How plastics from our food industry are starving albatrosses

The Midway Islands are one of the most isolated places on the planet as they have the longest stretch of ocean between them and any other form of land in the world. When considering this, it would be expected that these islands are pristine and untouched; however, this is not the case. 

These islands are famous for providing breeding ground for albatross, one of the largest CF000517 17x22

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A sample of Chris Jordan’s heartwrenching collection of Midway Island Albatross

migratory sea birds in the world. But these birds are facing adversity and the success of their young is being compromised. Tragically, our ocean are becoming so polluted that plastic in our oceans are prevalent enough for albatross to mistake the debris for food and are ingesting these plastics themselves and feeding them to their young. These indigestible particles remain in their stomachs and prevent them from eating real food which essentially starves them. Filmmaker and photographer Chris Jordan’s documentary Midway: Message from the Gyre illustrates the severity of the issue with haunting footage while telling the story of the interconnectedness between human activity and wildlife. He has also has released a collection of pictures documenting the consequence of this problem – the full gallery can be found here.

A significant source of plastic polluting our oceans is the food industry – from caps off of pop bottles to the wrapping that covers every cucumber, the food industry is a significant contributor to the plastics in our ocean.

Taking steps to reduce your footprint through conscious consumption of food can play a significant part in changing the current story. Every plastic bag, every plastic container and every piece of packaging impacts our world. It is crucial that individuals become empowered to take steps towards reducing the amount of packaging associated with food when possible, and recycling or reusing the packaging that cannot be avoided.

When many individuals make small, yet impactful, changes in their life, the combined effect is enough to change the world. The ocean is made of single droplets of water – in a similar way, each action we take can contribute to turning the tides and creating waves of change.

Blog post by Allison Pritchard and Shakti Ramkumar, Co-coordinators for Common Energy’s Food and Connections Team