By Lata Jha:
The world isn’t ours forever. Or only ours in the while that we are here. In the little time we spend here occupying our respective corners, we all hold equal right to use its resources and satisfy our needs, if not go beyond to do our bit and contribute to it. ‘Needs’ being the key word and not ‘desires’. In its insatiable lust for material gain and power, mankind seems to be thrusting its desires down the throats of other creatures in the world. Sometimes, quite literally.
On the Midway Island, located in the Pacific Ocean roughly between North America and Asia, millions of albatrosses have been found dead after having fed on plastic, disposed off so recklessly, incessantly and in such large amounts, you begin to wonder if all those products really come into our homes to be consumed in the first place. Splitting open the bodies of these birds, one can find massive chunks of plastic in their throats, stomachs and every other part.
Research says that Midway Atoll receives substantial amounts of marine debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. At several million tons, these are way more than even the amount of phytoplankton present in the ocean. The poor animals succumb to lead poisoning, also known as ‘avian plumbism’ or ‘avian saturism’ for birds, which is a veterinary condition caused by increased levels of lead in the body and affects a number of organs, tissues and the digestive and reproductive systems.
Midway is a film by Chris Jordon that goes into the heart of this environmental tragedy and seeks to arouse consciousness against human callousness that seems to be reaching alarming levels. Jordan, based in Seattle, is known as the ‘it’ artist of the green movement. A project he started by visiting an industrial yard to observe pattern and colour has now grown to encompass many photographs and this film, all of which are based on garbage and mass consumption. While snapshots of decomposed bodies of birds filled with plastic may not be your idea of what’s eye candy, all of this is absolutely true and relevant.
In our own unconscious ways, we contribute to environmental degradation and the death and destruction of several life forms every single day. In adopting unhealthy daily practices, careless disposal of garbage, not giving up substances that we’ve been asked to so many times and being lazy in converting to healthier lifestyles, every one of us aggravates the problem.
Midway presents reality in all its starkness and leaves very little to the imagination. It tells us of the prospective albatross that we might find on our necks as a society if we don’t respond to this crisis immediately. It is a feature length film scheduled to premiere in late 2013.