Page 84 of the Girl Scout book Wow, World of Water sent quite a wave of alarm through my daughter’s Brownie Troop. On page 84 is a story about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The story says that the world’s largest dump floats in the Pacific Ocean and contains more than 100 million tons of garbage, mostly plastics. The garbage patch occupies a large, calm region of ocean surrounded by prevailing currents that form the North Pacific Gyre. A gyre is any large system of rotating ocean currents. These circular currents draw in floating debris in the same way a whirlpool created by children swimming in a circle draws leaves and dirt into the center of a swimming pool.
The Brownies were upset by the idea of a floating dump “the size of Texas.” When they read that more than 1 million animals die each year because they become entangled in floating plastic or they mistake plastic for food and eat it, they were moved to action. I heard the question that has started many a movement for change: “What can we do to help?” The girls held an impromptu planning session and decided to make posters about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and ask the principal of their elementary school if they could hang them up in a hall at school. Change starts with a step. Just one small act can make a difference. Three hundred students pass those posters each day. If one child stops to read them and is moved to recycle one plastic bottle or to start using a reusable bottle, then one less bottle makes it into the ocean and perhaps one less animal dies.
Let the Brownies and Barking Frog Farm know about the steps you are taking to make the planet a healthier place for all of us.