If You're a Wetass, You Should Care About the Oceans

The Pacific Garbage Patch is just nasty; here are a few ways we can clean up the mess.

We all love to sail and spend time on the oceans. We love to look at crazy videos of kiteboarders doing 50-plus knots in ditches, and read about eccentric misanthropes who take to the oceans in seek of adventure. But sometimes I wonder if we all care enough, or do enough, to protect the oceans that provide all this wetass amusement. I'm pretty sure the answer is we don’t, since the oceans are in pretty bad shape.

I started thinking about this again recently, after coming across a story about a voyage into the Pacific trash vortex. You've no doubt heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that vast area of accumulated human crap that gets trapped in the North Pacific Gyre. How many times have you gone sailing past garbage, or some incongruous piece of plastic that has made its way to sea, and felt a flick of annoyance and sadness? Well, the Pacific Garbage Patch is that experience on steroids.

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I was glad to read that there is a group of determined dreamers who aim to do something about marine debris. But aside from making sure I throw my beer cans into the recycling bin when I get back from sailing, I have to admit that I haven't done much to save the oceans. So I started surfing around the web, and there is plenty of graphic evidence that we are trashing the oceans far beyond littering. This looks bad (try to ignore the tone, and the description of the human race as a "virus," and concentrate on the images):

This does too (ignore the tone on this one, too, unless you’d like to take a nap, but the science is important):

I know, I know. It’s all so depressing, and doing anything about it seems overwhelming. That’s true. But so what? You don’t need to solve any one of these problems on your own. Instead, just do a little something, anything, that will make a small drop of difference. (If you're already doing that, thanks very much. Now see if you can do a little bit more.)

I'm pretty sure you're already not eating shark-fin soup. But there are tons of ways you can be helpful. No doubt you have your favorites, or can find your own campaigns, but the folks at the Oceanic Preservation Society, makers of "The Cove," have lots of ideas. And our buddies over at Plastiki also have you covered, especially if you want to stop mainlining plastic, which somehow always ends up in the seas.

Okay, that’s enough sincerity and seriousness from me. I’ll get back to sailing craziness soon enough. But this does matter. If sailors aren’t in the front ranks when it comes to caring about the oceans, we’ll all end up playing video games. And that would really suck.

Here's one final take on why it matters (and spend some time on this YouTube playlist as well: