Five years ago, a photo changed my life. I was just a regular American, choosing double plastic bags at the grocery store, drinking bottled water, living on microwaveable meals and energy bars wrapped in plastic, and buying whatever I wanted whenever I wanted without ever considering how things were made or where they were going to end up. I gave money to Greenpeace, watched environmental documentaries, and had even worked briefly for Clean Water Action right after college, but my environmental actions did not extend to my personal choices.
Images that change lives
And then one night, In June 2007, sitting alone at the computer, I stumbled across an article about the ocean plastic pollution problem and saw the photo that shocked me like no other had. It was a poor quality image of a dead albatross chick on Midway Island–halfway between the United States and Japan and thousands of miles from any civilization–that was full of everyday plastic pieces, like the plastic bottle caps I threw away on a regular basis. The plastic didn’t come from Midway. It came from unconscious consumers like me. I learned that the mother birds fly out across the ocean to pick up food for their chicks, except they are picking up pieces of plastic instead. And the baby birds starve with bellies full of the stuff.
A maternal instinct kicked in that I hadn’t even known existed. After sobbing in my chair for several minutes, I decided that I couldn’t continue living the way I had been. That very night I committed to stop buying new plastic, and this blog and all that followed were born.
Waking Up the World
Two years after I saw that photo, photographer Chris Jordan, poet Victoria Sloan Jordan, filmmaker Jan Vozenilek, and Plastic Pollution Coalition co-founder Manuel Maqueda, made a trip to Midway to photograph those birds properly. Chris’s photographs shocked the world in the same way that the original photo had shocked me. They were beautiful and terrible and relentless in their depictions of plastic-filled bird after plastic-filled bird.
ALBATROSS, the film
Ever since that first trip three years ago, Chris and the team have been working on a film, ALBATROSS (previously titled Midway Journey), to tell the story of plastic pollution and spread the message of what we are doing to other creatures on this planet–creatures that most people like me probably don’t even realize exist.
You can view the current film trailer here: https://vimeo.com/218502282
And here is a fabulous interview with Chris Jordan about the project in Outside Magazine: https://www.outsideonline.com/1900606/love-story-midway-island
Please Help Fund This Project!
To fund the project, the team have created a Kickstarter campaign with a target of $100,000. They must make their goal in the next 11 days (July 18) or the project will not receive any of the Kickstarter pledges. So far, they have raised an amazing $61,531 in pledges towards their goal, so I just know that with enough of us kicking in some funds and forwarding the campaign to everyone we know, they can get there!
I want this project to be funded because I want the world to see what I saw 5 years ago. I want everyone to feel the connection that I felt and to understand that there is no separation between us and any other beings on this planet, no matter how small, no matter how remote. Our actions matter.