Posted by: johnnydogmatic | March 8, 2010

One picture


by John Humphreys

The Audubon Magazine is one of my favorite reads – I love birds and, in fact, all wildlife, and their back page is always an arresting photograph. Often funny, or simply beautiful…but  this month’s is a horror story (http://www.audubonmagazine.org/onepicture/onepicture1003.html).

It is of a fledgling albatross – from a species already fighting for survival because of longline fishing dragging individuals to a watery grave. We killed this one even sooner. It choked to death…or, in fact, even worse…its stomach and intestines were full of plastic. All the garbage that civilized man discards…ending up in the Pacific Ocean for the bird’s parents to feed their chick on.

You will have read of the huge amounts of plastic waste afloat in our oceans (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8534052.stm). We do not just “throw away” something. It does not GO away.  It drifts through our rivers and streams and drains until a turtle or bird chokes to death on it.

Many people, including Laura Bush, are campaigning on this issue (see http://www.plasticsnews.com/blog/2007/11/laura_bush_speaks_on_plastics.html)…

…but we have a long way to go before, once more,  God’s proudest birds can fly the oceans free of care.

*Humphreys is a biochemist working in pharmaceutical software. He has been mad about natural history since the age of 5 and is an ardent conservationist and pragmatic environmentalist.

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