How much plastic is there in the Ocean?

To be honest, I’m a bit confused on the facts. I know there are tons of plastic debris floating around the world. The thing that really confuses me is how they affect the Ecology of the Ocean. I’d like to share some light on my understanding of this, and also use one of my most recent trips to the Dominican Republic as a case study to shed some light on the horrendous effects of plastics in the Oceans.

So, I guess the first thing would be to explain what type of plastic is harmful, and how they affect the environment. Trust me, it is way too complicated for a blog post. All you really need to understand is that there is the plastic you can see and Microplastic. In reality, they are both equally damaging, they simply affect different populations within the hydrosphere. The seeable plastic can be as large as a football field, it could be in the form of netting, cord, fishing line, or sheets.Sometimes it is a mixture of plastics that create this huge patch miles long. In my opinion, the most dangerous kind are the microplastics. This is what larger plastics photodegrade to. It also comes in an added component from detergents and beauty products. Remember the first time you tried Oxiclean face wash with microbeads? Those microbeads are small pieces of plastic that interact with sea life at a microscopic level. Not only do they harm organisms like Bacteria, and Plankton, but they are also finding themselves in the trophic chain, and into our table.

In the featured image you see two young boys helping their father get ready for his daily fishing run. They have many plastic cases that they use to store or transport things in their boats. However this isn’t the problem, most of these containers will make it back to shore and be reused again, and again until they fail. The problem lies within the general population and their disregard for where their plastic ends up.

This is Juancho, Pedernales One of the most beautiful coasts in the Caribbean, and home to the Dominican Republic’s largest wind energy project.

995_0051

This region is one of the country’s most impoverished areas, yet it boasts one of the largest natural parks in the country, Parque Jaragua. This place has the potential to be one of the hidden jewels of the Caribbean, however, we need to better manage the trash that floats into this area.

In this Video, I’d like to give you a brief overview of the marine plastics situation in a small fishing community from the Southwestern province of the Dominican Republic.

I have not had the time to add English captions, but I’m working on it.
There isn’t much speaking since we are on the back of a 70cc motorcycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granja Marina: Economic Resiliency in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean through Seaweed farming

Caleta background 1

So we hear a lot about International Organizations who are working on the development of coastal communities; however, we keep seeing redundancy in their models for sustainability with no avail. What does this mean? Well, they keep trying to teach an old fisherman how to fish in a sustainable matter, yet once the program is over they revert back to what they know best. Well, in case the failed attempts throughout the last decade wasn’t a clue. I have news for you, fishing is not a sustainable enterprise. I hate to break it to you, but the fact that science has pretty much eliminated natural selection from the human growing cycle makes the playing field pretty uneven when it comes to harvesting fish.

As our population grows exponentially, we are en route to wiping out most of the commercial fishing species right out of the race. Not to mention the acidification of the oceans, and unfair fishing practices carried out without any oversight have all just about made our coasts a barren and sterile ecosystem.

What we are proposing is a new way for these communities to keep on making a living from the sea, by harvesting local seaweed species. If this sounds interesting to you, we invite you to find out a bit more about our seaweed farming project. Learn about the communities in which we work, and also see which United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals we contribute to, in this informative presentation about creating climate change resiliency in the Dominican Republic and Latin America through Seaweed Aquaculture.

granja-marina-public_2017_revised

Downloading Development

IMG_2144How fast is your internet? Have you ever checked around with other companies to compare their data plans? Does your home have wifi? If so, you represent the minority. In fact, out of every 100 households in LDCs (least developed countries), only seven have steady internet access. It should come as no surprise that the less integrated into the global economy a region is, the less access to reliable internet is available to its citizens. The global economic inequality has a direct effect on the unequal access to information, which contributes back to the cycle of economic hardship.

 

As internet connections have increased in speed and availability in developed and heavily populated regions, the sector is rapidly running out of ways to expand their market. In fact, in 2016, global internet growth was stagnant for the first time in history. The economically powerful and industrialized parts of the world are those who not only control the content on the world wide web, but they also control the entire digital marketplace. As history shows us, when a large portion of the population cannot access all relevant information, they are less capable of making the most informed decisions and thus, are more likely to be left behind. The current structure of global internet access reaffirms economic and social inequality on a tremendous scale; as those with reliable access to the internet continue to grow, those in poverty continue to lag behind economically.

 

This phenomenon has not gone unnoticed: some of the world’s digital giants have concluded that it is unacceptable to have so many impoverished regions excluded from the many benefits of the world wide web. Facebook has launched the internet.org project which aims to bring limited internet access to those who cannot afford mobile data plans or simply where there is no data available. With their Free Basics program, individuals are able to connect to certain websites at no cost whatsoever. These websites are selected for their importance (social media, health, employment, news, etc.) and while they may not provide access to the entirety of the internet, people are provided with the basic tools to get started on the information superhighway. In order to provide this service, Facebook has developed their own signal-emitting drone named Aquila, that can beam data to already constructed stations on the land as it circles around for up to three months at a time. Not to be outdone, Google is also pioneering their own internet program. Titled Project Loon, the high-speed internet program is powered by recyclable balloons that travel twice as high as commercial airliners and has a lifespan of 180 days. While both projects have pros and cons, they are both widely regarded as an essential first step in a long process of providing internet access to the most vulnerable populations worldwide.

 

In this light, as companies attempt to provide data to rural and impoverished regions, the process is fueled by capitalist and altruistic notions. Expanding into these untapped markets not only helps fuel economic growth at the top of the pyramid, it also functions as an organic income multiplier for those at the bottom. The benefit of this type of development is that the digital economy can be inclusive and sustainable if carried out properly. The entities that have decided to foster this type of internet growth should be responsible for training the previously disconnected populations on how to best use the internet to their benefit. By breaking barriers and incentivizing the usage of affordable mobile data, both corporations and the people stand to gain exponentially.