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Why People Are Eating Their Own Trash

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Francesca Koe

Used with permission of NRDC - Switchboard

You've heard the saying "you are what you eat" before. Whether you've heard it from your mom or your doctor or a yoga-practicing friend, the saying actually originates from a French philosopher in the 1800s who didn't intend for it to be taken so literally. Then back in 1942, nutritionist Victor Lindlahr published a book called You Are What You Eat: How to Win and Keep Health with Diet.

Many years before Lindlahr published his book, he would tout the phrase on a radio show that he hosted in the late 1930s. These seem to be the earliest vehicles that drove the phrase into our public consciousness in the U.S. Fast-forward many decades later and the literal meaning has manifested itself in a very unappetizing way—people are eating their own trash.

Why are people eating their own trash? This infographic from the students over at MastersDegree.net illustrates how pervasive the problem is and how we've quickly cooked up a recipe for disaster.

Since fish supply the greatest percentage of the world's protein consumed by humans, it's imperative that we recognize the need to keep our oceans healthy and the marine food web clean.

What can you do to help?

The good news is that we can all do a little something, and when we do it together we can create a sea of change. Here are five simple things everyone can do to take action and bring us closer to trash-free seas.

  1. Tap it—Drink tap water from a reusable bottle.
  2. Can it—Use a trash can with a lid.
  3. Demand it—Write your legislators asking for ocean policies that address ocean trash.
  4. Reuse it—Take a canvas, reusable shopping bag for groceries, picnics and more.
  5. Remove it—Organize a clean-up of your local rivers, streams and beaches.

Visit EcoWatch's BIODIVERSITY, WATER and FOOD pages for more related news on these topics.

 

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