Saturday, May 26, 2018

Levitation : foiled moth fly in the archipel des Glénans

Charlie Dalin, a french offshore sailor foiling with his moth across tiny islands of Brittany. 

 
Iles des Glénans with the GeoGarage platform (SHOM nautical chart)

Friday, May 25, 2018

New proof for Kon-Tiki theory – archive, 1953


Some film extracts from the ''Kon-Tiki Expedition'' of 1947.
The six man Norwegian crew who sailed 6,900 km across the Pacific (from Peru), was led by Thor Heyerdahl.
''Kon-Tiki'' was the name of the raft which was made from balsa wood and bamboo, and held together with ropes,
The voyage across the Pacific ended when the raft became stranded on a coral reef 6,900 Kilometres from the port in South America, from which they set out 101 days earlier.

From The Guardian

18 May 1953: Thor Heyerdahl demonstrates the raft that sailed across the Pacific and tells Princess Margaret about new evidence that inhabitants of the Polynesian Islands originally came from South America

Princess Margaret’s visit to Oslo as a guest at the wedding of Princess Ragnhild and Mr Erling Lorentzen, a shipping director, has been a resounding success.
The Princess has attracted far more attention than any other of the many royal guests, and newspapers all over Scandinavia have been full of praise for her qualities as an ambassador of goodwill.
Her activities have been front-page news in the Scandinavian press even after the wedding.

The Princess has visibly enjoyed her stay and has been able to give a personal touch to her visit.
One of the highlights of her programme was a visit yesterday to the Kon-Tiki Museum, where the explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, not only demonstrated the famous raft and equipment but also gave the Princess new first-hand information of his findings during a recently completed second tour in Pacific waters.

 Le Breton, "pirogue des mers du Sud" (1846)

Heyerdahl nears end of voyage


Mr Heyerdahl now claims that he has found the last links in the chain of proofs of the theory that inhabitants of the Polynesian Islands originally came from South America.
One of the main points in criticism of the theory has been that no signs had been found of South American settlement on the Galapagos Islands, which should be far easier to reach with rafts than the Polynesian Islands which are much farther away.

The expedition of Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl travelling across the Pacific on the balsa raft Kon Tiki circa 1947.
Photograph: Hulton Getty

During his latest expedition Mr Heyerdahl went to the Galapagos in company with American and Norwegian archaeologists and found traces of four South American settlements.
A great number of pots and tools, some of which were from the Inca period, were brought home.

That South Americans never settled permanently on the Galapagos is, according to Mr Heyerdahl, explained by a new and important discovery that balsa wood rafts of the Kon-Tiki type were manoeuvrable so that a return journey was possible.
When he set out on his first expedition Mr Heyerdahl believed that the raft was forced to follow the winds and currents, but he has now been able to prove personally that rafts can cruise almost like an ordinary sailing-boat.


The Kon-Tiki raft was constructed in accordance with old designs and equipped with one pair of centreboards forward, one pair aft, and one pair amidships, but the centreboards were not – as Mr Heyerdahl first believed – meant only to steady the raft.
By raising or lowering the front or rear centre-boards and adjusting the sail, direction could be changed without using oars or rudder.
This method was used by Indians until fifty years ago but has since been forgotten and Mr Heyerdahl got to know about it by chance.
This time he sailed out on a new raft from the Ecuador coast in a favourable wind but had no difficulty in returning to his starting-point.

Links :

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Rise of the seabots


From Hana Hou by Tom Koppel

A new generation of marine robots is surveying the world’s oceans

The big diesel purrs as we cruise along four miles off Kawaihae.
Three volcanoes dominate the horizon, and tradewinds curve around the northwestern tip of Hawai‘i Island.
Our boat closes in on what resembles a surfboard with a short mast, navigation lights, two antennas and solar panels.
This is the “float”: the surface portion of a marine robot developed here on the Kona coast.

