Photo: Midway - A message from the North Pacific Gyre

(Credit: Chris Jordan) Laysan Albatross chick — Midway Island

Three and a half years ago, my life changed forever. I was invited to be part of a film crew, that traveled to Midway Island, one of the remotest islands on Earth.

There our team witnessed and documented the death of hundreds of thousands of baby Laysan Albatrosses, from the ingestion of our single use plastic trash, that they were mistakenly fed by their caring parents. Seven trips to Midway later, almost 5 million views of our film trailer, 60 plus short YouTube films from our expeditions and dozens and dozens of speaking engagements at schools, universities and conferences... I feel that we are just getting started, with what is a deep down urgent campaign to share this story with the world.

It is OUR trash that is ending up in our oceans. Our SINGLE USE PLASTIC trash... and this is by far what is killing these innocent birds. But it's really not about the Albatross at all. They are only the messenger, no different then the canary was in the coal mines years back.

It's their message that needs our urgent attention, and no matter where each of us is, or where we live, we can make a change starting right now. Please join me and my team in making a difference. REFUSE single use plastic in your life and join us!

Message to Canadians: REFUSE single use plastic in your life! Start with single use plastic bags, plastic bottles and take out containers. There ARE alternatives... you will find them... Thank you.

Watch the trailer to Chris Jordan's film Midway
Author photo

By Jan Vozenilek

Kelowna, BC

People only defend the things they know about. Share these stories.

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Feb 26, 2014
3:38 PM

As a Marine Debris researcher/artist I keep a pretty good lookout for the research about the harm flotsam and sinksam does to animals. Your claim to have witnessed the death of hundreds of thousands of baby Laysan Albatrosses from plastics is not reported anywhere in the scientific literature. In fact, it is so far out of line with everything else I have read and the experts I have talked to about this I would say it is a huge lie. Could you cite any research paper that backs up your wild claim? If not, I’d suggest you stop hurting the cause of becoming better stewards of our oceans by spewing nonsense.

Sep 30, 2012
8:15 PM

I was truly saddened by this story of how far our garbage reaches. I hate that manufacturers come up with more useless, disposable crap to package things in. It's time they stepped up and take responsibility for our environment…and people out there, pack out what you bring in.

Sep 27, 2012
12:09 PM

Absolutely right! I think of it everyday

Sep 26, 2012
1:59 PM

@ Adrian Society is made up of individuals. If we want to change society, we have to do it one individual at a time. When there are enough of us demanding change, finally the individuals who have the power to make laws to make change will be convinced. But it starts with people wanting change, one person at a time.

Sep 17, 2012
4:32 PM

Thank you so much for this sad story. I think I care and am careful but I get lazy. Your story pulls me home and makes me take more care of how I live. I will in some way share the story.

Aug 30, 2012
9:54 AM

I don't mean to be defeatist but realistic when I ask if this is an individual problem or one that will be at all impacted by our individual choices. Like the ozone hole and now with Global Warming, I think it's wrong to put the responsibility (and implicit blame) on individuals. We need to change as a society.

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