zaterdag 31 oktober 2009
De NRC bericht:
Oliemaatschappijen snijden in kosten
ExxonMobil is lang het doelmatigheidsmodel voor de olie-industrie geweest en heeft op dat terrein nog steeds een aanzienlijke voorsprong. Maar concurrenten als Shell, BP en anderen haasten zich om de kloof te dichten met behulp van geloofwaardiger saneringsprogramma’s en een steviger kostendiscipline, zoals blijkt uit de cijfers over het derde kwartaal. Maar ze hebben nog een lange weg te gaan.
Door dit alles verkeert Exxon in een benijdenswaardige positie en de concurrentie heeft daar nota van genomen. Shell is bezig met een eigen afslankoperatie, waardoor de operationele kosten dit jaar tot nu toe met 1 miljard dollar zijn afgenomen. En er volgt nog meer.
Ik citeer: 'doelmatigheidsmodel... geloofwaardiger saneringsprogramma’s... steviger kostendiscipline... benijdenswaardige positie... eigen afslankoperatie.' De taal van Aliza Rosenbaum van de NRC.
Dit schreef John Berger over 'the dealers of the Free Market and their corollary, the Mafia': 'they now have the world in their pocket. They have. But to maintain their confidence they have to change the meaning of all the words used in languages to explain or praise or give value to life: every word, according to them now, is the servant of profit. And so they have become dumb. Or, rather, they can no longer speak any truth. Their language is too withered for that. As a consequence they have also lost the faculty of memory. A loss which one day will be fatal.'
Feiten in een wereld vol 'doelmatigheidsmodellen... geloofwaardigere saneringsprogramma’s... stevigere kostendisciplines... benijdenswaardige posities... eigen afslankoperaties.'
‘All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.' Thus said Chief Seattle.
The Washington Post of yesterday. ‘Bad news for Rep. Charles Rangel, the powerful Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee: The Washington Post obtained a copy of a House document showing that seven members of the House appropriations subcommittee in charge of military spending -- almost half of the panel's members -- are being investigated in an expanded probe focused on a once-influential lobbying firm called the PMA Group that exploited its close ties to lawmakers to win earmarks for clients.’
About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes. Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five.
The global economic crisis has caused a spike in world hunger that has left more than a billion undernourished, United Nations agencies said in a new report.
The report says the stabilization of financial markets has meant less investment in agriculture, food distribution.
"It is unacceptable in the 21st century that almost one in six of the world's population is now going hungry," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme.
"At a time when there are more hungry people in the world than ever before, there is less food aid than we have seen in living memory."
Global Military Spending.
Worldwide military expenditure in 2008 totaled an estimated $1,464 billion, this represents an increase of 4 per cent in real terms compared to 2007, and an increase of 45 per cent since 1999. Military expenditure comprised approximately 2.4 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008. All regions and sub-regions have seen significant increases since 1999.
The USA accounted for the majority (58%) of the global increase between 1999 and 2008, with its military spending growing by $219 billion in constant 2005 prices over the period. China and Russia, with absolute increases of $42 billion and $24 billion respectively, both nearly tripled their military expenditure over the decade. Other regional powers - particularly India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Brazil, South Korea, Algeria and Britain - also made substantial contributions to the total increase. "The idea of the 'war on terror' has encouraged many countries to see their problems through a highly militarized lens, using this to justify high military spending," comments Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Head of the Military Expenditure Project at SIPRI. "Meanwhile, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $903 billion in additional military spending by the USA alone." Global military expenditure set new record in 2008, says SIPRI, 8 June 2009.
Every 8 seconds a child somewhere in the world is dying from drinking contaminated water.
Global Military Spending.
Every minute someone in the world dies from a gun. And for every person killed, three are shot and are seriously injured.
World Military Expenditures rose to US $2,000,000 every single minute in 2006.
In the 3 minutes I am allowed to speak here 6 million dollar has disappeared in the pockets of the weapon producers, and in the same time 22 children have died because of this.
The engine of life is linkage. Everything is linked. Nothing is self sufficient. Sharing is everything. If we don’t share we will destroy ourselves.
80 percent of the mineral wealth on earth is consumed by 20 percent of the world’s population.
Water shortages can affect nearly 2 billion people before 2025.
Half the world’s poor live in resource-rich countries.
In 50 years the gap between rich and poor has doubled.
Today, half the world’s wealth is in the hands of the richest 2 percent of the population.
The arctic ice cap is melting. Under the effect of global warming the ice cap has lost 40 percent of its thickness in 40 years and the warming process gathers pace.
And in the meantime our model doensn’t change.
Since 1950 the world population has almost tripled.
Around the North Pole the ice cap has lost 30 percent of its surface area in 30 years.
Our ecosystem doensn’t have borders. Wherever we are, our actions have repercussions on the whole earth. Our planet’s atmosphere is an indivisble whole. It is an asset we share.
1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water.
40 percent of arable land has suffered long-term damage.
Every year 13 million hectares of forest disappear.
Species are dying out at a rythm 1000 times faster than the natural rate.
‘Continue to contaminate your own bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.’ Chief Seattle.
Met andere woorden, 11 dagen nadat Obama als president was aangetreden, werd hij genomineerd als kandidaat voor de Nobelprijs voor de Vrede. Wat heeft hij in de 11 dagen dan gedaan om kandidaat te kunnen worden? Niets toch, behalve vlotte babbels. Nogmaals, bestaat Obama eigenlijk wel? Of is alles nu marketing geworden? Kennelijk kun je door goede marketing zowel president worden van het zwaarst bewapende land ter wereld als de Nobelprijs voor niets krijgen. Het is allemaal een kwestie van marketing, het product goed in de markt zetten en de rest volgt dan vanzelf. Maar eerst dus alle tandjes op een rijtje.
