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04.21.10

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Great Pacific Gyre

There is a severe problem in the Pacific Ocean that we can no longer ignore: the great Pacific garbage patch. This is an enormous heap of plastics, toxic waste of all varieties and other nondegradable substances collecting within the North Pacific Gyre, one of five main currents directing earth's oceans. Who would have guessed? This mass is unbelievably large and is an embarrassing display of our lack of concern for the sensitivity of our home.

The size of this mass is in debate. Estimates conclude that it may be roughly the size of Texas, while some believe that it may have grown to the size of the continental United States. However large, the body of scientists examining the island of garbage agree that it is large enough to raise immediate awareness and, therefore, action. Given the amount of plastics, toxic wastes and nondegradable substances disposed of in the ocean every day, we can only figure it is growing at an alarming rate (given that plastics have only been around for about 150 years).

The concern is the fragile ecosystem of the ocean, and consequently our own ecosystem. Fortunately, the garbage patch is in a rather unpopulated part of the Pacific. Theoretically, many factors could affect the patch and push it southward into the path of other currents, causing a contaminant chain reaction eventually poisoning important areas of the world. This could kill all animals up the food chain, including us.

So what do we do about it? I mean, the patch is in international waters, so it's nobody's fault and therefore nobody's responsibility. What do we do with all the garbage? We can't bury it or burn it. We can't reuse it, because it would be almost impossible to clean. It seems that the human race has dug itself into a hole.

The key is awareness. The more people who know equals the more people who care. The dreamers of the planet will inspire the thinkers to write the formula for the doers to bring to life. See, despite how careless, reckless, and selfish human beings seem to be, we always seem to save ourselves from certain doom right in the nick of time.

Ian Kern

Rohnert Park


Vote for Ben?

I am appalled at the way in which the Obama administration is continuing the same failed polices of prior administrations with regard to Israel. Israel is building new settlements in East Jerusalem in violation of international law. This is criminal and undermines any hope of negotiating peace.

Vice President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and the president have made statements pointing out the provocative nature of the Israeli actions but then say that our support for Israel is unshakeable. After meeting with President Obama, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had the brass to say that Jerusalem is their God-given land and they intend to proceed with building there. We then go ahead and hand them more military aid.

Is this craziness or what? Imagine a parent telling a child, "I don't want you to smoke crack, and you're bad for doing it but I guess I can't stop you. Oh, and here's $200."

It seems that Israel is in charge of American foreign policy in that region, but I don't remember voting for Netanyahu. More and more blood on our hands. Next time someone asks "Why do they hate us?" remember this.

Moss Henry

Santa Rosa


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