Tony San Jose, who’s leading our outing, signals us to don our snorkel gear as the boat pulls alongside.
We slide over-board and gaze into the indigo abyss, then swim to the float and grab onto its handles.
This is a Wave Glider—number sixty-three out of some four hundred built to date—and it’s been hovering out here for months.
I pick off a soft, young barnacle growing on the underside.
“Those are a delicacy in Spain,” Tony quips.

The Wave Glider is an autonomous robot, powered by waves and solar energy, that collects and transmits data about the ocean in real time.
It was created by Sunnyvale-based Liquid Robotics.

Hanging twenty-four feet below the surface float and connected by a black umbilicus is the “sub,” a narrow contraption with twelve horizontal fins.
As waves lift the float at the surface, the attached sub gets tugged up and down, causing the fins to undulate.
This creates propulsion by which the sub tows the float.
The sub is equipped with a rudder and a battery-powered thruster to provide a boost whenever the sea is dead calm or the glider encounters a strong current.
Guided by satellite and harnessing the ocean’s energy, a Wave Glider can stay at sea for up to a year and cross oceans without consuming fuel or producing any emissions.
And Wave Glider is just one of several marine robots that have been revolutionizing ocean exploration and research in the last ten years.

Engineer Billy Middleton flutter-kicks effortlessly down and clings playfully to the sub.
The float pulls us along as it traces lazy circles, holding station within a small, GPS-defined pixel of the Pacific.
If the robot wanders, satellite commands will return it to its box.
Within a mile or so are six other Wave Gliders, each assigned to its own square by Liquid Robotics.
Founded in 2007, Liquid Robotics was acquired by Boeing in 2016 and most of its operations moved from Hawai‘i to Sunnyvale, California.
But Kawaihae remains its testing ground.
Personnel from government agencies and other clients, including the US Navy, come to the Islands for courses in operating the gliders they’ve purchased.
Base model costs around $250,000 (more with custom instrumentation).

At its start Wave Glider wasn’t the sophisticated robot it’s become.
In 2003 Joe Rizzi, an engineer and former Silicon Valley venture capitalist, was trying to record the songs of the humpback whales that winter around Hawai‘i.
But the hydro-phones he’d affixed to buoys kept breaking loose.
Rizzi needed something better, an “unmoored, station-keeping data buoy,” as he describes it.
A small tech team led by Roger Hine, whose background is in engineering as well as robotics, took on the challenge, embarking on what would be a two-year period of trial and error.
Hanging on the wall of the shore facility at Kawaihae are funky, weather-worn components of early Wave Gliders.
Instead of fins, “the first sub had double whale’s tails,” says Chuck Shaver, the longest-serving techie of the group.
In the end Rizzi and Hine developed much more than a stationary floating listening device: Wave Glider could propel itself, even in rough seas, at up to two and a half knots.
In 2009 a Wave Glider circumnavigated Hawai‘i Island.
Then two of them crossed from Hawai‘i to San Diego in eighty-two days.
It was a historic achievement: the first long-distance transit by an ocean robot relying on renewable energy.

I first came across autonomous marine technology in November 2013, at the Kaneohe Yacht Club on O‘ahu.
Hunched over the hatch of a nineteen-foot, life-jacket-orange sailboat was none other than Richard Jenkins, the British engineer who had famously set the land-sailing world record of 126 mph on a dry lake bed in California.
Jenkins had designed the fixed-wing sail that propelled his Greenbird himself, and having worked in an English shipyard and sailed offshore as well, it was only natural that he’d apply the design to a boat.
Tinkering beside Jenkins was Dylan Owens, an American with whom Jenkins developed Saildrone using seed money from Google’s power couple, Wendy and Eric Schmidt.



