Saturday, March 19, 2016

What Are We Putting In The Ocean?

I'm just back from a short vaction in Florida, and I cannot say that I came away feeling very proud of people.

The signs say, "Keep Off The Dunes". Do people keep off the dunes? No. They sit on them for an elevated view. They let their dogs play on them. They sleep on them. They take a short cut across them instead of using the boardwalks.

Dunes are important and fascinating, not only for protecting the coast from winds and storm surges. Specialized creatures live in them, and specialized plants grow on them. The roots of sea oats help to keep the sand from being blow inland.  Beach grass dies if people walk on it and break its stems.
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The signs say "No Dogs" (between certain hours). One sees dogs during the no-dogs hours. The rules say that dogs must be on a leash during the hours when dogs are allowed. Are they?  In most cases, not.  I was harassed by a large excited dog as I stood in the shin-deep surf.

Apart from that, the beach was littered with glass, aluminum, styrofoam, and plastic trash. Alas.  It all contributes to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. or the Great Atlantic Garbage Patch. But that's nothing. I should have been in Seattle.

What is it with Seattle? Perhaps the people there are more stressed than Americans anywhere else. Or perhaps, they think they aren't because of all the drugs they ingest and excrete.

"Researchers found cocaine, Advil, Prozac, Lipitor, Benadryl and dozens of other drugs in the tissue of juvenile chinook salmon caught in the Puget Sound in September 2014, the Seattle Times reported in February. The salmon likely picked up the drugs from wastewater in the area that's a "[cocktail] of 81 drugs," as the Seattle Times put it."

Alas. That is wild-caught Pacific salmon. And, I thought that I was okay if I avoided the farmed Atlantic salmon.

"Other drugs found in the wastewater include (but aren't limited to): Aleve, Flonase, Paxil, Tylenol, Tagamet, Valium, Zoloft, Darvon, OxyContin, caffeine, nicotine fungicides, antiseptics, anticoagulants, Cipro and other "antibiotics galore," the Seattle Times reported."

Imagine, though, the science fiction (I almost typed fishion) possibilities of self-aware, laid back, buzzed, sleepy, obese, bacteria-resistant, indigestion-free sea life! They didn't mention the sexually stimulating drugs, but one might expect that among the 81 drug cocktail, something of the sort would be there.

Toilets of the future ought to be designed with their own reservoirs... like back to cess pits!!! Or a water feature wall of their home, on the other side of the home from an Elon Musk-like solar/battery recycling power wall.  Come to think of it, if one churned one's greywater, one might create hydroelectic power, too.  Bill Gates was recently on TV drinking recycled urine. Perhaps, if people drank their own recycled pee, they would get better value from their drugs as a side effect.

A possible solution for the future might be to have two toilets in every bathroom. #1 and #2  One would save a lot of water that way.  And, keep the juvenile chinook salmon in better health.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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