Kijkt u eens goed naar deze foto hierboven. Er klopt iets niet aan dit hoofd. Ziet u het? Meer daarover later.
Ziet u het? Die tanden, die zijn nep, ze zijn gecapt, ze zijn te perfect. Dit soort tanden bestaan in werkelijkheid niet.
Cees Maas (ex-ING) deed twee domme dingen
Hoe kon ING zo diep vallen? Cees Maas, oud-topman van ING, wijt alles aan irrationaliteit op de beurs. Echter, onderzoek naar de crisis van 2007-9 laat zien dat de bliksem van de beurs niet zomaar inslaat, maar alleen treft wanneer een bedrijf roekeloze risico’s heeft genomen. Een fatsoenlijke bank trekt geld aan van rekeninghouders en spaarders, belegt een deel daarvan in superveilige staatsschuld van het thuisland, houdt een klein deel in contanten voor de geldautomaat (en voor de clearing met de andere banken), en verstrekt zorgvuldig hypotheken en andere leningen met het geld dat dan nog over blijft.
Nu ING. De organische groei was misschien goed genoeg voor de Boerenleenbank, maar niet voor Maas en zijn dynamische collega’s. Om hun strategisch vernuft te onderstrepen, bouwden ze eerst een bijou van een hoofdkantoor. Daarna gingen ze zo goedkoop mogelijk extra lenen om met dat geld extra te kunnen beleggen. ING putte in de markt voor Commercial Paper, eigenlijk bedoeld voor werkkapitaal van grote, solide ondernemingen als Unilever, die zo onder hun eigen naam goedkoper kort kunnen financieren dan met bankkrediet.
Dat was een dubbelfout van ING. Eén: commerciële banken horen te groeien in lijn met hun klanten en niet excessief te gokken met geleend geld. Twee: het is roekeloos om zeer langlopende hypotheken te financieren met geleend geld dat elke paar maanden weer opnieuw moet worden geleend van beleggingsfondsen die voor hun klanten geen enkel risico willen lopen.
Onderzoekers aan Columbia University hebben een studie gedaan naar banken zoals ING die sneller wilden groeien dan de aanwas van hun rekeninghouders en daarvoor gingen lenen in de markt voor Commercial Paper (zie Acharya & Schnabl, 2009). ING zit in de categorie ‘tamelijk hoge risico’s’ en Fortis nam ‘erg hoge risico’s’.
Oud-minister (Volksgezondheid, LPF). Decaan en hoogleraar Economie aan de Nottingham University Business School in Maleisië.
Welnu, duidelijk is dat Wilders onder andere door de joodse lobby wordt gefinancierd. Daniel Pipes is een van de spreekbuizen van die lobby:
The Lobby also monitors what professors write and teach. In September 2002, Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neo-conservatives, established a website (Campus Watch) that posted dossiers on suspect academics and encouraged students to report remarks or behaviour that might be considered hostile to Israel. This transparent attempt to blacklist and intimidate scholars provoked a harsh reaction and Pipes and Kramer later removed the dossiers, but the website still invites students to report ‘anti-Israel’ activity.
Talks Capt. Charles Moore on the seas of plastic
Across the Pacific Ocean, Plastics, Plastics, Everywhere
CHARLES MOORE / Natural History v.112, n.9, Nov03
[More on plastic in the ocean]
Bottle caps and other plastic objects are visible inside the decomposed carcass of this Laysan albatross on Kure Atoll, which lies in a remote and virtually uninhabited region of the North Pacific. The bird probably mistook the plastics for food and ingested them while foraging for prey.
It was on our way home, after finishing the Los Angeles-to-Hawaii sail race known as the Transpac, that my crew and I first caught sight of the trash, floating in one of the most remote regions of all the oceans. I had entered my cutter-rigged research vessel, Alguita, an aluminum-hulled catamaran, in the race to test a new mast. AlthoughAlguita was built for research trawling, she was also a smart sailor, and she fit into the "cruising class" of boats that regularly enter the race. We did well, hitting a top speed of twenty knots under sail and winning a trophy for finishing in third place.
Throughout the race our strategy, like that of every other boat in the race, had been mainly to avoid the North Pacific subtropical gyre-the great high-pressure system in the central Pacific Ocean that, most of the time, is centered just north of the racecourse and halfway between Hawaii and the mainland. But after our success with the race we were feeling mellow and unhurried, and our vessel was equipped with auxiliary twin diesels and carried an extra supply of fuel. So on the way back to our home port in Long Beach, California, we decided to take a shortcut through the gyre, which few seafarers ever cross. Fishermen shun it because its waters lack the nutrients to support an abundant catch. Sailors dodge it because it lacks the wind to propel their sailboats.
I often struggle to find words that will communicate the vastness of the Pacific Ocean to people who have never been to sea. Day after day, Alguita was the only vehicle on a highway without landmarks, stretching from horizon to horizon. Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic.
It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world's leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the "eastern garbage patch." But "patch" doesn't begin to convey the reality. Ebbesmeyer has estimated that the area, nearly covered with floating plastic debris, is roughly the size of Texas.
My interest in marine debris did not begin with my crossing of the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Voyaging in the Pacific has been part of my life since earliest childhood. In fifty-odd years as a deckhand, stock tender, able seaman, and now captain, I became increasingly alarmed by the growth in plastic debris I was seeing. But the floating plastics in the gyre galvanized my interest.
I did a quick calculation, estimating the debris at half a pound for every hundred square meters of sea surface. Multiplied by the circular area defined by
our roughly thousand-mile course through the gyre, the weight of the debris was about 3 million tons, comparable to a year's deposition at Puente Hills, Los Angeles's largest landfill. I resolved to return someday to test my alarming estimate.
