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Plastic Albatross Crisis – Michelle Laporte

This was a side project that was a small 3 minute presentation about something I was very passionate about.

When I was in elementary school, I read this book called “ The story of a seagull and a cat who taught her how to fly.” I still remember loving the book and being so inspired by it. Actually, this book is what really inspired my to look more into oil spill for my sustainable system project. The rough summary of the book is about a seagull that dives into the ocean water for food but being caught in the oil slick. She struggles and finally manages to get out of it, and lands on a nearby port next to a cat. The seagull dies very soon from the oil weighing her down, but manages to lay her egg and gets promises from the cat that he would protect the egg and teach the baby seagull how to fly. The beginning part where the mother seagull has to die made me think about the project I’m working on. But what I wanted to focus for this presentation is related to a small sub story from this book. I remember the cat telling the baby seagull a story of the albatross. When these birds are young, they become an easy target to preys and even laughter because of their enormous wings. They can’t make use of their huge wings when they are a baby, so they become only a nuisance. However, as the albatross is ready to fly, their enormous wings help them fly even in the nastiest storms when no other birds can fly.

From this beautiful description, I was very intrigued by this bird. That is why I researched about how they were dying off and learned so much new facts.

  • Of the 22 species, 17 are endangered
  • Depends heavily on the ocean for food due to longer travels across the water
  • Plastic islands are luring the birds
  • “Every single albatross in this landscape has been fed plastic” – Matt Brown, US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • These birds pick up bright colored plastic and bring it to their young to feed them
  • Scientist found plastic in 97% of dead Albatross chicks, and more than 89% of dead adult birds
  • A new study reveals that by 2050, 99% of seabirds will likely have indigestible pieces of plastic trash in their bellies.
  • Plastic water bottles take 450 years to decompose
  • Fishing lines and nets can take up to 600 years
  • Up to 1 millions birds die from eating plastic
  • There was a 67% decrease in seabird population between 1920 and 2010

On top of that, there were possible solutions people could apply to their daily lives:

  • Decrease use of plastics
    • Especially the single use plastics
    • Water bottles are bad
  • Look for different alternatives
    • Mycelium
    • Bioplastic
  • Reusable lifestyle

These beautiful birds are dying off and I was very eager to spread the word on how our mindless use of plastic was killing off a whole species.

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