It’s not garbage, it’s a reef!

I was watching a thing on old ships.  They interviewed these people who had sunk them.  No biggie, it happens.  Just like space junk, right?  No, some of these were on purpose.  Yay, they declared.  We made a reef!  Look how happy they are now.  Look at those happy little swimmy fish, who were like hobos just days ago.  Yes, these people who dump shit in the ocean think they are making these super awesome fish condos.  Yay for man kind, we really do make things better.

No we don’t.  That isn’t a reef.  That is not an ecosystem.  It’s garbage.  Your shit is rotting and rusting in the ocean, and I see that benefit no one.  These fish were fine before you sunk your ship.

Do you remember that song by Arlo Guthrie, Alice’s Restuarant?  It’s the great and true tale of what happened when Arlo and a buddy dumped a VW Bus full of garbage off a cliff.  Know what happened to him?  Yup, he got arrested.  They used all kinds of cop equipment, with the 5×10 color glossy photographs with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against them.  Know this song.  It’s like the Princess Bride of songs… not just a melody… but an ever quotable play.

Arlo had the wrong defense.  Arlo should have declared that mess a reef for bugs and insects.  Think how many birds feasted off that garbage.  By the rules of the ocean, Arlo was really a hero, here.  You know that tire fire that is always burning outside of Apache Junction?  That is an eco system, man!  It provides full time employment for about 300 fire fighters, all the cool rigs, and three full time ‘roach coach’ chuckwagon trucks that live there to feed the firefighters.  Hell, it’s a micro-economy.

I am going to start chucking my fast food out the window as I drive.  See how fast that attracts ants?  It ain’t litter, copper… it is an ant reef!

So, what is the difference?  The ones on land are called pollution.  Well, I call rusted metal in the ocean pollution too.  Especially since that is where all food and life emanate from.  I am more concerned about the ocean than Arlo’s garbage pile.  Have you heard of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch‘?  It is an area of garbage stuck out in the ocean.  It just sits there and swirls, and it is not breaking down. It never will. Oh, and it’s twice the size of Texas.  Everyone has their panties in a bunch about this.  Ninnies!  Let’s just call it the Great Pacific Garbage Reef®, and congratulate ourselves for what great stewards we are.

Dear Earth, you are super welcome.  I am going to start flushing hot wheels down the toilet.  It’s not garbage.  It’s a reef… for all those goldfish I keep flushing down the toilet.

* in the 8 years since I wrote this piece, the size has doubled.**

**  That is made up, but sounds dramatic… doesn’t it?  It’s probably true… who knows?  The truth is probably far, far worse.

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One thought on “It’s not garbage, it’s a reef!

  1. Love it, Lono. Good stuff. I met the guy who discovered the garbage patch when I was Chairman of Surfrider five years ago. Kudos to him for figuring it out.

    As for the reefs, I agree that it’s garbage. However, the ocean has areas where fish don’t really hang out (think deserts) and putting a reef there is like building an oasis. If we could do the same for the rainforests by dumping our old buildings in South America, we’d be geniuses. However, it doesn’t work that way. Since our fisheries are crashing from overfishing and pollution, I say any Section 8 housing for them is a good thing. See you in court…

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