Schmidt Ocean (May 4, 2018)
“I think that that what we will see as the platform matures, people will be flocking in and recognizing there is more and more and more purpose for this particular platform.
So I think we’ve seen just the tip of the iceberg at this point.”
Some of the most exciting and innovative technologies being used on the WhiteSharkVoyage are the saildrones.
Take a look at how these autonomous wind and sun powered vehicles are expanding data gathering and research in this video, and access the real-time data with the following links: http://ferret.pmel.noaa.gov/soi/las/ / http://ferret.pmel.noaa.gov/soi/erddap/


A Saildrone near its home base in San Francisco.
Last summer, three Saildrones completed a joint NOAA/NASA research cruise to the Arctic, transiting the Bering Strait—a first for autonomous vehicles.

Saildrone is a robotic craft with a rigid sail and solar panels to charge batteries for steering and satellite communications.
“She just arrived from San Francisco yesterday,” Owens told me proudly, “after thirty-four days at sea.”
 Later that day, a boat towed the vessel out beyond Kāne‘ohe bay to continue its journey south toward the equator, a cruise that would last several months.

Since then Saildrone has gotten bigger —twenty-three feet—and faster, attaining speeds of eight knots.
It has weathered a hurricane in the North Atlantic and measured salinity along the melting pack ice north of the Bering Strait.
In September, on a mission for NASA, two Saildrones headed into equatorial waters to test whether they might be useful in forecasting El Niño events.
About twenty have been built so far by Saildrone, Inc. in Alameda, California.
Rather than being sold like Wave Gliders, Saildrones are hired—deployed and remotely controlled by the company to gather data on behalf of government agencies, universities and other clients at a cost of $2,500 per day.

Both Wave Glider and Saildrone can perform fundamental ocean science tasks that must otherwise be done by research ships costing $35,000 per day and up.
Marine drones are already supplementing, and might eventually replace, the scores of expensive-to-maintain moored buoys that monitor weather and detect tsunamis.
But Wave Glider and Saildrone function only at or slightly below the surface.
Taking the ocean’s pulse at depth requires an undersea rover such as Seaglider.

At a dockside lab in Honolulu, where the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa keeps its oceanographic research vessels, electronics engineer Steve Poulos services and operates the three Seagliders UH has owned for a little over a decade.
Lying in a cradle is one of the sleek, five-foot-long Seagliders; it looks like a cartoon rocket ship, with a pointed nose, swept-back wings and an antenna for its tail.
Originally developed by the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Seaglider is marketed today by Kongsberg Maritime.
Some 175 have been sold for around $160,000, plus instrumentation.

Seaglider uses changes in buoyancy to dive and create propulsion.
Part of its inner hull is an oil-filled bladder that can expand and contract.
When it’s floating at the surface, oil is released into an internal reservoir; the bladder contracts, reducing the volume of water displaced by the hull, and the Seaglider sinks.
The wings tip it forward, and it dives along a slope of ten to forty-five degrees to a maximum depth of 3,300 feet, recording salinity, temperature, density and other properties along the way.
To surface, oil is fed back into the bladder, which increases Seaglider’s buoyancy.
It slowly ascends while continuing to move forward.

“Every time it’s back on the surface, it phones home,” says Poulos.
It raises its antenna, reports its position, uploads its data and checks for new commands via satellite.
After a few minutes, Seaglider is ready to dive again, repeatedly for days and weeks.
It isn’t equipped with solar cells, but the energy demand on its lithium batteries is so low that typical missions last several months.

There are a number of other undersea robots in operation, notably Slocum Glider and Spray, which differ slightly in how they alter buoyancy.
A more recently commercialized British wave-powered surface robot, the AutoNaut, has a very different design from Wave Glider.

Propelled by wave motion and powered by solar cells, a Wave Glider can remain at sea for months at a time, recording temperature, salinity, air pressure, humidity and winds via sensors installed on its surface float.

