Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I guess my blog is starting off with a bit of activist flair.

I consider myself a late bloomer in the activist field (well, in pretty much everything to be honest).  I've always been interested in various causes but never quite pursued them.  I definitely missed out on the whole "rebellious college experience", but now as a graduate student, I'm starting to come into my own actively draw attention to the things that are important to me.  I'm done keeping causes to myself out of concern that my views will upset people.  If you don't like what I have to say, then so be it.  But by speaking, I'm not only actively learning more about what's important in the world but I'm hopefully planting a seed in others.  And that's the most important want to inspire lasting change.

As I was thinking about this topic, my first concern was that I wasn't "activist enough."  It's easy to talk the talk, but am I really doing anything important?  Absolutely.  Change is a process.  People will commit to causes in different ways, when they are ready to.  You cannot compare your actions with anyone else's.  Simply enjoy the process of learning, and commit yourself to making a difference.  It's common to develop knowledge and attitudes about something before a behavior can develop.  Activism takes many forms, and even something as small as speaking your mind is good enough.  Think about Rosa Parks, for example.  All she did was remain true to her beliefs, and that inspired national change.  Never think that your actions are insignificant compared to others people's.  You cannot compare your experiences to anyone else's.  But you can collaborate and build off of what they have contributed.  Life is about pooling assets and reaping the benefits of collective effort!

This brings me to a video I watched last night about the Laysan albatross of Midway, courtesy of Upworthy.  According to the preview, Midway Island is located in the North Pacific Ocean more than 2,000 miles away from the nearest continent.  Within the first minute or so I was just absolutely capitaviated by how these beautiful from these birds are.  How distant from society, how free.  I felt privileged to have a closeup of their lives, to see the world through different eyes.

But then the tides turned.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge's quote, "Until my ghastly tale is told, this heart within me burns," displayed at the beginning of the preview, begins to ring true.

The video becomes difficult to watch.  But it is important to watch.  Chris Jordan does a phenomenal job in revealing how human actions are destroying these beautiful creatures.  You see, Midway Island is located within the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, one of several major ocean vortices around the world.  A gyre is a pattern of ocean current that spins circularly around a central point.  The region has become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch because of all of the trash that accumulates and doesn't go away.  A great quantity of that trash is composed of plastic, but it's not large pieces that can be easily removed.  Instead, much of that plastic has broken down into microscopic pieces, which poses a threat to unsuspecting wildlife.

This video was timely because I had just learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the March/April edition of VegNews magazine.  I am so eager for this film's release later this year.  I felt so helpless after watching just the preview though, because I know that I am just as guilty as everyone else in contributing to the problem.  But as I mentioned earlier, the first step is awareness.  The more sensitive we become to horrors like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the more steps we can take towards alleviating the problem.  We owe it to these beautiful birds.

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