Notes from Seattle: The Journey of Junk

An epic journey is currently underway in the Pacific Ocean. Two men, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and researcher/filmmaker Joel Paschal, are sailing on a 2,100-mile journey (roughly 3,380 kilometers) from Los Angeles, California, to Hawaii. While this may not exactly sound like an unheard-of voyage, consider the fact that the vessel they are sailing is made of an old airplane body tied down to a raft floating on pontoons made of 15,000 used plastic bottles — aptly named „Junk.“

This adventure is being supported by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF), who’s goal is to raise awareness about the incredible amount of petroleum-based plastic polluting our seas. The amount of plastic debris currently floating in the world’s oceans is approximated to be 3.5 millions tons, and growing each day (have you ever heard of the „Great Pacific Garbage Patch“?).

As of yesterday, the activists had 999 miles to go before reaching Hawaii. Their adventure is being shared via the JUNK blog. Captain Eriksen shares this thought: „We’re shooting ourselves in the foot with this disposable culture. We use these things once and throw them away, but there is no such thing as ‚away.‘ Where is ‚away?'“

You can help by supporting Junk’s adventure, or simply by choosing to carry a reusable bottle and bag with you. While it is not always possible to bring water with you wherever you go (here in Seattle, sporting events and concerts are well known for not allowing outside beverages inside), there are less harmful alternatives available. Products such as Primo bottled water are packaged in material made from corn, rather than petroleum, and can be either recycled or commercially composted. Why not suggest products like these when you see vendors making profits off of plastic?

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