Historically, the kind of drastic accumulation I encountered is a brand-new kind of despoilment. Trash has always been tossed into the seas, but it has been broken down in a fairly short time into carbon dioxide and water by marine microorganisms. Now, however, in the quest for lightweight but durable means of storing goods, we have created a class of products—plastics—that defeat even the most creative and voracious bacteria.
Unlike many discarded materials, most plastics in common use do not biodegrade. Instead they "photodegrade," a process whereby sunlight breaks them into progressively smaller pieces, all of which are still plastic polymers. In fact, the degradation eventually yields individual molecules of plastic, but these are still too tough for most anything—even such indiscriminate consumers as bacteria—to digest. And for the past fifty years or so, plastics that have made their way into the Pacific Ocean have been fragmenting and accumulating as a kind of swirling sewer in the North Pacific subtropical gyre.
It surprised me that the debris problem in the gyre had not already been looked at more closely by the scientific community. In fact, only recently starting in the early 1990s—has the scientific community begun to focus attention on the trash in the gyre. One of the first investigators to study the problem was W James Ingraham Jr., an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Seattle. Ingraham's Ocean Surface Current Simulator (OSCURS) predicts that objects reaching this area might revolve around in it for sixteen years or more [below].
Ocean Surface Current Simulator (OSCURS) model developed by W James Ingraham Jr., an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicts the trajectory of drift originating along the coasts of the North Pacific rim. Drift from Japan is shown in red; drift from the United States, in blue. The diagrams show the position of drift after 183 days (left), three years (center), and ten years (right).
A year after my sobering voyage, I asked Steven B. Weisberg, director of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project and an expert in marine environmental monitoring, to help me make a more rigorous estimate of the extent of the debris in the subtropical gyre. Weisberg's group had already published an article on the debris they had collected in fish trawls of the Southern California Bight, a region along the Pacific coast extending a hundred miles both north and south of Los Angeles. As I discussed the design plan for our survey with Weisberg's statisticians, Molly K. Leecaster and Shelly L. Moore, it became apparent that we were facing a new problem. In the coastal ocean, bodies of water are naturally defined, in part, by the coasts they lie against. In the open ocean, however, bodies of water are bounded by atmospheric pressure systems and the currents those systems create. In other words, air, not land, defines the body of water. Because air pressure systems move, the body of water we wanted to survey would be moving as well. A random sample of a moving area such as the gyre would have to be done quite differently from the way Weisberg's group had conducted their survey along the Pacific coast.
Currents in the North Pacific move in a clockwise spiral, or gyre, which tends to trap debris originating from sources along the North Pacific rim. Plastics and other waste have accumulated in the region, which includes the foraging areas of Pacific bird colonies, such as that of the Tern Island albatross, shown in blue, and that of the Guadalupe Island albatross, shown in green.
The gyre we planned to survey is one of the largest ocean realms on Earth, and one of five major subtropical gyres on the planet. Each subtropical gyre is created by mountainous flows of air moving from the tropics toward the polar regions. The air in the North Pacific subtropical gyre is heated at the equator and rises high into the atmosphere because of its buoyancy in cooler, surrounding air masses. The rotation of the Earth on its axis moves the heated air mass westward as it rises, then eastward once it cools and descends at around 30 degrees north latitude, creating a huge, clockwise-rotating mass of air [see map at right].
The rotating air mass creates a high-pressure system throughout the region. Those high pressures depress the ocean surface, and the rotating air mass also drives a slow but oceanic-scale surface current that moves with the air in a clockwise spiral. Winds near the center of the high are light or even calm, and so they do not mix the floating debris into the water column. This huge region, what I call a "gentle maelstrom," has become an accumulator of debris from innumerable sources along the North Pacific rim, as well as from ships at sea.
The subtropical gyres are also oceanic deserts in fact, many of the world's land-based deserts lie at nearly the same latitudes as the oceanic gyres. Like their terrestrial counterparts, the oceanic deserts are low in biomass. On land the low biomass is caused by the lack of moisture; in oceanic deserts the low biomass is a consequence of great ocean depths.
In coastal areas and shallow seas, winds and waves constantly stir up and recycle nutrients, increasing the biomass of the food web. In the deep oceans, though, such forces have no effect; the bottom sequesters the nutrient-rich residue of millions of years of near-surface photosynthetic production, as well as the decomposed fragments of life in the sea, trapping them miles below the surface. Hence the major source of food for the web of life in deep ocean areas is photosynthesis.
But even in the clear waters that prevail in the subtropical gyres, photosynthesis is confined to the top of the water column. Sunlight attenuates rapidly with depth, and by the time it has gone only about 5 percent of the way to the bottom, the light is too weak to fuel marine plants. The net effect is a vast area poor in resources, an effect that makes itself felt throughout the food web. Top predators, such as tuna and other commercially viable fish don't hang out in the gyres because the density of prey is so low. The human predator stays away too: the resources that have drawn entrepreneurs and scientists alike to various regions of the ocean are not present in the subtropical gyres.
What does exist in the gyres is a great variety of filter-feeding organisms that prey on the ever-renewed crop of tiny plants, or phytoplankton. Each day the phytoplankton grow in the sunlit part of the water, and each night they are consumed by the filter feeders, a fantastic array of alien-looking animals called zooplankton. The zooplankton include chordate jellyfishes known as "salps," which are among the fastest-growing multicellular organisms on the planet. By fashioning their bodies into pulsating tubes, the salps are able, each day, to filter half the water column they inhabit, drawing out the phytoplankton and smaller zooplankton for food. But salps are gelatinous creatures with a low biomass, and so there is no market for them, either. Hence the realm they dominate, one of the largest uniform habitats on the planet, remains unexploited and largely unexplored.
