Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash is a non-fictional work written by Edward Humes, in which he demonstrates the effects of waste which human’s have relentlessly produced over the previous decades. In chapter 6, Nerds vs. Nurdles, Humes exhibits the damage that half a century of careless consumption has had on the environment and ecosystems. Our society today has been blind to its surroundings as a product of consumer apathy and does not realize the detrimental effects of our wasting until it is too large a task to resolve. Society neglects to think beyond the extent of the present and the potential consequences and harms materials could bring once we decided that it is no longer beneficial and toss them out. Scientists cannot even begin to predict the approximate amount of plastic nurdles that floats within the ocean. Without any awareness of the amount of trash, it makes the mission of cleaning the ocean impossible. An individual’s never satisfied hunger for the newest technology continually swells the ocean with increasing plastic.
Synthetic material is viewed as a necessity for making everyday life easier. Ironically, plastic gradually finds a path back to harm society that appreciates it so greatly. Through bio-magnification, plastic finds a way back to humans through the consumption of seafood; additionally humans ingest chemicals from synthetics which aquatic animals previously consumed. As plastic remains in the oceans it will continually find a path up the food chain, consequently humans will inescapably ingest their own trash through fish and crustaceans which occupy large portions of daily diets. Consumers also avoid the most detrimental aspect of ocean dumping, the result it has on phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that account for virtually 50% of oxygen. By blindly consuming and creating more garbage, civilization is inadvertently suffocating itself.
The lacks of concern consumers and producers have for disposal methods are not sustainable and will eventually falter. Humes discusses nurdles in the ocean in order to encourage action amongst individuals to diminish their ecological impact by the waste created through excess consumption. As Humes inspires action amongst people he additionally unveils the irony behind our blind consumption and the potential dangers. He proposes the idea that our selfish thinking and irresponsible trash production is causing the greatest harm to ourselves. When reading Chapter 6, I was both astonished and awed. Moreover I began imagining an image of garbage all around spanning 1,200 miles and how long it would have taken to accumulate such a collection. It is such a baffling thought that in such an enormous surface could be completely covered, and that in every direction there would be no other sight other than trash, simply due to ignorance. It is difficult to disagree with the claims that Humes develops, frankly it does affects us all. I agree that countries must mutually take responsibility for the trash floating about, as it was not simple made by one specific country, but by everyone.
Like Humes advises, we must stop thinking as individuals and it is essential that we alter our own habits of consumption. Chapter 6 stood out especially because of the direct effects Humes displays. Initially I felt distant from the issues suggested, but Nerds vs. Nurdles proved that bio-magnification and the unintentional killing of phytoplankton harms all. These miniscule creatures that I have learned about during biology classes, surprising play a large role in synthesizing oxygen, what is essential to our lives. Consumer’s expectations that their continual culture of wasting lifestyles are deemed acceptable are unrealistic as it places strains on garbage removal companies, because it disregards the impractical disposal methods we have, thus harming the environment. We as humans all have a responsibility in the imminent problem of trash. We are living lavishly having numerous products at our disposal at all times, this has caused our society to become wasteful, selfish and most importantly, careless.
Humes achieves awareness amongst his readers that our belief of “out of sight and out of mind” not being sustainable and we have taken our environment for granted. Humes relies largely on professional opinion and research findings within chapter 6, interviewing with Miriam Goldstein concerning the gyre garbage patches. By obtaining Goldstein, a marine biologists opinion convinces readers to believe the credibility of the facts presented, since a person whom is respected proposes the claims. Through her descriptions of the gyres and how easy they were to find the garbage patch within a vast ocean, readers can conclude how much space it was occupying. Another way in which Humes persuades readers about the claims put forward are by facts and appealing to our self-interest. He merely states the facts about the harms the plastic chowder is creating through bio magnification and killing of phytoplankton followed by a straightforward message that we are being affected. By saying people are being directly affected appeals to everyone’s natural instinct of self-interest.
This makes individuals to truly view their lives and hopefully alter their perspectives. The chapter begins with Humes in what seems to be light humorous tone when speaking of Miriam Goldstein, however as the chapter progresses it transitions into a stern almost scolding tone. Near the end of Nerds vs. Nurdles, Humes seems to be disappointed by asking the question of, “who loses a fleet of forty aircraft super carriers, year after year”. 4 million tons of plastic is deposited into the ocean, and Humes is desperately trying to reach out of the world to stop it. Humes uses this chapter to snap readers back into reality and making them realize what they have done. Chapter 6 provides a solid list of issues and how we all played roles in creating the problem, with any luck readers will take responsibility and begin to change their ideologies and perspectives. Chapter 6, Nerds vs. Nurdles suggests that our world is all affected by the problem and we must be the solution, if we do not change our ways of wasting and disposing of our garbage, we will all ultimately lose. (1000)
Humes, Edward. Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. New York:
Avery, 2012. Print.