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Heroes

The sea is filling fast with garbage, but there are 3 things the world can do to stop it.

Some very smart people have some very smart plans to fix this.

As the saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

This is a sea bream (Diplodus Vulgaris) fish. Photo by Emily Irving-Swift/AFP/Getty Images.


But it might be just as true — if not quite as applicable — to say, "There's plenty of plastic in the sea, as well."

In fact, a new report from the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts that by 2050, our oceans will be filled with more plastic than they are fish. Currently, the ratio of fish to plastic (in weight) is 5:1, but that's changing quickly.

A plastic bottle is seen coated in oil on Pensacola Beach. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

This is likely happening because we love plastic but hate recycling.

As it turns out, only 14% of plastic ever gets recycled. Of the 78 tonnes (around 86 U.S. tons) of plastic produced each year, 40% of it winds up in landfills, and 32% leaks into the soil and oceans.

That's not great. This behavior hurts the world economically: Because most plastic packaging is used just once, somewhere between $80 billion and $120 billion worth of plastic gets discarded each year. It also hurts us environmentally: In addition to the dumping in the ocean, producing plastic has a negative impact on climate change.

So, what's there to do? Well, some very smart people have some very good ideas.

Those ideas are actually the crux of the New Plastics Economy report. It's an achievable three-step plan to change our relationship with plastics, hopefully helping the world both environmentally and economically.

Here's what they recommend:

1. Recycle!

We really need to start recycling. That might mean creating new incentives for consumers to recycle, and it probably involves making the process of recycling more efficient as well as looking into bio-degradable plastic alternatives.

2. Reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean by encouraging multi-use packaging.

It would be smart to shift to multi-use plastic packaging that has some after-use value. Making it economically advantageous to keep using the same piece of plastic over and over (even if it's for different issues) could save us.

3. Move away from traditional, fossil-fuel-based manufacturing.

Instead of making plastic through traditional methods, we need to put an emphasis on creating technology that allows us to more efficiently manufacture plastic via "bio-based" materials like plants or captured greenhouse gasses.


Photo by Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images.

While steps 2 and 3 are mostly about manufacturing, there are some important things we can do as consumers.

Namely, we can stop throwing plastic away! When you toss it, it winds up either in a landfill (not good) or in the ocean (even worse). And while, sure, it may take a little more effort to recycle, you really are helping the environment in the long-run.

I mean, if we want our oceans filled with this...

Photo by Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images.

...instead of this...


That's a LOT of plastic. Photo by China Photos/Getty Images.

...we need to step up our recycling game. You in?

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


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This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

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This article originally appeared on 04.14.17


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This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

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This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

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Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

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