The Plastic Problem

The invention of plastic certainly revolutionized the world. And slowly but surely people have found more uses for it. It’s crept into just about every aspect of life. Look around you. You’d be hard pressed to NOT find something made, either wholly or partially, from plastic within arms’ reach. Yet much of the plastic made is single-use. Much of is not properly disposed of. And 8 MILLION METRIC TONS of it ends up in the ocean every year. The thing about plastic is that it NEVER biodegrades. It simply breaks down into smaller and smaller bits. What that means is that EVERY bit of plastic ever made on the planet is still around in some form or another.

Enough is enough.

There are efforts taking place to stop plastic use. Many places are banning plastic bags. Some cities and countries are banning plastic straws. Individuals and groups are on the beaches doing clean-ups. One young Dutchman is exploring technology to actually clean up the masses of ocean debris swirling in the water. Others are developing biodegradable plastic. And I am writing.

The problem seems overwhelming, to say the least. But I think slowly, slowly we can change the way people think. I am starting with kids. I want to make kids aware of what is going on and start the hard discussions. Right now I’m fiddling with a story about too many hats – hats being the metaphor for plastic. The goal is to make it funny and a bit ridiculous. Because, well, isn’t the real mess we’ve created a bit ridiculous?

Sand Microbiome

So here’s something to blow your mind – sand is a microbiome. Billions of organisms live in the sand. In fact, a 2017 study revealed that on one grain of sand there may be between 10,000 and 100,000 microorganisms!!! The organisms you find (if you have a very good microscope, of course) varies depending on the beach. Not only that, but the organisms in one part of the beach will be different from organisms from another part of the beach.

Who lives here?

The sand is very much an extreme environment. To start, there’s not much space. But these organisms are small enough to move around between the grains of sand! They are also hardy enough to withstand the constant pounding of waves. And, sometimes there’s water in the tiny ecosystem, and other ties the tide goes out and there’s none. So now, every time you go to the beach, consider the universe underfoot!