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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For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
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