28 June 2009

Homo plasticus

I've been reading The World Without Us. It's an odd book, a thought experiment based on the unlikely premise that human beings suddenly disappear from the face of the planet. But the book does provide, indirectly, a useful examination of the outcome of our current technological experiment. The most startling chapter from the first half of the book is the one dealing with plastics. They evidently hit the oceans and then keep breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces (which virtually take forever to completely breakdown) and then end up increasingly in the guts of animals. It's disturbing that such plastics are consistently found below the surface of the ocean even in farflung places like the arctic.