Leecaster, Moore, and I came up with a plan to make a series of trawls with a surface plankton net, along paths within a circle with a 564-mile radius. The area of the circle would then be almost exactly 1 million square miles. Trawling would start when we estimated we were under the central pressure cell of the high-pressure system that creates the gyre. We would regard the starting point as the easternmost point along the circumference of the circle. Then we would proceed due west to the center of the circle, turn south, and sail back to the southernmost point on the circumference, alternating between trawling and cruising. We intended to obtain transect samples with random lengths and random spacing between trawls. To be conservative about our sampling technique, we decided that any debris we collected would count only as a sample of the debris within the area of the transected circle.
In August 1998 1 set out with a four-member volunteer crew from Point Conception, California . heading northwest toward the subtropical gyre. Onboard Alguita was a manta trawl, an apparatus resembling a manta ray with wings and a broad mouth, which skimmed the ocean surface trailing a net with a fine mesh. Eight days out of port, the wind dropped below ten knots and we decided to practice our manta trawling technique, taking a sample at the edge of the subtropical gyre, about 800 miles offshore. We pulled in the manta after trawling three and a half miles.
What we saw amazed us. We were looking at a rich broth of minute sea creatures mixed with hundreds of colored plastic fragments-a plastic-plankton soup. The easy pickings energized all of us, and soon we began sampling in earnest. Because plankton move up and down in the water column each day, we needed to trawl nonstop, day and night, to get representative samples. When we encountered the light winds typical of the subtropical gyre, we deployed the manta outside the port wake, along with two other kinds of nets. Each net caught plenty of debris, but far and away the most productive trawl was the manta.
There was plenty of larger debris in our path as well, which the crew members retrieved with an inflatable dingy In the end, we took about a ton of this debris on board. The items included
- a drum of hazardous chemicals;
- an inflated volleyball, half covered in goose-neck barnacles;
- a plastic coat hanger with a swivel hook;
- a cathode-ray tube for a nineteen-inch TV;
- an inflated truck tire mounted on a steel rim;
- numerous plastic, and some glass, fishing floats;
- a gallon bleach bottle that was so brittle it crumbled in our hands; and
- a menacing medusa of tangled net lines and hawsers that we hung from the A-frame of our catamaran and named Polly P, for the polypropylene lines that made up its bulk.
In 2001, in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, we published the results of our survey and the analysis we had made of the debris, reporting, among other things, that there are six pounds of plastic floating in the North Pacific subtropical gyre for every pound of naturally occurring zooplankton. Our readers were as shocked as we were when we saw the yield of our first trawl. Since then we have returned to the area twice to continue documenting the phenomenon. During the latest trip, in the summer of 2002, our photographers captured underwater images of jellyfish hopelessly entangled in frayed lines, and transparent filter feeding organisms with colored plastic fragments in their bellies.
Entanglement and indigestion, however, are not the worst problems caused by the ubiquitous plastic pollution. Hideshige Takada, an environmental geochemist at Tokyo University, and his colleagues have discovered that floating plastic fragments accumulate hydrophobic-that is, non-water-soluble-toxic chemicals. Plastic polymers, it turns out, are sponges for DDT, PCBs, and other oily pollutants. The Japanese investigators found that plastic resin pellets concentrate such poisons to levels as high as a million times their concentrations in the water as free-floating substances.
The potential scope of the problem is staggering. Every year some 5.5 quadrillion (5.5 x 1015) plastic pellets—about 250 billion pounds of them—are produced worldwide for use in the manufacture of plastic products. When those pellets or products degrade, break into fragments, and disperse, the pieces may also become concentrators and transporters of toxic chemicals in the marine environment. Thus an astronomical number of vectors for some of the most toxic pollutants known are being released into an ecosystem dominated by the most efficient natural vacuum cleaners nature ever invented: the jellies and salps living in the ocean. After those organisms ingest the toxins, they are eaten in turn by fish, and so the poisons pass into the food web that leads, in some cases, to human beings. Farmers can grow pesticide-free organic produce, but can nature still produce a pollutant-free organic fish? After what I have seen first hand in the Pacific, I have my doubts.
Many people have seen photographs of seals trapped in nets or choked by plastic six-pack rings, or sea turtles feeding on plastic shopping bags, but the poster child for the consumption of pelagic plastic debris has to be the Laysan albatross. The plastic gadgets one typically finds in the stomach of the bird-whose range encompasses the remote, virtually uninhabited region around the northwest Hawaiian Islands-could stock the checkout counter at a convenience store. My analysis of the stomach contents of birds from two colonies of Laysan albatrosses that nest and feed in divergent areas of the North Pacific [see map above] show differences in the types of plastic they eat. I believe those differences reveal something about the way plastic is transported and breaks down in the ocean.
On Midway Island in the Hawaiian chain, a bolus, or mass of chewed food, coughed up by one bird included many identifiable objects. By contrast, a bird on Guadalupe Island, which lies 150 miles off the coast of Baja California, produced a bolus containing only plastic fragments. The principal natural prey of both bird colonies is squid, but as the ecologist Carl Safina notes in his book Eye of the Albatross, the birds' foraging style can be described as "better full than fussy." Robert W Henry III, a biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his colleagues have tracked both the Hawaiian and the Guadalupe populations of birds and found that the foraging areas of each colony in the Pacific are generally nonoverlapping and wide apart.
One difference between the two areas is apparently the way debris flows into them. In Ingraham's OSCURS model, debris from the coast of Japan reaches the foraging area of the Hawaiian birds within a year. Debris from the West Coast of the United States, however, sticks close to the coast until it bypasses the foraging area of the Guadalupe birds, then heads westward to Asia, not to return for six years or more. The lengthy passage seems to give the plastic debris time to break into fragments.