Surface and deep-sea drones sometimes complement each other.
Back on shore at Kawaihae, following our swim with the Wave Glider, Shaver recalls how, in 2010, after the BP oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, “we started doing water quality monitoring in a pretty large area with four to six Wave Gliders.”
At the same time, a Seaglider was used to detect oil pollution deep below.
Wave Gliders and Saildrones have both worked to track the movements of large ocean creatures.
Marine biologist Barbara Block of Stanford University tracked great white sharks off California with a Wave Glider.
Scientists from Dalhousie University have deployed Wave Gliders to track endangered Atlantic right whales off Nova Scotia.
Last summer a Saildrone spent weeks following tagged female fur seals in the Bering Sea when they left their pups on remote St. Paul Island to feed.
Once, a young seal climbed aboard and hitched a ride (a Saildrone camera captured the scene).

In Hawai‘i, Seagliders have become an important tool for UH oceanographers, expanding their reach and providing a more refined picture of the undersea environment.
One focus is Station Aloha, an area of deep ocean sixty miles north of O‘ahu.
Nearly every month since the 1980s, UH research ships have spent several days there creating an invaluable, decades-long data set.
Since 2008, Seagliders have been sent out to the larger surrounding area every few months to record a variety of physical and biological properties at differing depths.
These missions, often lasting two months or longer, generate a wealth of basic data in three dimensions and over a prolonged time frame.

Wave Gliders provide an essential link to connect seafloor to space nearly anywhere in the ocean.
See how the Wave Glider relays information from underwater back to shore.

Wave Glider was conceived by entrepreneur Joe Rizzi, who wanted a device to record singing humpback whales.
Rizzi along with engineers Derek and Roger Hine, tested models in aquariums and swimming pools.
“Bit by bit,” says Roger, “we ended up with a ocean vehicle that could hold station, collect data and communicate the singing of the whales to shore!”

Benedetto Barone, a UH scientist who specializes in microbial oceanography, relies heavily on Seaglider.
He studies biological processes in the sea, such as photosynthesis, and their impact on microscopic organisms critical to the food web.
“My primary interest,” he says, “is how the motion of water impacts the life within that water.”
The ocean around Station Aloha is moving almost constantly, as great rotating eddies a hundred miles across or larger sweep slowly past, some churning clockwise, others counterclockwise.
“They are the most important motions in the ocean,” Barone says, affecting, for example, sea surface height, which can vary by five or more inches above or below average.
This, in turn, has surprisingly strong effects on phytoplankton production even hundreds of feet below.
Barone likens these ocean vortices to hurricanes or typhoons in the atmosphere.
His computer displays dramatic false-color images of these huge pelagic storms, which Seagliders are uniquely suited to studying.
Barone can ask Poulos to program a Seaglider to sail back and forth across the interface between these great eddies for months, weaving a cat’s cradle of survey lines.
Each dive uses sensors like the chlorophyll fluorometer to measure the biomass of phytoplankton at different depths in the water column, generating a high-definition, three-dimensional picture of where food production is concentrated.
This could never be done from a stationary ship or one cruising through for only a few days.

The coming decades will likely see thousands of marine drones patrolling, or holding station, at every watery longitude and latitude.
“There is very high demand,” says Saildrone COO Sebastien de Halleux, “and no shortage of countries and populations that have the same questions” about marine science.
“Everyone is developing their own niches.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible.”

Links :

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Mappers look to chart world's ocean floor by 2030


From Reuters by Jonathan Saul

Using data collected from underwater drones, merchant ships, fishing boats and even explorers, a new scientific project aims to map the ocean floor by 2030 and solve one of the world’s enduring mysteries.

With 190 million square km (73 million square miles) of water - or about 93 percent of the world’s oceans with a depth of over 200 meters (650 feet) - yet to be charted, the initiative is ambitious.

Depth regions based on state-of-the-art 2° × 2° deep-water multibeam installed on surface vessels

Satinder Bindra, director of the Seabed 2030 project, said the work can be completed within the period and will shed light on everything from tsunami wave patterns to pollution, fishing movements, shipping navigation and unknown mineral deposits.
“We know more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than our own backyard. This in the 21st century is something that we are working to correct,” Bindra told Reuters.
“For too long now we have treated our own oceans as a forgotten frontier.”

