Tag Archives: 5 gyres

Engaging and Spreading Awareness

All we can hope for is that people become conscious of their actions.

I haven't seen much activity on the "Take the Pledge" comments section, but am just starting out don't really know what to expect with this, either. Here's another plastic reduction promise I came across when browsing the 5 gyres website.


I promise to:

•Bring my own water bottle, mug, utensils and reusable bag.

•Say ‘No Plastic Straw Please” when I dine out.

•Buy what’s in the least amount of plastic packaging.

•Pick up 5 pieces of plastic pollution I see littered whenever I’m out.

•Engage family, businesses and co-workers to make this promise too.

This is a great list, as it tackles the most common plastic encounters (scary!), and asks that you engage family and friends.

Engaging others brings amazing results. Some people are really interested and are immediately more conscious of all their plastic consumption. Others laugh it off, which isn't demotivating to me or anything, but does make me wonder what the underlying cause of this anti plastic insecurity is.

One of my co workers, let's just give him a cool name like Valdez, who knows that I'm doing the Year Without Plastic blatantly used 3 plastic cups yesterday for water at lunch. He remarked that because the cups were so small, he had to return and get a new one, twice. I think he was just pushing my limits to see how I would react. I asked him pretty calmly if he really thought it was necessary, and he shrugged off the question. Regardless of the outcome, I am sure he thought twice about the actions. I on the other hand asked the bartender for a glass instead of a cup and avoided an entry into the Plog.

We must take the extra step to make ourselves (and others) conscious of their actions. Don't overdo it until you have no friends (I think I still have a few), but find the right mix of logic, guilt and leading by example that works for you. Here in the US, the results of using or not using a sustainable resource are never going to be right in front of our faces. Companies make sure that we feel comfortable and at ease when buying their products, and they will go to great financial and moral lengths to do whatever is necessary, to make sure we don't second guess that all important purchase (the recent BP oil spill cover up using Corexit comes to mind). It's when we forget there's a problem that we slip into the habits of our throw away society.


Plastic Pollution in the Great Lakes and the Fight Against Corporations

Plastic is not just invading our oceans, but is finding it's way to our fresh water lakes as well. One recent discovery made by the 5 Gyres Institute in Lake Erie found more than 450,000 micro polyethylene beads per square kilometer. Please excuse my switching from mile to KM in these articles. We are going through a transition here in the US to the metric system, and it's one of the most difficult things I've ever done.

The amazing thing about this discovery and the 5 Gyres Institute? The findings lead the institute to launch a massive grassroots campaign asking producers of these products (personal care products which contain plastic beads as an exfoliant) to eliminate plastic micro-beads in favor of natural alternatives.

"After reporting their scientific findings to companies that utilize micro-beads, the 5 Gyres Insitute has won several key victories that will help protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, The Body Shop and Colgate-Palmolive have all pledged to remove these synthetic beads from their products by 2015. The 5 Gyres Institute has also received a pledge from Proctor & Gamble to phase out these beads by 2017, but the campaigning for an earlier phase-out continues." – http://ecowatch.com/2013/5-gyres-sets-sail-study-plastic-pollution-lake-michigan/

This is awesome! Corporations are paying attention to their findings and the grassroots campaigns. Here's a blog update from the 5 Gyres celebrating Victory #2 against Johnson & Johnson: http://5gyres.org/posts/2013/06/04/victory_2/ – Johnson & Johnson will phase out the use of plastic micro-beads.

Check out this video the 5 Gyres Institute put together. Over the course of four weeks, students and researchers lived and worked aboard a 200 year old sailing ship, conducting surface trawls and beach transects. They made the startling discovery that plastic pollution is not limited to our oceans: 5 Gyres Institute video