Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Oil Connection by Gary C. Mitchell

It has now been over one and 1/2 months since the disastrous Oil Spill in the Gulf. Images are everywhere - birds covered in oil, sea turtles slicked-up, once pristine beaches and marsh lands irrevocably changed.

Now, thanks to the Good Morning America Team, you can new see images underwater - startling and frightening images of great brown columns of a toxic soup of Oil and a "Dispersant" (that BP insists on using, even against the advice of the EPA) that rise from the deep and move throughout the gulf like giant under-water tornadoes. The affect of this toxic soup is unknown, but those closely studying the issue are terrified of the potential outcome.

According to Michael Custeau, the combination of Oil + Dispersant could be even more deadly than the Oil itself. Countless lives have now and forever
will be altered - and in many cases, lost.

At some point we begin to wonder if Oil really is our best choice. Unfortunately, Oil, in one form
or another, is everywhere.

You hold it, you drink from it, cook with it, bathe in it, eat with it, wear it,drive in it, talk to it - there is no escaping it - Plastic! But how often do we stop to recognize that plastic is actually made from oil? Hm...and just how does this effect us? And does plastic have any affect on the environment? According to recent Scientific Studies, it could be poisoning you!

In the 1967 film The Graduate, Mr. Maguire tells Benjamin,

"Just one word, Plastics!" and goes on to say that "the future lay in Plastics".

Well, Plastics have definitely altered our future!

Take bottled water for instance. Certainly a genius marketing gimmick, but a dangerous one on many levels. We have learned that fresh water is less than 1% of all of the planet's water. It actually takes 3 times the amount of water to make the "bottle" for bottled water as what it is filled with. The water used to fill bottled water is surrounded by it's very own set of controversies. Some bottled water companies, like Nestle, have been successful at plundering the pristine water sources from third world countries, often prohibiting the country's inhabitants from using their own water! Other companies, such as Evian, have been found filling their bottles with tap water. Add to that the fact that the majority of these bottles are discarded after a single use. And where does the bottle go? Well, certainly a percentage of these bottles get recycled, however, in the USA, 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour. Those that are not recycled or land-filled are very often ending up in the ocean.

As it turns out the Oceans have 5 areas where currents end up in kind of very slow moving vortexes called Gyres. If I threw a plastic bottle into the Santa Monica bay, the currents would eventually take it to an area known as the North Pacific Gyre. The bottle may or may not look like a bottle when it arrives in the NP Gyre - but all of the elements of the plastic will still be in tact, because plastic never dies. If the bottle were to break into smaller pieces, each of these pieces would act as a sponge and soak up all of the ddt, pcbs, and various poisons that we have been dumping in the ocean. By the time these plastic pieces arrive in the North Pacific Gyre, they may have up to one million times the amount of toxicity as surrounding areas. So what you say? Well, let's suppose that you are a fish, a fish that eats fish eggs - you see a plastic particle floating by and - yummy - looks just like fish eggs to you. The problem is that every level of life in the ocean is being affected by plastics. Plastics are becoming incorporated into the food chain. In some areas of the North Pacific Gyre, there are 6 times more plastic particles than plankton. Plankton is the basic building block of the ocean - oh, and guess what? Plankton just happens to be where we get the majority of our oxygen. See the problem? So, we have been talking about one area in the ocean that is filled with these plastics - the North Pacific Gyre. Just how big is it? Well, Scientific estimates now have it as being 1 1/2 times the size of the Continental US. Yep, filled with plastics. Oh, and, remember how we said that there are 5 Gyres in the world's oceans? Well, of those 5 Gyres, there are now 3 confirmed Plastic Garbage Patches - North Pacific Gyre, South Pacific Gyre and North Atlantic Gyre. AND, according to, a group of scientists studying plastics in the oceans, there is now evidence that all 5 of the world's gyres are filling with plastics.

So what do we do? At every opportunity, opt away from using oil and oil products. Instead of using plastic bags (in the US we throw away 100 Billion Plastic Bags every hour - which is equivalent to dumping 12 million barrels of oil), bring your own re-usable bags. Instead of bottled water, opt for filtered water or - gasp - tap water. And, at every opportunity, encourage the use of renewable energy.

One opportunity to show your support for renewable energy is Hands Across the Sand. Planet Rehab is partnering in this event, which takes place on June 26, protesting offshore drilling and supporting renewable energy. For more info on how you can participate go to: or contact Gary Mitchell 323 350 0873.