The project is a collaboration between Japan’s philanthropic Nippon Foundation and GEBCO, a non-profit association of experts that is already involved in charting the ocean floor. GEBCO operates under the International Hydrographic Organization and UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency.
“We are not driven by profit, we are driven by science,” Bindra said.
“There’s unanimity within the scientific and the mapping community that a map is essential.”

Still, the ocean economy is expected directly to contribute $3 trillion to the world economy by 2030 from $1.5 trillion in 2010, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The initiative has received support from Dutch deep-sea energy prospector Fugro, which was involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared in 2014. Fugro has contributed 65,000 square km of data.


An image of the ocean floor is seen in this graphic received via Henry Gilliver of the Nippon Foundation - GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project (Copyright Fugro), in London, Britain May 22, 2018.
The image shows color coded bathymetry showing seamounts on the seabed. Henry Gilliver of the Nippon Foundation - GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project (Copyright Fugro)/Handout via REUTERS


Ocean Infinity, which has taken up the search for MH370, is another company contributing to the 2030 initiative.

Bindra said they are also looking to tap research missions as well as explorers searching for sunken wrecks together with data pulled from ships, fishing boats and commercial companies.

The project, which has an estimated cost of $3 billion, will leave waters closer to shore to national research bodies. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is separately supporting the initiative.

One potential problem such exploratory research could face would be from rising geopolitical tensions in sensitive waters around the world including the South China Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

An image of the ocean floor is seen in this graphic received via Henry Gilliver of the Nippon Foundation - GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project (Copyright Fugro), in London, Britain May 22, 2018.
The image shows a side scan sonar image of a sunken vessel on a seabed.
Henry Gilliver of the Nippon Foundation - GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project (Copyright Fugro)/Handout via REUTERS

“By being open in our data sharing, we are also hoping that national hydrographic organizations will start sharing their data and closer to shore,” Bindra said.
Bindra said the data obtained from the multiple sources would be pulled together by experts at four centers around the world and then collated at Britain’s National Oceanography Center, adding that they planned to produce their first bathymetric map by the end of 2018 and update it annually.

Peter Thomson, the U.N. secretary general’s special envoy for the ocean, said he was “very aware ... of the mineral aspects” of exploring the seabed, adding that the main charting activity would be from the scientific community.
“The United Nations has adopted a resolution to have a decade of ocean science for sustainable development running from 2021 to 2030. And during that decade I’m very confident we will have totally mapped the floor of the ocean.”

Links :

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bolivia is landlocked. Don't tell that to its navy

Sailors who join Bolivia's navy don't see much of the world.
They've been land locked by the Andes mountains of South America for the past 125 years.
That's when Bolivia went to war with neighbouring Chile and lost access to the Pacific Ocean.

From Wired by Laura Mallonee

In the US, joining the navy means getting to see the world. But in Bolivia, recruits just hope they might one day get to see the ocean.

That’s because this landlocked country doesn’t have access to one.
At least, not anymore: During the War of the Pacific, a land fight with Chile that lasted from 1879 to 1883, Bolivia ceded all 250 miles of its coastline.
It's a devastating loss; officials still describe it as a "historical injustice," and Bolivians mark the official Day of the Sea each March.

Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Bolivia and Chile of 1904$
Bolivia is not reconciled to the loss.
The poorest country in South America, it blames its plight largely on its landlocked condition  

In fact, the country never stopped trying to get its shoreline back, arguing that lack of direct access to the sea has hurt Bolivia's economy.
The country can use Chilean ports, through which it sends two-thirds of its trade, but that’s little consolation when it used to have its own.
In 2013, the government brought its grievance to the International Court of Justice, hoping the Hague will order Chile—with whom it broke full diplomatic relations 40 years ago—to negotiate.

