plastic oceans

Cleaning beaches with blockchain.

Almost 8 billion tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year. To help fight it, The Plastic Bank began offering people in developing countries incentives like basic necessities and mobile phone charging in exchange for recycling plastic. As the program grew in popularity, they needed a way to scale their incentive system in an accessible and economically-friendly way. That’s when they turned to IBM Blockchain. Learn how we worked together to help turn plastic into a currency for change.

See how they do it ->

If you care about the the oceans and all the life therein or if you are more self-centered, maybe just like seafood, pay attention!

How did that get there? Plastic chunks on Arctic ice show how far pollution has spread

A British-led expedition has discovered sizeable chunks of polystyrene lying on remote frozen ice floes in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.

The depressing find, only 1,000 miles from the north pole, is the first made in an area that was previously inaccessible to scientists because of sea ice. It is one of the most northerly sightings of such detritus in the world’s oceans, which are increasingly polluted by plastics.

Estimates suggest that there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating on the surface of the world’s oceans. It has been claimed that there is now enough plastic to form a permanent layer in the fossil record. Dr Ceri Lewis, scientific adviser to the expedition based at the University of Exeter, has previously warned that people produce around 300 million tons of plastic a year, roughly the same weight as all the humans on the planet. Around half of all plastic produced is used once and then thrown away.

A significant concern is that large plastic pieces can break down into “microplastics– tiny particles that are accidentally consumed by filter-feeding animals. The particles remain in animals’ bodies and are passed up the food chain, threatening wildlife at all levels from zooplankton to apex predators such as polar bears. In an attempt to gauge the presence of microplastics in Arctic waters, the scientists intend to test samples of seawater they collected in nets with holes smaller than a millimetre across.

Plastic pollution on an ice floe in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Photograph: Conor McDonnell

npr.org
Guess What's Showing Up In Our Shellfish? One Word: Plastics
Scientists predict that plastic in the ocean will eventually outweigh the fish there. Where is it all coming from? And is it making our food unsafe? Researchers are trying to find the answers.

“When you eat clams and oysters, you’re eating plastics as well,” says shellfish biologist Sarah Dudas.

In 2016, she and her students at Vancouver Island University planted thousands of clams and oysters across coastal British Columbia and let them soak in the sand and saltwater of the Strait of Georgia. Three months later, they dissolved hundreds of them with chemicals, filtered out the biodegradable matter and looked at the remaining material under a microscope. Inside this Pacific Northwest culinary staple, they found a rainbow of little plastic particles.

washingtonpost.com
France becomes the first country to ban plastic plates and cutlery
The ban, to take effect in 2020, is part of a program aimed at making France a model for reducing environmental waste.

Another great step in the right direction to reduce single-use plastics and plastic pollution in the ocean!

7 Underwater Facts for World Oceans Day

Today is World Oceans Day, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. A healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Together, let’s honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans!

1. While the Earth’s oceans are known as five separate entities, there is really only one ocean.

2. The ocean contains upwards of 99% of the world’s biosphere, that is, the spaces and places where life exists.

Both above GIFs are from the TED-Ed Lesson How big is the ocean? - Scott Gass

Animation by 20 steps

3. Jellyfish are soft because they are 95% water and are mostly made of a translucent gel-like substance called mesoglea. With such delicate bodies, jellyfish rely on thousands of venom-containing stinging cells called cnidocytes for protection and prey capture.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How does a jellyfish sting? - Neosha S Kashef

Animation by Cinematic

4. Plastics & litter that make their way into our oceans are swiftly carried by currents, ultimately winding up in huge circulating ocean systems called gyres. The earth has five gyres that act as gathering points, but the largest of all is known as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ and has grown so immense that the oceanic garbage patch can shift from around the size of Texas, to something the size of the United States. 

From the TED-Ed Lesson The nurdles’ quest for ocean domination - Kim Preshoff

Animation by Reflective Films

5. The 200 or so species of octopuses are mollusks belonging to the order Cephalopoda, Greek for ‘head-feet’. Those heads contain impressively large brains, with a brain to body ratio similar to that of other intelligent animals, and a complex nervous system with about as many neurons as that of a dog.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why the octopus brain is so extraordinary - Cláudio L. Guerra

Animation by Cinematic

6. Some lucky animals are naturally endowed with bioluminescence, or the ability to create light. The firefly, the anglerfish, and a few more surprising creatures use this ability in many ways, including survival, hunting, and mating.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The brilliance of bioluminescence - Leslie Kenna

Animation by Cinematic

7. Sea turtles ultimately grow from the size of a dinner plate to that of a dinner table. In the case of the leatherback sea turtle, this can take up to a decade. Happy World Turtle Day!

From the TED-Ed Lesson The survival of the sea turtle - Scott Gass

Animation by Cinematic Sweden

Why Should I Care For the Oceans?

We’ve all heard it:

“Why does it matter if we overfish tuna? It tastes so good!”

