One of my favorite Chinese proverbs is “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  

Seabird smothering in oil, on the beach of East Grand Terre Island.

Seabird smothering in oil, on the beach of East Grand Terre Island.

It does not at all reduce the power of the maxim to acknowledge that it was coined by Frederick R. Barnard, a New York advertising manager looking to attract clients to his agency in 1921, and not by Confucius. 

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PLASTIKI AHOY

I’m blogging today from atop a pile of junk floating in Apia harbor.  Really.

Of course, the pile of junk has been painstakingly crafted into the form of a 60-foot catamaran named the Plastiki.  Made of approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles, the boat is sailing from San Francisco to Sydney – over a route of more than 11,000 nautical miles – to focus attention on the huge amount of waste that we humans dump into the oceans.

The Plastiki leaving San Francisco.

The Plastiki leaving San Francisco.

Of particular concern are single-use plastic bags, single-use water bottles, and polystyrene foam products in the form of disposable food serviceware and packaging.  Such items are manufactured and then tossed away in immense quantities.  In the U.S. alone, for example, an estimated 100 billion plastic bags are used – and discarded – every year.

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