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Disturbing Images Expose the Horrific Impact of Plastic Trash on Marine Animals
Beijing-based graphic designer Christian Waters was on a snorkeling trip in Mabul Island in Malaysia with his girlfriend when they saw something that ruined this otherwise idyllic vacation.
"The island is full of plastic garbage and trash," Waters, 23, told EcoWatch. "So it's like seeing this beautiful, beautiful landscape with oceans, blue sky, green foothills, but when we got closer to the island you see floating trash and debris around. It really just took you out of the moment."
Indeed, plastic is everywhere, and it's clogging our oceans. About 8 million metric tons of plastic waste is dumped into the world’s oceans every year, and all marine life—from tiny plankton to giant whales—have to live in it.
Waters' Malaysia trip last year became the inspiration for his "Price of Convenience Ad Campaign," a striking portfolio project that highlights the devastation of plastic trash and other litter on sea life.
Another source of inspiration? That horrific viral video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nose.
"It really hit hard," the Pennsylvania-native said about the graphic footage.
He said that his images, which were assembled using Photoshop, follow the simple-yet-impactful designs and advertisements from organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). (These images, however, are not part of an advertising campaign for the WWF, but for Waters' own design portfolio.)
"I don't really gain any profit off this," he said about his project. "The only profit I want is to create awareness and educate people so we can have a better chance of giving them a better chance of survival," in reference to marine life that's choking on ocean debris.
The collection has received a lot of attention since hitting the web earlier this month. Waters said he wants to use the recent attention to spread more awareness about pressing issues such as ocean litter, instead of what a Kardashian family member might be doing this week, for instance.
He told EcoWatch he intends to use the trade of design as "a weapon to educate and bring awareness to things that are left in the dark."
"Whether a teacher wants to teach a class on the problems of pollution, or a small organization that wants to create awareness, I'm all for it," he said.
As for living in the notoriously polluted Chinese capital, he said that the city's plastic footprint is "huge."
"One of the things that I've noticed about Beijing is that tap water is undrinkable—you have to boil it first," Waters said. "Plastic bottles of water is like highly relied on. A lot of people have water dispensers with huge plastic jugs, so there's no in-home recycling in Beijing. But we have started implementing recycling outside of homes."
Although Waters' posters were created using Photoshop, the images he created isn't far from the truth. Ocean debris is being found in the guts of many creatures. A recent study found that if we keep dumping plastic at the rates we are now, nearly 100 percent of seabirds will have the material in their stomachs by 2050.
Check out this photo below:
Photo credit: Chris Jordan
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If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›