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?

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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