Mikael of ImpeachforPeace

March 4, 2010

Remembering Mikael of Impeach for Peace

Filed under: Impeach for Peace — Jodin @ 3:24 am

Friends of Impeach for Peace

Today I am writing with sad news about Mikael Rudolph, co-founder of ImpeachforPeace. Mikael had been struggling with cancer for some time and passed away last Friday.

Mikael was a talented mime, vaudevillian, and dance teacher. But the side of Mikael that those with Impeach for Peace saw, was that of a political activist. Mikael put great effort into opposing war crimes, resisting our country’s torture policies, advocating for the end of the war in Iraq, and more. Through his efforts at Impeach for Peace, he not only found meaning for his life but also helped others to organize towards a better world. And, if Mikael had done nothing else, this would represent a worthy legacy.

Mikael was a good friend of mine, and I’ll miss him dearly. My favorite memories are of his involvement in Patriots for Corporate Rights. He and several of our common friends satirized the corporate interests of our country in street protests and on radio. This brought Mikael the performer and Mikael the protester together. If you are interested in seeing or hearing some of those moments, you can find them at CorporateRights.org

Mikael’s main political efforts went into Impeach for Peace (ImpeachForPeace.org) and World Can’t Wait (http://WorldCantWait.org) where he held meetings, marched in the street, called radio programs, blogged furiously, organized protests, met with congressional leaders, handed out leaflets and anything else he felt might stir the pot. Mikael spoke of how his activist inspiration was due in part to his mother’s legacy. She had fought for the rights of Japanese Americans interned during WW II.

Details of services being held for Mikael can be found at MikaelTheMime.com. I have included his obituary below.

I know that Mikael would have approved of my making following suggestion. If, in the coming days, the current political state of affairs frustrates you, or inspires you, take the time to act on it. Call or write a congress person, refuse to spend your money with big corporations, join a march–or start one! That’s how I’ll chose to remember and honor Mikael.

Jodin Morey
Cofounder, Impeach for Peace

MIKAEL JONATHAN RUDOLPH, 51, of Minneapolis (native to Bainbridge Island, WA) died peacefully in his home on February 26th following a courageous six-month battle with Therapy Related Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Mikael was a beloved mime and vaudeville performer well-known to audiences at renaissance and fringe festivals, churches and schools nationwide. He taught swing, salsa and ballroom dance in the Twin Cities and was a political activist who co-founded Impeach For Peace and worked tirelessly with others toward political reform. He is preceded in death by cat Louie, sister Kristi, and parents John and Natalie. He is survived by brother James, nephew Zephyr, nieces Jamila, Rio and Trinity, great-niece Aliyah, cats Ash, Moxie and Jabo, and many friends who love him. Memorials preferred to Visitation Monastery of Minneapolis or RESCU Foundation. Memorial service details to follow at www.mikaelthemime.com <http://www.mikaelthemime.com>.


March 3, 2009

Letterman eviserates Limbaugh during Couric interview

Filed under: liberal/conservative — Mikael @ 4:16 pm


October 17, 2008

Obama supporters physically attacked at Palin rally in New Hampshire

Filed under: News — Mikael @ 10:57 am

Obama: “Don’t boo now, just vote!”


October 4, 2008

Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart… priceless…

Filed under: Impeach for Peace — Mikael @ 2:56 am

palinflow.gif

by Aden Renkai, via Political Wire (thanks Teresa Nielsen Hayden!).

(Source)


October 1, 2008

Palin/Couric interview – complete with “cringe moments”

Filed under: Climate Change,liberal/conservative — Mikael @ 2:18 am

I was more impressed with Sarah Palin in this interview than any I had seen previously, which isn’t saying that much, but I wanted to give her a chance because I was asked nicely by a respectable online adversary from my blog.

Thank you, Earl.

I can see how her frankness and her readiness to engage in conversation can be endearing and attractive. I was pulled in a little… until the inevitable flurry of ‘cringe moments’ that has even some conservatives calling for her to remove herself from the McCain ticket.