“If the oceans dried up tomorrow, why would I care? I live 500miles away from any body of water!”

The thing is, without the oceans, we would all be dead. Our planet would probably look like Mars. There would be no freshwater, no food for us to eat, no suitable climate for us to survive.

(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Whether you live by the coast, or only see the ocean once a year on holiday, the ocean has an impact on your life. Every breath you take, every food or drinks you have… is thanks to our oceans. Every single individual and living being on this planet is deeply connected, and extremely dependent upon our seas.

The oceans regulates climate, weather, and temperature. They act as carbon dioxide ‘sinks’ from the atmosphere. They hold 97% of the Earth’s water. They govern our Earth’s chemistry; all the microbes and microscopic organisms at the very bottom of the food chain support our own existence. The oceans are also crucial for our economies, health and security.

(Photo credit: Brian Skerry)

The past generations have been raised with the idea that the ocean is huge (and it is) and resilient, and that we could basically take from or put into the oceans as much as we wanted. Now, we found out that we cant go on this way. This mentality is part of our problem and it needs to change.

While we have made tremendous discoveries about the oceans over the last few decades, we have also caused more destruction to the sea than ever before. Many fisheries stocks are overfished, catastrophic fishing techniques are destroying the habitats and depleting populations, many marine species are on the verge of extinction, coral reefs are dying, pollution run-offs from agricultural farms are creating dead-zones where nothing can grow or live, millions of gallons of oil have devastated the Gulf of Mexico, bigger and faster container ships create noise pollution for marine mammals and endangers them…The list goes on, and on. We have had so much impact that we have actually changed the pH of the oceans! 

Pretty overwhelming, uh? 

So yes, you should care, because if the oceans crash, we as a species are crashing with them. The entire planet Earth will be gone. And if that’s not enough of a wake-up call for you, I don’t know what else could be!

While all the current marine conservation issues appear huge and insurmountable, there is still hope. Each individual can make a difference now. YOU can make better choices about which fish to consume (or not at all!) and ask about the way they were caught or raised, YOU can encourage sustainable fishing practices, YOU can decide not to use fertilizer or pesticides in your backyard, YOU can bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store and stop using plastics, YOU can stop using products with microbeads, YOU can participate in beach clean-ups, YOU can start your own research and discover even more awesome things about the oceans… YOU can spread the word to your skeptic friends! Have people follow in your footsteps; inspire your friends and family. Be the change :) !

(Photo source: Flickr)

“If you want to have an impact on history and help secure a better future for all that you care about, be alive now” - Sylvia Earle

theguardian.com
We could end up with 'as much plastic in our oceans as fish'

The head of Ocean Conservancy says a burgeoning middle class and low recycling rates could lead to not-even-remotely-acceptable levels of trash washed out to sea.

Yikes! How scary is that? Everybody can make little changes in their daily lives to reduce the amount of plastic they use. Here are a few tips that I’ve covered on the blog:

- What YOU can do to reduce the use of plastic, and that includes recycling, bringing reusable totes and produce bags to the store, drinking from a reusable water bottle, and participate in beach clean-ups!

- Avoid purchasing products that contain microplastics. Microplastic particles and microbeads are most often made of Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and Nylon. PE and PP are the most common found in cosmetics and bath products.

- Avoid releasing plastic balloons and lanterns

- Feature on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and what is being done about it

For every pound of tuna we fish from of the ocean, we are now putting back two pounds of plastic. This is a transfer ratio that we cannot continue to sustain.
—  UCSB marine scientist Douglas McCauley
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I’m a scary gargoyle on a tower
That you made with plastic power
Your rhinestone eyes are like factories far away

2D - [x]

Photographer - Ariadne

Editing- [x]

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Important message from Mermaid Kelly: Ariel is swimming by to encourage you to help protect her home. Even though she collects human “treasures”, other sea creatures and marine life become injured or even die because of human trash, including thousands of sea turtles, whales, and over one million seabirds each year. All of this trash can harm & entangle fish, sharks, and damages coral reefs. In the Pacific Ocean there is even a huge area called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” This is a large area filled with debris, approximately the size of Texas. The debris extend down 20 feet & contains 3.5 million tons of garbage. It is estimated to double size in the next 5 years. A marine biologist & ocean activist, Sylvia A. Earle once stated “If the ocean dies, we die.” Without the ocean, we can’t survive. Around 50% of the oxygen we breath comes from phytoplankton in the ocean. Many Ocean Activists have already taken action to preserve these creatures and our home, now it’s your turn! You can start taking the steps to helping all of the life in the ocean by using fewer plastic products, recycling, doing local beach/ river clean ups, support local organizations working to protect the ocean, influence change in your local community, but most importantly, educate yourself on the ocean & how to protect it.
This video is also up on my Mermaid Kelly YouTube channel as well! Feel free to share the message and video~
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/PY5tR8E8sZk