Throw Away Planet

We dream of fishing for stars in the ocean
but, in the cold light of day,
there are more micro-plastics in the sea
than stars in the milky way.

Whole constellations and shoals of fish
are caught in the rainbow spray
of detritus uncoiling like whales’ intestines
and landing on every beach and bay.

Human’s packaging and discarded nets
are evils against which we inveigh;
we must claim back our waters while there is time,
this planet’s not ours to throw away.

Kim M. Russell, 19th April 2021

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My response to earthweal Earth Day challenge: Restore our Earth

Brendan reminds us that Earth Day is this Thursday, April 22. The annual environmental awareness event was first held on April 22, 1970 and, since 1990, it’s been an international event coordinated by Earth Day Network (earthday.org). The theme this year is Restore Our Earth, and for this week’s earthweal challenge we are celebrating Earth Day with local affirmations of restoring our Earth.

I found some of this poem in a ‘Nature Notebook’ article by Miriam Darlington, which was published in the Times last Saturday.

28 thoughts on “Throw Away Planet

  1. Well done Kim for drawing attention to this issue. Have you seen ‘Seaspiracy’ yet? According to this documentary, we are being told to look at our plastic use and to look the other way when industrial fisheries pollute the oceans to a much greater level. But the truth is we are all responsible for our waste, and need to consider the whole picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, but god forbid our world become less “convenient”, eh? I mean what gonna hold that six-pack of plastic soda bottles together except more plastic? What are we going to do, carry six loose bottles home, rattling around loose in a plastic bag?
    c’mon; ya must be dreaming.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “fishing for stars in the ocean” is so lovely – then the contrast of all the plastic garbage. It took such a small amount of time to cause this enormous problem that will be so hard to clean up. But not impossible, hopefully, if enough people and companies join together to address it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sherry. We’ve seen a lot of seals on our local beach with very tight plastic rings stuck around their necks, and the local sanctuary has had its work cut out. Visitors have been asked to stay away from the seal colony, especially with dogs, and reminded to take their rubbish home with them, but they don’t seem to get it. I despair. Luckily, not many fishing nets are washed up here.

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  4. A very poignant poem Kim and thankfully our local communities and volunteers keep our beaches clean and many businesses are adapting to a plastic-free environment. Most of the plastic we find washing up on our beaches seems to have been discarded at sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Though we all need to keep doing our very best to correct it ASAP, general human mentality collectively allows us to, amongst other forms of blatant pollution, throw non-biodegradables down a dark chute like we’re safely dispensing it into a black-hole singularity to be crushed into nothing.

    So much of our waste is not immediately observable — out of sight, out of mind — thus misperceived as no threat. And so much of it is from gratuitous purposes, e.g. plastic from individually wrapped toilet paper rolls. (Why? So the consumer can enjoy opening each roll for its after-dinner freshness?!)

    And then there’s the astonishing short-sighted entitled selfishness. I observed this not long ago when a TV news reporter randomly asked a young urbanite wearing sunglasses what he thought of government restrictions on disposable plastic straws. “It’s like we’re living in a nanny state, always telling me what I can’t do,” he recklessly retorted.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Microplastics are so ubiquitous, its frightening to find out they’re snowing in every body. And getting people to voluntarily surrender the trappings of convenience runs into that defiant wall of “personal” (poisoned) rights. But we keep hanging poems like this on the sheets of the wind — ever reminding us that “the world’s not ours to throw away” — and each easy access becomes more fraught. Good job Kim and a great response to the challenge. (Have you seen the images of beaches in Southeast Asia? They are buried, flooded, vanished in plastic waste.) – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Brendan. What I don’t understand is that we managed for so long without plastic, repaired and re-used, and now people seem to be addicted to throw-away economy. It doesn’t make sense, particularly in the light of pollution and climate change. Most of the pollution comes from so-called ‘civilised’ nations and ends up on the beaches of countries that barely use plastics themselves. How did we get to this?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They made it too easy. Convenience is the bane of sustainable Earth, and we have been served up supermarket aisles larded with packaging for fast consumption. Sure, you can repair and re-use, but why bother when the disposable is cheaper and easier? Why is the human population so obese? Addiction to convenience is like fossil fuel addiction, we’re so riddled with it that to change is to die. Thanks for disturbing the waters!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We have a real problem with plastic and we need to find a solution. I bought people re-usable straws for the holidays. In many places in the northeast you can no longer get them as they keep getting in the ocean and are such a waste. With covid it is easier to drink with a straw under your mask. They make them in a metal or a plastic that is re-usable and comes with a brush. So no more one time use and throw them in the never ending garbage. You can even put them in your dishwasher.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well written! You’ve said it all in the last line. Sad truth. I wish there was more honesty in the world so people could make better choices. We buy plastics for there convenience and think we are doing our part by throwing them into the recycling bin. But really a lot of those plastics are not actually being recycled. Instead they are shipped elsewhere and burned.

    Liked by 1 person

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