Must Read: The Ocean Is Broken


I almost didn’t read this article by Australia’s Newcastle Herald on our planet’s fucked oceans because I already know quite a bit about how are oceans are broken (it’s been a pet interest of mine since I was a small child). But I did end up reading it and I much to my surprise, I learned something: It turns out that the debris that was swept out to sea by the 2011 Japanese tsunami is still wreaking havoc on the ocean.

The article focuses on the trip taken by an Australian yacht in the spring of this year. The yacht’s course took it from Osaka to San Francisco to Melbourne, a course that its crew had taken 10 years earlier. But unlike on that first voyage, this more recent one was a depressing trip through a garbage-filled ocean that was almost devoid of life. “But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen,” says one of the yachtmen.

While the piece isn’t a happy one, it is vividly and clearly written and definitely worth the time to read it.

As for what can be done, well, it doesn’t sound like much of anything is being done to address the problem of Japanese tsunami debris out in the open ocean (the BC government and various state government are sort of dealing with the garbage that washes up on shore). There is some more info on the topic over here but again, the focus is mostly on shorelines, which does make sense since that’s the garbage we can see. But as you’ll read in that article, the shoreline shouldn’t be our only concern.


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