollution and recycling” is a picture book for ages 1-6 that teaches kids about the problem with plastic pollution and how to help.

Films

“Seaspiracy”, which has drawn considerable controversy, investigates the effects of plastic marine debris and overfishing around the world.

“The Story of Plastic” exposes the sources of our plastic crisis – first world countries and the petrochemical companies. Its website also provides educational materials for schools. 

“Plastic China” is a documentary story of poverty, ambition and hope as director Jiu-ling Wang portrays life in one Chinese town entirely dedicated to recycling of First World plastic waste. 

“Earth’s Ekko” is a fun film and interactive website for kids and stars cartoon character Ekko, a sea creature who has lived in the ocean for millions of years. 

“A Plastic Ocean” is an epic global adventure following a filmmaker and a world record free diver as they travel the earth discovering the shocking impact plastic is having on our oceans.

“Not Disposable” is a three-part series of short episodes hosted on the Only.One Platform featuring communities and leaders from around the world fighting to stop plastic pollution.

Podcasts

Ocean Conservancy has developed an incredible podcast recommendation list: 11 Ocean Podcasts to Transport You Underneath the Waves

In “Plastisphere: A podcast on plastic pollution in the environment”, follow international environment science journalist Anja Krieger on a journey into the world of synthetic polymers.

Zero Waste Lifestyle activist, Laura Nash, interviews a Tasmanian marine researcher about how ocean animals eat plastic and the impact on human diets in “Plastic and Marine Life.”

The Cool Facts About Animals Podcast’s episode How Kids Can Stop Plastic Pollution discusses how much plastic is in the ocean, why that’s a problem for animals, what you can do, and more! 

“The Indisposable Podcast” celebrates solutions to plastic pollution and features eco activists, and is produced by Upstream, a public-interest, NGO working towards a zero-waste world.

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Credits

Movie Credits

The Blob. (1958 )This movie has become a cult classic.
Directed By: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. and Russell S. Doughten Jr.
Sony Pictures Television
Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

A Plastic Ocean Official Trailer (2016)
Director: Craig Leeson
Plastic Oceans Foundation

Garbage Waves’: Trash covers water at beach in Dominican Republic (2018)
KTSM 9 NEWS
Nexstar Inc. 

How We Can Keep Plastics Out of Our Ocean (2016)
National Geographic

 

Music Credits

The Main Title aka Jaws Movie Theme Song (1975)
Writer /Performer: John Williams

Jaws: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Universal Music Group

Image Credits: NASA – James Webb Telescope

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Some have called the ocean the heart of planet Earth. Our oceans support all life on Earth thanks to the immense amount of oxygen marine plants contribute to our atmosphere. In fact, The ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 50 times more global warming-causing carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. But based on how badly we’re neglecting ocean health, it would seem as though none of this matters. Acting now, we can still work together to protect our oceans!

This is a love revolution. Everything is possible.

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