(First written 5/3/07)
First, some definitions:
- Plastic: any of various organic [ie carbon-based] compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes or drawn into filaments used as textile fibers.
- Global Warming: That portion of climate change attributable to the burning of fossil fuels and release of industrial pollutants by humanity.
- Synergism: the working together of two things to produce something that is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
An article in today’s Independent will make you blanche. It describes how wildlife filmmaker Rebecca Hosking found hundreds of albatross chicks dying on a remote Hawaiian atoll amid a sea of plastic rubbish. “It was impossible to walk in a straight line without standing on them – the dead chicks were everywhere,” she said. The cause of death was plastic. In the course of an hour Hosking and a colleague picked up, among other things, 400 cigarette lighters and 800 toothbrushes.The female albatrosses fly up to 2,000 miles to forage and bring back food for their chicks. They pick up colourful objects on the water and later feed them their offspring. The nestlings’ stomachs fill up with plastic and they then die of dehydration and starvation. Returning home, Hosking has become a leader in the battle against the scourge of plastic products that litter the world and the devastating effect they have on the environment.
Elsewhere, today’s news announces that the Arctic Ice is melting much faster than forecast and, amid growing concern about climate change, a raft of alternative energy initiatives are gaining priority all across the globe.
So, maybe the world’s wildlife will benefit from synergism as humanity’s fear of climate change lead it to end its dependency on carbon fuels at the same time as it reduces the unnecessary and excessive production of ubiquitous deadly plastics made from oil.