May 9, 2011
A Photo Essay
Do you know this familiar scene? A person walks alone at a beach. Everything is peaceful. She hears the soft and low wooshing of the waves on the sand, smells the salty air, feels a gentle, warm breeze. From time to time she bends down to pick something up that has caught her eye: a special shaped shell maybe, or an interesting stone…and, if she is really lucky, a shimmering fragment of mother of pearl or a little piece of golden glowing amber.
Not very long ago, this person was me. I spent a holiday at a beach at Majorca. While enjoying long walks in silence (due to rather cool weather there were not many other people there) my camera was my companion. The things I saw were beautiful. Yes. But not all of them were what I expected. This is a record of the treasures I found:
The beach where I walked, was a clean beach. And still there was so much to find that shouldn´t be there. That made me think and research a bit. The pollution of our oceans is incredible. Certainly we all know the disturbing pictures of fish, strangled in nets. In fact we are almost used to them by now. Even more disturbing are other stories that can be heard – if you´ll listen.
How about this one: Did you know the world´s biggest garbage dumb is twice the size of Texas? Asking where it is? In the Pacific ocean. It´s the great Pacific Trash Vortex (read the Wikipedia article for more information and watch an impressive video here.)
Nobody can really say how this will influence us – but we know that there have been a lot of victims already. We know about the fish, and we know about the seabirds. For years, cruel pictures of seabirds killed by trash that they fed on, have been circling the net, especially the Photo Galleries of Chris Jordan.
Much more disturbing however are the hints we get from another direction…Not only is the trash eaten by animals, the substances it contains are set free while the plastic pieces break up into smaller and smaller pieces, and absorbed by all the organisms living in the ocean. These substances are poisonous and they may also influence and affect the genetic makeup of sealife. And that´s where it gets rather creepy – because here the whole matter backfires, as we depend on it as a food source. There won´t be a way for us to chicken out – we will have to deal with this issue.
Standing at that beach, I admired the beauty of those finds, a strange, haunting, deathly beauty, as I knew. I also knew that I couldn´t change or save the world. But I wanted to share this with you. The odd fascination I felt, the feelings of disturbance – and my pictures.
“People protect what they love.” (Jacques Cousteau)