The subtropical gyres of the world are part of the deep ocean realm, whose ability to absorb, hide, and recycle refuse has long been seen as limitless. That ecologically sound image, however, was born in an era devoid of petroleumbased plastic polymers. Yet the many benefits of modern society's productivity have made nearly all of us hopelessly, and to a large degree rationally, addicted to plastic. Many, if not most, of the products we use daily contain or are contained by plastic. Plastic wraps, packaging, and even clothing defeat air and moisture and so defeat bacterial and oxidative decay. Plastic is ubiquitous precisely because it is so good at preventing nature from robbing us of our hardearned goods through incessant decay.
But the plastic polymers commonly used in consumer products, even as single molecules of plastic, are indigestible by any known organism. Even those single molecules must be further degraded by sunlight or slow oxidative breakdown before their constituents can be recycled into the building blocks of life. There is no data on how long such recycling takes in the ocean-some ecologists have made estimates of 500 years or more. Even more ominously, no one knows the ultimate consequences of the worldwide dispersion of plastic fragments that can concentrate the toxic chemicals already present in the world's oceans.
Ironically, the debris is re-entering the oceans whence it came; the ancient plankton that once floated on Earth's primordial sea gave rise to the petroleum now being transformed into plastic polymers. That exhumed life, our "civilized plankton," is, in effect, competing with its natural counterparts, as well as with those life-forms that directly or indirectly feed on them.
And the scale of the phenomenon is astounding. I now believe plastic debris to be the most common surface feature of the world's oceans. Because 40 percent of the oceans are classified as subtropical gyres, a fourth of the planet's surface area has become an accumulator of floating plastic debris. What can be done with this new class of products made specifically to defeat natural recycling? How can the dictum "In ecosystems, everything is used" be made to work with plastic?
Plastic Turning Vast Area of Ocean into Ecological Nightmare
CHARLES MOORE / Santa Barbara News-Press 27oct02
[More on plastic in the ocean]
An albatross carcass shows how much plastic the great birds can ingest from the Pacific Ocean.
There is a large part of the central Pacific Ocean that no one ever visits and only a few ever pass through. Sailors avoid it like the plague for it lacks the wind they need to sail Fishermen leave it alone because its lack of nutrients makes it an oceanic desert
Charles Moore, captain of the private research vessel Alguita
Photo: RICK RICKMAN—MATRIX FOR USN&WR
This area includes the "horse latitudes," where stock transporters in the age of sail got stuck, ran out of food and water, and had to jettison their horses and other livestock Surprisingly, this is the largest ocean realm on our planet, being about the size of Africa—over 10 million square miles.
A huge mountain of air, which has been heated at the equator, and then begins descending in a gentle clockwise rotation as it approaches the North Pole, creates this ocean realm.
The circular winds produce circular ocean currents that spiral into a center where there is a slight down-welling Scientists know this atmospheric phenomenon as the subtropical high, and the ocean current it creates as the north Pacific central or sub-tropical gyre.
Because of the stability of this gentle maelstrom, the largest uniform climatic feature on Earth is also an accumulator of the debris of civilization. Anything that floats, no matter where it comes from on the north Pacific Rim or ocean, ends up here, sometimes after drifting around the periphery for 12 years or more.
Historically, this debris did not accumulate because it was eventually broken down by microorganisms into carbon dioxide and water. Now, however, in our battle to store goods against natural deterioration, we have created a class of products that defeats even the most creative and insidious bacteria. They are plastics.
Plastics are now virtually everywhere in our modern society. We drink out of them, eat off of them, sit on them - even drive in them. They're durable, lightweight, cheap and can be made into virtually anything But it is these useful properties of plastics that make them so harmful when they end up in the environment
Plastics, like diamonds, are forever.
If plastic doesn't biodegrade, what does it do? It photo-degrades - a process in which it is broken down by sunlight into smaller and smaller pieces, all of which are still plastic polymers, eventually becoming individual molecules of plastic, still too tough for anything to digest
For the last 50-odd years, every piece of plastic that has made it from our shores to the Pacific Ocean has been breaking down and accumulating in the central Pacific gyre. Oceanographers like Curtis Ebbesmeyer, the world's leading flotsam expert, refer to it as the great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The problem is that it is not a patch, it's the size of a continent, and it's filling up with floating plastic waste. My research has documented 6 pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton in this area.
My latest three-month round-trip research voyage, to be completed in Santa Barbara this week, got closer to the center of the garbage patch than before and found levels of plastic fragments that were far higher for hundreds of miles.
We spent weeks documenting the effects of what amounts to floating plastic sand of all sizes on the creatures that inhabit this area Our photographers captured images of jellyfish hopelessly entangled in frayed line, and transparent filter feeding organisms with colorful plastic fragments in their bellies.
As we drifted in the center of this system, doing underwater photography day and night, we began to realize what was happening A paper plate thrown overboard just stayed with us; there was no wind or current to move it away. This is where all those things that wash down rivers to the sea end up.
Sometimes, the central cell of this system drifts down over the Hawaiian Islands. That is when Waimanalo Beach on Oahu gets coated with blue-green plastic sand. Farther to the northwest, at the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, monk seals, the most endangered mammal species in the United States, get entangled in debris, especially cheap plastic nets lost or discarded by the fishing industry.
Ninety percent of Hawaiian green sea turtles nest here and eat the debris, mistaking it for their natural food, as do laysan and black-footed albatross. Indeed, the stomach contents of laysan albatross look like the cigarette lighter shelf at a convenience store they contain so many of them.
It's not just entanglement and indigestion that are the problem, however. There is a darker side to plastic fragment pollution. As these fragments float around in the ocean, they accumulate the poisons we manufacture for various purposes that are not water-soluble.
