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How's this for a provocative headline: 'The Ocean Isn't Full of Plastic'

By: Don Loepp

April 15, 2013

Wallace "J." Nichols has an attention-grabbing post today: "The Ocean Isn't Full of Plastic."

Nichols argues that reports that make the world's oceans sound like they are on their deathbed -- from plastic pollution, oil spills and other serious problems -- are exaggerated. The problem, he believes, is that if the public believes the hyperbole, then people may not believe that they can do something about the real issues.

Again, let me emphasize that he's not saying that plastic pollution is not a problem. "The task ahead of fixing what we've broken in nature is daunting and urgent," he writes. "But when we use language that makes it seem like the ocean is already a lifeless cesspool of plastic and oil, we aren't doing the blue movement any favors. We are un-inspiring the next generation of ocean warriors."

That's an important point.

On plastics, specifically, Nichols writes:

"The ocean is not full of plastic. Although we do have a global problem with our addiction to this relatively new "wonder" substance and it can be found increasingly on beaches, floating around in every ocean, and with regularity inside wild animals, it doesn't fill the ocean yet and there is no giant plastic island in the middle of the Pacific. Nor is there an easy techno-fix to clean up the existing mess, despite the latest science-contest winning proposals suggesting the contrary."

Nichols' Huffington Post biography describes him as a "scientist, activist, community organizer, author and dad." For more on Nichols, check out his blog.