Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Bits of Plastic"

I've been reading this book called The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Like the title says, it's about what the Earth would be like if humans vanished right now. Among the many things it mentions is a disturbing little fact: The plastic we toss into the ocean doesn't really break down, it just gets smaller. In fact, while being tossed about and mashed up by waves and wind, it gets small enough to be consumed by the tiny animals that most of the ocean's food chain is based on -- krill. Also, about 20% of the world's beaches is ground up plastic bits, thrown back onto the shore by the ocean we dumped it in.

I found this kind of disturbing. So I did what I usually do when confronted by a crisis. I wrote a poem.

Bits of Plastic

Bits of plastic in the sand
Left there by the hand of man
One fifth of the total weight
Is plastic on the beach to date
On every beach from shore to shore
And every day we're adding more

The plastic in the trash you toss
Won't decompose like wood or moss
It breaks up into little bits
And into little mouths it fits

Chorus
Bits of plastic in the sand
Left there by the hand of man
On every beach from shore to shore
And every day we're adding more

Zooplankton, shrimp and krill
Every mouth will plastic fill
The destiny in plastic's tale
Is in the belly of a whale

Chorus
Bits of plastic in the sand
Left there by the hand of man
On every beach from shore to shore
And every day we're adding more

Think "belly up" won't be your fate?
Just ask yourself what's on your plate!
Plastic ground up by the waves
Will be the stuff that fills our graves

Chorus
Bits of plastic in the sand
Left there by the hand of man
On every beach from shore to shore
And every day we're adding more

Yes, plastic in the ocean blue
Is coming home to me and you

Chorus
Bits of plastic in the sand
Left there by the hand of man
On every beach from shore to shore
And every day we're adding more
And every day we're adding more
And every day we're adding more!


It came out pretty well, I think. It's got a nice rhythm to it. Try reading it with a sort of calypso/reggae/Jimmy Buffett beat to it.

2 comments:

Pedro Pinheiro said...

Ben,
Brilliant. And you ruined my day. With the crisis I'm going through, the only thing I've come up with is a lousy joke. Which only geneticists will understand. And not all will find funny. :-)

(really, the poem/song is brilliant!!)
Pedro

Ben & Nicky Ide said...

Thanks, Pedro.

And I'll try to come up with something a little funnier next time.