It turns out that plastic polymers are sponges for DDT, PCBs and nonylphenols—oily toxics that don't dissolve in seawater. Plastic pellets have been found to accumulate up to 1 million times the level of these poisons that are floating in the water itself. These are not like heavy metal poisons that affect the animal that ingests them directly. Rather, they are what might be called second-generation toxics.
Animals have evolved receptors for elaborate organic molecules called hormones, which regulate brain activity and reproduction. Hormone receptors cannot distinguish these toxics from the natural estrogenic hormone, estradiol, and when the pollutants dock at these receptors instead of the natural hormone, they have been shown to have a number of negative effects in everything from birds and fish to humans.
The whole issue of hormone disruption is becoming one of the biggest- if not the biggest - environmental issue of the 21st century. Hormone disruption has been implicated in lower sperm counts and higher ratios of females to males in both humans and animals.
Unchecked, this trend is a dead end for any species.
A trillion trillion vectors for our worst pollutants are being ingested by the most efficient natural vacuum cleaners nature ever invented, the mucus web feeding jellies and salps (chordate jellies that are the fastest growing multicellular organisms on the planet) out in the middle of the ocean. These organisms are in turn eaten by fish and then, certainly in many cases, by humans.
We can grow pesticide-free organic produce, but can nature still produce a pesticide-free organic fish? After what I have witnessed first hand in the Pacific, I have my doubts.
I am often asked why we can't vacuum up the particles. In fact, it would be more difficult than vacuuming up every square inch of the entire United States; it's larger and the fragments are mixed below the surface down to at least 30 meters. Also, untold numbers of organisms would be destroyed in the process.
Besides, there is no economic resource that would be directly benefited by this process. We haven't yet learned how to factor the health of the environment into our economic paradigm. We need to get to work on this calculus quickly, for a stock market crash will pale by comparison to an ecological crash on an oceanic scale.
I know that when people think of the deep blue ocean they see images of pure, clean, unpolluted water. After we sample the surface water in the central Pacific, I often dive over with a snorkel and a small aquarium net I have yet to come back after a 15-minute swim without plastic fragments for my collection. I can no longer see pristine images when I think of the briny deep.
Neither can I imagine any beach-cleanup type of solution. Only elimination of the source of the problem can result in an ocean nearly free from plastic, and the desired result only will be seen by citizens of the third millennium.
The battle to change the way we -produce and consume plastics has just begun, but I believe it is essential that it be fought now. The levels of plastic particulates in the Pacific have at least tripled in the last 10 years and a tenfold increase in the next decade is not unreasonable. Then, 60 times more plastic than plankton will float on its surface.
Capt. Charles Moore is aboard the Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita and is the director of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, 345 Bay Shore Ave., Long Beach, Ca 90803-1956, Phone: (562) 433-2361, Fax: (562)438-0741, E-mail: email@example.com www: http://www.algalita.org
CAPT. CHARLES MOORE / Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF) 1nov02
To all board members, supporters and friends of Algalita,
The California and the World Ocean '02 Conference in Santa Barbara has just concluded and we have sailed Alguita into her slip in Alamitos Bay. Since everything went so well over our 3 month, 7,500 mile voyage, and culminated in such a fantastic media blitz and marine debris panel presentation, I think I will try to summarize highlights of the entire trip.
On July 24, we left Long Beach with reporter Tom Hayden of US News and World Report on board headed for Santa Barbara to take on organic produce and fuel. We left for Hawaii via the Gyre the next day and had to seek shelter in Tyler Bight on the lee side of San Miguel Island in order to hoist our sails in 40 knot winds. This proved to be the roughest day of the entire voyage. Our twofold mission was 1) to use paired bongo nets to assess the ocean's plastic load down to 30 meters and 2) to document plastic ingestion by and entanglement of filter feeders using video, day and night - in and out of the water. All six crew members were scuba divers. The invertebrate fauna near 42 N, 140 W were stupendous. The amount of plastic debris there was too. The interaction was inevitable and we videoed and then captured a jellyfish entangled in black fishing line. Photographing the plastic fragments in situ and the animals that had ingested them proved to be difficult. On the return trip, we decided to bring the animals on board and put them in a small aquarium, this worked better, and we got film of a colony of Salpa fusiformis eating plastic fragments-entanglement on the way over, ingestion on the way back. When we reached Hawaii, the media didn't bite right away (no problem, we had plenty to do) and we boarded a team of Dolphin experts who were chartering us to get DNA samples from Spinner dolphin at French Frigate Shoals. We also signed papers for Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer and Jim Ingraham to visit Tern Island, the site of the US Fish and Wildlife Service base there, by plane. Debris has been collected systematically and recorded there every two weeks for over ten years. Our purpose was to use Curt's extensive experience in the field to source the debris. When we arrived at Tern Island aboard Alguita, we laid out 7 semi-weekly debris collections on tables in the warehouse for inspection. We also trawled extensively around the atol to see if it acted like a seive for plastic particles. We were able to take Curt and Jim onboard to do sampling on an especially calm day when they were there, and we made a startling discovery. Many tiny fragments were in our surface trawl, many more than on our previous trawls in the area during rougher sea states. It should have been obvious, more and smaller particles make it to the surface when it's calm. Surface size class and abundance is a function of sea state. Michael Bailey of Hawaiians for the Preservation of Native Ecosystems was our videographer for this leg and worked virtually nonstop. His compelling interviews were included in our new video presented at the conference. Upon our return to Honolulu from this leg, the media bit big time. Our voyage coincided with the NOWRAMP (Nortwest Hawiian Islands Rapid Assessment and Monitoring Program) team's voyage, and the media put us in the mix. We were on two TV stations in one night, on National Public Radio the next day, in the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu weekly. Before we left Honolulu, I emailed an Op Ed piece to the editor of the Santa Barbara News Press. (attached)
On the way back from Hawaii through the Gyre, we made a major discovery - a Langmuir windrow of plastic debris stretching for miles. Contrary rotating ocean currents had brought mostly unfouled plastic of every description together to form a line. We sampled extensively, and had a very interesting if disappointing night dive -- three of us could not find one zooplanktonic creature at night near this phenomenon - the ocean was empty except for plastic - I don't know why. We had calm weather all the way back to Santa Barbara as the High followed us so we got to sample and dive closer to the coast than ever before on a gyre voyage - less plastic, but it was still there. When we arrived in Santa Barbara on October 22, the extensive advance work by AMRF board members paid off. We got immediate TV coverage, which played on the TV in our host room during our reception on Sunday! The Op Ed piece had made it into the Santa Barbara News Press that morning. The conference itself had two press officers: Stanley Young of the California Resources Agency and Bill Rukeyser of Cal EPA. They both came to the host room and were impressed by our displays, especially the stomach contents of a 4 month old Laysan Albatross chick-(red Japanese mayonnaise jar lids with kupie doll figures, red Japanese cigarette lighters, red fragments galore)-a huge bolus for a four month old animal.