“The ocean and its reclamation is still very much at the front of Bolivia’s national psyche,” says Nick Ballon, a British photographer of Bolivian descent. Ballon plumbs this national obsession in his fascinating series Navy Without A Sea.

Simply by existing, the navy is the physical embodiment of Bolivia’s refusal to give up.
The government established the Armada Boliviana in 1963, acquiring four US patrol boats.
Today its humble fleet includes speedboats, tankers and other vessels, some cast-offs from China.
“The fleet they keep is bruised and battered, and they’d be the first to admit they could probably do with some newer craft,” Ballon says.

Lake Titicaca is a 3,200-square-mile body of water that straddles Bolivia's western border with Peru. It's the biggest lake in South America by water volume.
The Strait of Tiquina, pictured here, connects the lower and upper portions of the lake.
photo : Nick Ballon

But they’re more than just the military equivalent of those garage-sale skis you’ll never use.
The navy’s 5,000 troops navigate water wherever they can, sailing the country’s Amazonian rivers and Lake Titicaca, a 3,200-square-mile body of water more than two miles above sea level where Jacques Cousteau once scubaed for Inca treasure.
And its work is important: It fights drug traffickers, delivers medical supplies to remote communities and responds to disasters. Troops even joined one UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Ballon became intrigued by Bolivia’s relationship with water after the Cochabamba Water War of 2000.
His father is Bolivian and lived there, so he began visiting several times a year to work on a long-term project called The Bitter Sea.
“Photography was my door to the country," he says, "which led to a deeper understanding of its people and land."

1864 Johnson's Venezuela, New Granada, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia, Chili and Guana by Johnson and Ward


Map of Bolivia and Peru before the War of Pacific, published in New York, 1878

In October 2016, after a full year of petitioning access, he and his assistant took a four-hour minivan shuttle from La Paz through the arid central Andes to San Pedro de Tiquina.
There, a white-uniformed captain handed them life jackets before steering them 20 minutes up a narrow strait to to the Tiquina Naval Base on frigid Lake Titicaca.
A statue of Bolivian war hero Eduardo Albaroa—whose last words “Surrender?
Your grandmother should surrender, fuck!” are quoted throughout Bolivia—stood near its entrance, with the assurance, “What once was ours, will be ours once more.”

Ballon embedded at the base for a full week, spending most his time documenting teenage female recruits undergoing a 13-week tactical course at a high-altitude diving training center.
Their mornings began bright and early with intense physical training and a grueling swim class in an unheated swimming pool, followed by classes on scuba theory.
But to Ballon, the most fascinating element was the preparations for the base’s 48th anniversary celebration: engineers spent days polishing up the boats and tying ropes into ornate, seaworthy knots.
Hundreds of troops in blue naval uniforms and white caps marched day and night to songs like “We Will Recover Our Sea."
“It was incessant,” Ballon says.

His images, beautifully photographed with a medium format camera, capture the recruits swimming, floating, and practicing their maneuvers against a marine backdrop so enormous that on hazy days it almost looks like a sea.
One day, they hope, it will be.

Links :

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fluorescent coral glows in the depth of the ocean

These corals can absorb ultraviolet light and glow in the dark.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Planet or plastics : what happens to the plastic we throw away, a teachers toolkit

We are drowning in plastic—click to enlarge!
Map by Jason Treat, National Geographic

From National Geographic

Scroll through how tons of trash travels from inland trash heaps to oceanic garbage patches. (National Geographic)

Use our terrific activities to follow the “tremendous travels of trash” and the “perils of plastic.”

