201 PICS

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

I would like to go to Midway Island in the Pacific and document the albatross population that is dying from ingesting plastic from the Pacific Gyre.

Midway is the most remote place on earth in terms of its distance to the nearest continent, and yet there are millions of tons of plastic pollution in the Pacific around it. Perhaps you have heard of the Pacific Gyre, which is the name of the ocean current system that is essentially a giant slow motion whirlpool out there. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the name given to the newly-discovered enormous swirling soup of plastic pollution in the Gyre that’s twice the size of the state of Texas. Unfortunately most of the plastic is underwater, so it’s not visible like an island of floating trash. Instead, this is one of those invisible problems, like CO2 emissions, that is difficult to visualize.

Midway Island, which happens to be the famous Midway from WWII, is a nesting ground for millions of albatross, enormous white birds with a nine-foot wingspan who make their nests and hatch their young on the uninhabited and predator-free island. One parent stays with the newly hatched young and the other takes off to collect food from the surface of the water. Soaring over the ocean for weeks at a time, the parent searches for food on the surface of the water to bring back to the waiting chick.

Over millions of years, albatross have developed a sophisticated digestive system that allows them to ingest anything that floats on the surface of the water: dead fish, live fish, seaweed, plant material, pieces of wood, whatever. The stuff they can’t digest (bones, wood bits, etc.) comes back out in a bolus that they cough up later on. Because they have this eat-anything digestive system, the albatross do not need to mentally filter what they should eat, from what they shouldn’t eat, on the surface of the water. Thus they have no ability to distinguish harmful floating plastics from food; they eat it all.

The foraging adult ranges over enormous areas collecting food— all the way to the Aleutians, or down to Argentina in a single trip—and returns to the nest on Midway with a fat belly full of what it thinks is sustenance for its baby. What its stomach actually contains is a partially decomposed tangle of plastic tooth brushes, combs, pieces of rope and fishing net, bottle caps, cigarette lighters, popsicle sticks, chunks of flip-flip sandals, and so on. The adult becomes malnourished itself, and as the baby is fed this kind of stuff over a couple of months, it weakens and begins flopping around, and finally dies in a terrible fit of gagging one day as it can’t cough up the final piece of plastic that closes its windpipe. Millions of albatross are dying like this out there, and scientists estimate that at the current rate the albatross will be extinct from this part of the world (and perhaps the whole world) within a few years.

I want to go to Midway to document this tragedy in a style similar to my Katrina project. Access to Midway is difficult-- it is remote, and requires a charter flight. It is also a National Park, requiring permits and lots of logistical challenges. I will definitely need an assistant, and hopefully a third person who can serve as a scout.

I have already made tentative plans to do this project in September of this year. However, I lack the funding. Please give me this assignment!

For more info: www.chrisjordan.com

cheers,

~cj

Rank: 82

23 Comments

FatherJohn

As we wind through the final half day of this contest, I am adding my vote to your dream and asking if you are willing to help my dream for Children stay in the top 20 by voting for me. If so, my deepest thanks. In any case, may God Bless you and may all your dreams come true.

ahavisual

The Pacific Gyre has yet to be visualized well. I hope you win, Chris!

-RIck

sl350

I hope you win Chris, good luck

amshannon

Chris Jordan is a great american story teller...he tells it all with images that captivate and educate! Hope you win!

emilyb

I want you to make this story real for people. We keep hearing about the enormous plastic problem, and I've yet to see a visual representation of the magnitude it represents. You are definitely the man to do it!

Quietnature

Chris has the ability to portray the reality we normally cannot visualize. He can raise the conscience of everyday citizens.

Sending him to the Pacific Gyre is crucial to heighten the awareness of the choices we make,as we shop and produce products for our convenience, amusement, or need.

rafloyd14

Got my vote!

RF

PaulKopeikin

Go Chris Go

hemaliz

Voted for you
Please vote for me too
My Work - www.hemaliphotography.com/fineart.html

http://www.nameyourdreamassignment.com/the-ideas/hemaliz/reminiscence-memories-from-childhood/

JZahuta

GO Chris!!!!!!!!!!!!

karensella

Inspiring project... good luck:)

harushi

This is a mission critical project and I can't think of anyone other than Chris Jordan to get the job done! He will not let us down, I promise.

reelthing

Chris is an amazing photographer, and the documentation of the plight of the Laysan Albatross is incredibly important.

PlasticLess

Good luck, Chris.

rozlyroz

we should all support any and every project
this visionary dreams up!!!

wjnichols

Go Chris! We are looking forward to helping you disseminate the story and images...

cbfreas22

Good luck Chris - when you win, we all win!!

bonner

Chris's extraordinary passion, talent and insight through photographs are unforgettable. We're all behind you!

sloveland

Beautiful photographs, Chris. I hope you win!

egadsphoto

Chris is a visionary artist - with passion, talent and communication skills that can make a difference in the world. Best wishes!

JTawfilis

I can think of no one on earth more deserving of living his dream than Chris Jordan because his dream is for all of us to be able to live by. He is an astounding artivist!!!!

Michael_Gordon

An excellent and admirable project, Chris. I wish you the best. Good luck.

nowitzke1

Good luck Chris! This is a perfect project for you - susan e.