The word got out. The conference co-chair, Winston Hickox, of the California Environmental Protection Agency mentioned the work of Algalita Foundation to the 900 attendees at the opening session. The story in US News and World Report broke that same day. Stanley Young decided to give us our own press conference, catered in the centrally located conference press room, the next day, Tuesday, Oct. 29. We hastily made color copies of the US News article to add to our press kits. Conference co-chair, Winston Hickox and State Water Board head, Celeste Cantu' officially announced our $482,000 research grant to study how pre-production plastic pellets (nurdles) get into the LA and San Gabriel Rivers and onto the beach. The State Water Resources Control Board (Under CA EPA) published a special edition of their "California Water News" for the press conference with the headline: "Research to Prevent Coastal Water Pollution Gets Nearly $500,000 State Water Board Grant." Inside they said: "The Algalita Marine Research Foundation will study how trash, plastics, and minute debris hurt the beneficial uses of the Los Angeles River and San Gabriel River watersheds, as well as other watersheds in California's urban areas." They then went on to say: "The recently approved zero trash Total Maximum Daily Load for the Los Angeles River and San Gabriel River Watersheds focuses on the large debris, however, recent studies conducted by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRO) suggest that plastic fragments less than 5mm in size occur in a mass six times higher than the mass of plankton in the mid-Pacific Gyre and, in near coastal waters off Southern California, the average mass of plastic is two and a half times greater than that of plankton." To have our state government acknowledge our work in this manner is most gratifying, to say the least! After the press conference, one TV station came to the boat and the other used film from the press conference on their 11 o'clock news.
Bill Macdonald edited 50 hours of video from our voyage by burning the midnight oil to produce a great 12 minute tape to play at my 20 min. marine debris panel presentation the next morning at 8am. In spite of the early hour, I had a good turnout and a student from Scripps in La Jolla came up to me after the conference ended and said we had the best presentation. He especially liked our displays of actual samples. During the closing ceremony that noon, the featured speakers were David Rockefeller, Jr. and recipient of the AMRF "Coast and Ocean Connection" environmental hero award, Terry Tamminen. Terry's speech was absolutely spellbinding, and he received an ovation far longer and louder than the other speakers. Following Terry, Beth Jines, EPA Asst. Secretary for Water and Waste Programs spoke and during her speech mentioned the importance of plastic trash while gesturing towards our table in the front row. A very pleasant way to end the conference with AMRF being acknowledged publicly as it was at the opening session.
After an all night sail to Long Beach through a parking lot of containerships, tankers, and bulk loaders off the backlogged ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, we arrived at our dock on Bay Shore Avenue. Home sweet home. Not long after I walked in, the ORV Alguita, Inc. office phone rang. "Hello, this is KGO news in San Francisco. We would like to talk to someone about the plastics problem." They had read the US News article and wanted to do a story when they are in the LA area next week covering the election. We set up a TV interview for next Wednesday.
And so it goes.
Best to all, Charlie
Captain Charles Moore
Aboard Oceanographic Research Vessel, Alguita
Details overzicht activiteiten met Wereld Mars Basis Team 1, 2 en 3 november
Aankomst en verwelkoming BT op Schiphol:
Het Wereld Mars Basis Team komt om 08:15 uur aan en zal rond 09:00 uur naar buiten komen.
Iedereen welkom om het BT te ontvangen op Schiphol.
Spandoeken en vlaggen van de WM en De Gemeenschap. Andere organisaties die komen worden verzocht hun eigen signalen mee te nemen.
Aankomst bij IIRE, waar het BT is ondergebracht: 10:00 uur
Installatie van het BT in hun kamers en eventueel een rustpauze.
15:30 uur: Feestelijke verwelkoming voor de Stopera en aansluitend loopmars langs Hollandse Schouwburg, Slavernij monument Oosterpark, tot aan Timorplein en IIRE.
16:30 uur: officiële ontvangst Hollandse Schouwburg, met toespraak van vertegenwoordiger van de Hollandse Schouwburg en van het BT, toespraak en gedicht door Vrouwen voor Vrede, kranslegging. Het BT legt een bloemstuk)
17.00 uur, de loop gaat verder
17:30 uur: aankomst bij Slavernij Herdenkingsmonument. Toespraken van Elvira Sweet, stadsdeelvoorzitter Amsterdam Zuid-Oost, mevrouw Lycette Tilon, namens Consul Generaal van Suriname (Mevrouw Truideman) en African Roots Movement, vredesgedicht van Serviela van Radio Sunshine, en het leggen van een bloemstuk)
19:30 uur: Vuur Ceremonie Hindoestaanse Gemeenschap op Timorplein (20minuten)
Fatima Elatik, stadsdeelvoorzitter, aanwezig.
