The appalling evidence mounts. A new scientific study urges that our omnipresent plastic debris - 280 million tons produced last year, less than half recycled, 370 species suffering its effects and another possible 33 billion tons produced by 2050 - be declared "hazardous." You think? Another report from the U.N. and World Health Organization says over 800 man-made chemicals, including BPA, found in everyday products, including plastic, are becoming “a global threat that needs to be resolved,” with widespread resulting health problems. All this, ahead of Midway, an extraordinary, Kickstarter-funded film by photographer Chris Jordan that documents the deaths of tens of thousands of baby Laysan Albatrosses each year on the Pacific Island of Midway Atoll - over 2,000 miles from the nearest continent - from ingesting plastic from the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," a massive floating island of waste plastic. Devastating trailer, both elegy and warning.
For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth. Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.