I was surprised to hear her say she considered herself a feminist – her absolute, under-all-circumstances anti-abortion stance notwithstanding. She maintains that tenet based upon the morality she holds as an evangelical christian, as contradictory as it may seem to most feminists.

It is an underlying hypocrisy for her to claim, as she did in this interview, that nobody who gets an abortion should ever wind up in jail when she would like to see Roe v. Wade reversed, thus making participating in abortion a federal crime.

She also didn’t seem to understand, despite Couric’s gentle prodding, that the “Morning After Pill” is a contraceptive device that prevents conception from taking place. Her opposition to it seemed based upon an uninformed perception of how it works.*

[*See comments below for further discussion on the difference between contraception and abortion and where the "Morning After Pill" fits into that debate.]

Palin wasn’t swayed by the fact that offshore drilling and tapping into ANWAR will have a negligible affect on our overall oil supply in the long run and not at all for up to ten years. She claimed to adhere to an “all of the above” energy policy yet clung to her rally cry that “Drill, Baby, Drill” constituted an acceptable national energy policy.

Her acceptance of the scientific facts that global warming exists and human activity is a contributing factor and that evolution should be taught as an accepted scientific principle in our schools came as a relief. But then she played down the fact that human activities were a major culprit in global warming and claimed that we needed to focus on dealing with the symptoms of global warming without worrying about the reasons for it.

If human activity is a cause, then human activity must be adjusted to redirect the course of climate change. This is something that she either doesn’t understand, or is in denial about due perhaps to a dedication to oil and gas industry supporters.

The following exchange was especially priceless, and appears to reveal Palin’s personal history to be one devoid of investment over time in reading and researching the major challenges our nation and the world are grappling with as we have entered the 21st century. This apparent lack of intellectual curiosity or dedication to knowledge throw light on the reasons for Palin’s very thin grasp of major national and international issues – a lifetime shortcoming that a few short weeks of desperate cramming by the McCain campaign could not possibly have brought her up to speed on:

Couric: “And when it comes to establishing your World View, I was curious… what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were ‘tapped’ for this to stay informed and to understand the world?”

Palin: “I read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media…”

Couric: “Like what ones specifically, I’m curious that you…?”

Palin: “Um… all of ‘em.. any of ‘em that, um, have been in front of me over all these years, ummm… I have a vast…”

Couric: “Can you name a few?”

Palin: “…I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country where it’s kinda suggested… It seems like… ‘Wow… how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington DC may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska.’ Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America!”

If Governor Palin had answered the question and at some point mentioned The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, The National Review, The Conservative, The Nation, even The Drudge Report for gosh sakes, I would sense a track record of at least attempting to stay informed over the years.

Am I being too cynical when I think perhaps Field & Stream, Redbook, Good Housekeeping , Reader’s Digest, the Kabela’s Catalogue and a daily bible verse may not be the best preparation for the nation’s second highest office?

Do I want her to be a ‘heartbeat away’ from the Presidency. Uh… no. Not a chance. And the more national exposure she gets, the more America is coming to the same conclusion.

Nice lady.

Not a qualified candidate.

(Source)


September 29, 2008

Palin the “Post Turtle”

