Far from sight, floating like some foul human excrement in the midst of our virgin blue ocean, a nightmarish conglomeration of plastic crap is growing at an exponential rate; water bottles, fast food toys, ice chests, used prophylactics, grocery store bags, disposable diapers and the occasional random appliance, offer a testament to human ignorance.
The country-sized flotilla of garbage, otherwise known as as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, was once thought to be roughly the size of Texas. Today that’s changed. Now more robust in nature, the floating trash heap has grown to be twice the size of the entire United States, featuring no discernible landmasses and her own plastic shoreline.
Within each Great Garbage Patch (one in the eastern Pacific and one in the Western Pacific) is a floating time bomb loaded with toxic remnants of human ingenuity and industrialism. These dystopic man-made islands of trash offer nothing to their visitors but death, petulance, and plastic as far as the eye can see. Creating a floating nightmare of epic proportions that’s so overwhelming and disheartening it’s become accepted as an ugly and essential truth of modern living.
The plastic nightmare began for the human race in 1862, when Alexander Parkes invented a biodegradable cellulose-based material. By 1907 the synthetic era of plastics were introduced to the modern world; telephones, kitchen appliances, costume jewelry and toys were mass-produced by this new petroleum-based product.
The plastic industry is highly secretive and largely unregulated. Much of the production process for the creation of plastics is considered “proprietary” and has therefore remained completely shrouded in mystery. Meanwhile, the plastics industry maintains strong ties with the energy sectors – using approximately 4% of the globe’s annual crude oil in the production of today’s plastic products.
Currently, there is no national or international governing body that has a say on how plastics are made or sold, and the industry operates with near impunity. When looking at society, it may seem as if there is no escape from our plastic world, or the ultimate toll they are taking on our environment.
Fortunately for the human race, the hemp plant provides a fiscally responsible and environmentally feasible option to today’s ocean clogging plastics. Providing an excellent alternative to petroleum derived plastics, the hemp plant is completely biodegradable and is non-psychoactive. Despite the plants benign nature, growing hemp in the United States remains a somewhat dicey proposition. Pushing aside the rampant fear fostered by political disinformation, over the last 5 years, the idea of American farmers cultivating industrial hemp has begun to catch fire. Potentially igniting the economic future of agriculturally dependent states, while at the same time providing relief for landfills and oceans around the globe.
(Photo Courtesy of NOAA)
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