20:00 uur: Evenement in Ambon zaal IIRE
19:45 uur: projectie WMBT videos
20:00 uur: Peruviaanse kinderen dansoptreden (10 minuten)
20:10 uur: Welkomstwoord (Lory?), voorstellen leden van het BT, bekendmaking programma van de avond (het voorstellen van de sprekers en de artiesten). Speciale persoon die wordt voorgesteld aan BT is Celine van der Broek-de Vries, een Auschwitz overlevende.En verwelkoming Fatima Elatik, stadsdeelraadvoorzitter.
Korte toespraak Fatima
20:15 uur: toespraak IIRE (3 minuten) (met spaanse vertaling en simultane franse vertaling)
20:25 uur: 1e optreden Estee Macampo (5 minuten)
20:30 uur: toespraak Pandit van de Arya Samadj, dhr B. Rewti (3 minuten) (met Spaanse vertaling en simultane Franse vertaling)
20:40 uur: optreden Nayla, Libanese buikdans (10 minuten)
20:50 uur: toespraak Stan van Houcke (3 minuten) ( met Spaanse vertaling en simultane Franse vertaling’
21:00 uur: 2e optreden Estee Macampo (5 minuten)
21:05 uur: toespraak Rob Schrama, kunstenaar en vredesactivist Jerusalem Hug ( 3 minuten met Spaanse vertaling en simultane Franse vertaling)
21:15 uur: Presentatie WMBT (15 minuten) (met vertaling naar het Nederlands)
21:30 uur: PAUZE
21:45 uur: optreden Nayla, Chloë en Jenna (5 minuten)
21:50 uur: Uitwisseling en dialoog tussen BT en publiek over de noodzaak van een cultuur van Vrede en Geweldloosheid.
22:25 uur: Wereld Mars Ceremonie (teksten in het Nederlands en het Spaans)
22:30 uur: afsluiting van de avond met groepsfoto’s en muziek (Projectie video 2 oktober Amsterdam met het lied Alegria)
2 november Amsterdam
09:30 uur: Persconferentie in Flores zaal IIRE
Georganiseerd door Jennifer Delano
11:00 uur: vertrek BT naar Rotterdam (lunch pakket verzorgen) Minibus plus 2 auto’s. Met het team van Casting International totaal 18 personen.
2 november Rotterdam:
12:15 uur: aankomst Rotterdam. Ontmoeting met de organisatoren van het programma.
13:30uur: aankomst BT voor het stadhuis van Rotterdam. Verwelkoming door Huis van Erasmus
14:00 uur: ontvangst door Loco Burgemeester Jantine Kriens inhet stadhuis (toespraak Jantine Kriens, woorden van het BT en overhandiging van het WM Manifest en Charter Nobel Vredesprijswinnaars Summit).
14:30 uur: vanaf het stadhuis, begin loopmars naar het Zadkine beeld “De verwoeste stad”
14:45 uur: aankomst bij Zadkine beeld: Toespraken en eerbetoon van het BT aan de slachtoffers van het bombardement van Rotterdam en het leggen van een bloemstuk. Vredes dichter Jana Beranova doet een voordracht.
15:15 uur: de loopmars vervolgt zijn weg naar het Grotekerkplein waar het standbeeld van Erasmus staat.
15:45 uur: aankomst Grotekerkplein. RuudLubbers spreekt bij het Erasmus standbeeld en BT doet een eerbetoon aan deze grote historische humanist met het leggen van een bloemstuk. Schoolkinderen vormen een levend vredesteken.
16:45 uur: Ontvangst en programma in het gebouw van NIVON. Presentatie van het BT met videobeelden, koor en schoolkinderen.
18:30 uur: ontvangst en programma in de Arya Sabadj Hindoe tempel (met eten voor het BT), Schlaghekstraat 95, Rotterdam-Zuid.
3 november Den Haag:
11:45 uur: vertrek BasisTeam naar Den Haag
13:00 uur: aankomst op Het Plein voor het Parlement. Verwelkoming door Haagse organisaties met toespraak en gedicht van de emeritus vredesdichter van Den Haag.
13:30 uur: WM delegatie met 4 leden van het BT, 3 vertegenwoordigers NL promotieteam, 1 vertegenwoordiger Haags Vredesplatform en de filmploeg gaan naar binnen. De rest van het Basis Team blijft op het Plein met de aanwezige organisaties.
13:45 uur: ontvangst van de WM delegatie door de voorzitter van de Tweede Kamer Commissie Buitenlandse Zaken, de heer Ormel van het CDA, in aanwezigheid van kamerleden.
Overhandiging WM Manifest als petitie, met een lijst ondertekenaars, en overhandiging Charter van de Nobel Vredesprijswinnaars Summit. Enige thema’s worden onder de aandacht van de voorzitter gebracht waaronder de verwijdering van Nederlands grondgebied van de 20 kernkoppen in Volkel.
Hopelijk wachten veel mensen op het plein met hun borden, vlaggen en spandoeken.
14:00 uur: einde onderhoud en begin loopmars naar het Vredespaleis.
15:00 uur: aankomst bij Vredespaleis. Waarschijnlijk korte ontvangst aldaar,
buiten toespraak van Haagse vredesorganisaties en Een slottoespraak van het Basis Team.
15:30 uur: ontvangst op de Argentijnse ambassade door Carlos Ortiz, plaatsvervangend ambassadeur (5 minuten lopen van het Vredespaleis,Javastraat 20).
16:30 uur: ontvangst op de Boliviaanse ambassade door de ambassadeur Roberto Calzadilla Sarmiento.