Bird spotting is not a typical activity for us next nature explorers, yet occasionally we bump into some birds worth mentioning (remember the amazing copy-paste bird, rubber duck XL, the wild birds illegally immigrating into city Zoo, or the plastic flamingos that almost became extinct?)
Undoubtedly these ‘plastic’ birds spotted by photographer Chris Jordan are the most macabre thus far. One wonders what Darwin would have thought of these Albatross babies fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. According to the photographer thousands of chicks a year, kick the bucket from starvation, toxicity, and choking from their diet of human trash.
Feeding your babies plastic is definitely not a good survival strategy for these poor birds. On the other hand, plastic seems to be thriving as a new material all over our planet, with no living organism able to break it down or consume it. Nietzsche already learned us that every second nature typically stresses a first nature, which in effect deteriorates, after which the victorious second nature becomes the first.
Are we ready for a plastic planet? Surely that bit of mindful recycling you are urging yourself to turn into a habit, won’t undo the effect. How long should we wait for the microbes to evolve that are able to digest plastic? Certainly there is more than enough ‘food’ for them available within the ecosystem by now. Somebody please call one of these synthetic biologists to fix us a microbe that eats plastic.
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