Filed under: Impeach for Peace — Mikael @ 5:22 pm

This has been floating around the internet and is just too good not to share:

~~~

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, who’s hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Palin and her bid.

The old rancher said, “Well, ya know, Palin is a ‘Post Turtle’”.

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was, the old rancher said, “When you’re driving down a country road you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a ‘post turtle”.

The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor’s face so he continued to explain. “You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t belong up there, and she doesn’t know what to do while she’s up there, and you just wonder what kind of dummy put her up there to begin with”.


September 14, 2008

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

Filed under: liberal/conservative — Mikael @ 10:50 pm

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.
All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.
Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor. Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune. It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university. Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

(Original Article)


September 4, 2008

Truth about Sarah “Barracuda” Palin from someone who knows

Filed under: liberal/conservative — Mikael @ 4:12 pm

Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in common: their gender and their good looks. :)

You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .

Thanks,
Anne

ABOUT SARAH PALIN

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because she is a “babe”.

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She’s smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and
increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure
that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t
fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozencontacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law.
She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiaitive [sic] that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.

CLAIM VS FACT
*”Hockey mom”: true for a few years

*”PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since *”NRA supporter”: absolutely true *social
conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that
would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).

*pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.

*”Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation

*”Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.

*political maverick: not at all

*gutsy: absolutely!

*open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.

*has a developed philosophy of public policy: no

*”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected
parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.

*fiscal conservative: not by my definition!

*pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.

*pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden
on residents

*pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.

*pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

CAVEATS
I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted
for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90′s.

Anne Kilkenny
annekilkenny@hotmail.com
August 31, 2008


August 3, 2008

[Music Video]: The Truth Has God on Its Side

Filed under: Impeach for Peace — Mikael @ 8:08 pm


July 17, 2008

The world’s rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan

Filed under: Climate Change — Mikael @ 5:13 pm

05RubbishGraphic_15022a.jpgThe Independent

By Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent, and Daniel Howden
Tuesday, 5 February 2008

A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex”, believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: “The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States.”

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer and leading authority on flotsam, has tracked the build-up of plastics in the seas for more than 15 years and compares the trash vortex to a living entity: “It moves around like a big animal without a leash.” When that animal comes close to land, as it does at the Hawaiian archipelago, the results are dramatic. “The garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic,” he added.

The “soup” is actually two linked areas, either side of the islands of Hawaii, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. About one-fifth of the junk – which includes everything from footballs and kayaks to Lego blocks and carrier bags – is thrown off ships or oil platforms. The rest comes from land.

Mr Moore, a former sailor, came across the sea of waste by chance in 1997, while taking a short cut home from a Los Angeles to Hawaii yacht race. He had steered his craft into the “North Pacific gyre” – a vortex where the ocean circulates slowly because of little wind and extreme high pressure systems. Usually sailors avoid it.

He was astonished to find himself surrounded by rubbish, day after day, thousands of miles from land. “Every time I came on deck, there was trash floating by,” he said in an interview. “How could we have fouled such a huge area? How could this go on for a week?”

Mr Moore, the heir to a family fortune from the oil industry, subsequently sold his business interests and became an environmental activist. He warned yesterday that unless consumers cut back on their use of disposable plastics, the plastic stew would double in size over the next decade.

Professor David Karl, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii, said more research was needed to establish the size and nature of the plastic soup but that there was “no reason to doubt” Algalita’s findings.

“After all, the plastic trash is going somewhere and it is about time we get a full accounting of the distribution of plastic in the marine ecosystem and especially its fate and impact on marine ecosystems.”

Professor Karl is co-ordinating an expedition with Algalita in search of the garbage patch later this year and believes the expanse of junk actually represents a new habitat. Historically, rubbish that ends up in oceanic gyres has biodegraded. But modern plastics are so durable that objects half-a-century old have been found in the north Pacific dump. “Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere,” said Tony Andrady, a chemist with the US-based Research Triangle Institute.

Mr Moore said that because the sea of rubbish is translucent and lies just below the water’s surface, it is not detectable in satellite photographs. “You only see it from the bows of ships,” he said.

According to the UN Environment Programme, plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Syringes, cigarette lighters and toothbrushes have been found inside the stomachs of dead seabirds, which mistake them for food.

Plastic is believed to constitute 90 per cent of all rubbish floating in the oceans. The UN Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic,

Dr Eriksen said the slowly rotating mass of rubbish-laden water poses a risk to human health, too. Hundreds of millions of tiny plastic pellets, or nurdles – the raw materials for the plastic industry – are lost or spilled every year, working their way into the sea. These pollutants act as chemical sponges attracting man-made chemicals such as hydrocarbons and the pesticide DDT. They then enter the food chain. “What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It’s that simple,” said Dr Eriksen.

(Original Article)


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