Discussion Ideas

How does so much trash end up in the middle of the ocean?
- directly.
Trash is often accidentally dumped directly into the ocean from shore or, more often, from ships.
Most plastic in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is discarded industrial fishing gear.
Container ships also lose tons of cargo in the ocean every year, as they are tossed and turned by hazardous high seas and unsecured containers slip overboard.
Use our activity “Mapping Ocean Currents” to understand how a 1992 cargo ship spill ended up dumping nearly 92,000 rubber ducks into the Pacific Ocean.
- indirectly.
Most marine debris is actually land-based, and ends up in the ocean indirectly.
Rainwater ushers mismanaged waste from land into local waterways, which feed into larger tributaries and rivers, which in turn empty into oceans.
In this way, plastic from far inland can travel many miles to the coastline.”
According to some sources, just ten rivers contribute 95% of river-based ocean pollution.


These plastic bottles illustrate how humans discard a shocking amount of plastic waste into the environment.

Most ocean plastic is labeled “mismanaged plastic waste.”
What is mismanaged plastic waste?
Mismanaged plastic waste is defined as waste that doesn’t make its way to proper receptacles, either intentionally or accidentally.

Mismanaged plastic waste tends to be higher in the developing world. Why?
Many developing countries are more likely to lack a centralized waste-disposal system.
Manila, Philippines, for example, is the urban area addressed in the Nat Geo article.
Manila “has a metropolitan garbage-collection system that stretches across 17 separate local governments—a source of chaos and inefficiency.
In 2004 the region was already running out of land to safely dump garbage.
The shortage of landfill space, and thus the crisis, continues today.”
The Pasig River, which runs through Manila and feeds Manila Bay, is one of the most polluted waterways on Earth.

Once plastic enters a marine environment, how does it travel thousands of miles through the open ocean?
- ocean currents and gyres.
The ocean is a network of currents, cycling nutrients and energy around the world. It can cycle plastic, too.
Take a look at our map for a lovely outline of ocean currents.
Tides and currents transport debris to ocean gyres.
Gyres are powerful currents that rotate in enormous circles.
Waste that is caught in a gyre spins in relatively stable areas, known as ocean “garbage patches.” Take a look at our beautiful map of the ugly problem of the five gyres.


How can individuals prevent plastic pollution?
Take the pledge. Sign up to receive helpful tips from National Geographic about how to reduce single-use plastics.
Consume less plastic. Reduce the amount of single-use plastics you consume: water and soda bottles, straws, plastic bags, coffee stirrers, lids, laminated plastic containers.
A huge amount of food packaging is single-use plastic.
Make smart decisions about buying products with excess packaging—try to avoid those cute individual containers held within larger containers.
Recycle. In addition to recycling plastics that you use, try to actively look for products made from recycled materials.
Think globally, act locally.
See how your local community is relying on single-use plastic, and try to address that specific issue.
Are students filling garbage bins with plastic packaging from lunch?
Does your school have mismanaged plastic waste? Use our activity to help guide a school-site cleanup and apply its lessons in a global context.
Are neighborhood coffee shops offering incentives to customers who bring their own cups and straws?
Does your school have a recycling program?
Are local grocery and convenience stores offering incentives to encourage customers to bring their own bags?
How permeable are the storm drains in your neighborhood?
Do they effectively filter out large plastic trash?
This could be a great Geo-Inquiry project.
Vote. Support local, state, and federal laws that encourage conservation and punish pollution.
Support local, state, and federal representatives who make protecting the environment a part of their platform.
Contact your local officials to ask how they are working to reduce our reliance on plastics, and help them come up with local solutions to local problems.

TEACHERS TOOLKIT

Nat Geo : Source to Sea
Nat Geo: What Happens to the Plastic We Throw Out?
Nat Geo: The Tremendous Travels of Trash
Nat Geo: Perils of Plastic
Nat Geo: Mapping Ocean Currents
Nat Geo: Marine Debris: A Legacy of Litter
Nat Geo: Plastic Accumulation in Ocean Gyres
Nat Geo: Planet or Plastic? Take the Pledge
Nat Geo: The Geo-Inquiry Process

Links :