Plastic is the new Gold!

Isn’t it ironic how in not-so -ancient- history in colonial days, and colonial ways

and especially in Africa, plastic has been traded for the last reserves.

Plastic beads, Plastic Barbie dolls, Plastic clothes, all wrapped in plastic bags – mostly made in China.

Plastic “bling” trinkets and plastic promises of false wealth-Tebogo Mothwa a member of the Ndebele tr

were traded for the last fish, forests, and the finest ivory from the last elephants.

Not to mention the last of the Rhino’s horn’s -the remaining relatives of a prehistoric species is now on the brink of extinction-just for an instant of gratification for the satisfaction of ego.

And in the dead of the night, the underwater pillaging of last of the last swimming Yellow fins, and the very last Blue fins-

stolen from Protected marine reserves, by illegal and unreported ghost vessels with rusty hulls and pirate-like crews.

Who take their dead sea creature bounty to backstreet warehouses to be frozen and stockpiled and auctioned like live cattle

in the unfathomable markets in the yellow East,

and the red West, and the Black North and the White South-

the rarer the commodity, the higher the price.

bluefin-tuna1Japanese tuna auction

The fewer of these fish, left in the sea, the more they cost in the market, that’s how the game works out there. It’s a business game.

The numbers are meaningless after a while. Abstract and digital. All that remains tangible is a rectangular plastic credit card.

Ironic how plastic currency- has replaced golden coins over time.

Plastic has become the new gold-in a world where plastic toys and trinkets are constantly being churned out by a numb workforce, comfortably numbed by their plastic conveniences and digital devices that keep them turning the plastic treadmill.

While ironically, the wheels of fast cars, driven by stressed out entrepreneurs can only inch along so slowly, in rush hour traffic jams all around the world,

This traffic jam lasted for 11 days- in China- the worst in recorded history!
This traffic jam lasted for 11 days- in China- the worst in recorded history!

Frustrated, they comfort themselves, drinking coffee and eating fast food served in disposable”plastic containers.

All to keep the dream going that feeds the sea of plastic.

Plastic in the bellies of the birds,

bird belly plastic


Plastic wrapped around their beaks,

Plastic tied around the turtle shell. as she grows, she is deformed by painful plastic wraps.

Plastic versus turtle shell, which one is stronger?  Which one lasts longer?

turtle plastic


Plastic straws from a moment of convenience, slurped while shopping, breaks up into tiny pieces in the ocean. Washing up as part of a new tide of plastic scum, forever part of the sea. Ingested by all who inhabit her, becoming part of their bodies, then we eat them and the straw becomes part of us too. It’s a full circle. Everything is connected.

Plastic bags float like jelly fish and are mistaken for prey by hungry turtles. Some turtles eat jellyfish.

Now that there are less turtles, there are way too many jelly fish. Plastic kills too many turtles, breaking the ancient food chain, more valuable than gold.


Coloured plastic in rock pools force sea aenomies to turn new colours for camoflauge. We can adapt too.

The girl who found the gold

Meanwhile, there is hope: did you know that in Egypt, where much of the oil comes from – a young maiden, all wrapped in her Burke, and very much enjoying the novelty of being allowed to study, even though she is female : – made a world changing discovery?

At aged 16, Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad found an inexpensive chemical catalyst, which changes plastic back into oil – which is what most plastic is made from.

Imagine that! Just as the oil was showing signs of running out!

She won an award in a science competition. Then- I think- the oil companies bought the patent and shut her up.

But do you know what that means? If plastic is can be turned to oil by a teenager. Then plastic is the new gold!

plastic_pollution after the tsunami - Japan

Soon there will be people sifting the lakes and seas for plastic like the pioneers who sifted the rivers for gold a hundred or so, years ago.

Before the industrial revolution which grew from that gold and oil, there were millions more species roaming the planet, who are now extinct.

Never to be seen again because of human greed for that gold.

And the oil that everyone wants, comes out of oil and can be returned to oil.

Oil?  Energy?  Power? Isn’t that what all those wars we are being traumatized by are actually about?

Meanwhile.  What are they worried about? There is no shortage.  It’s abundant. It’s spread around the world, in every crack and crevice in the form of plastic.

Quick! Go out and gather it. It could make you rich!

Not only in money, but in allowing millions of other species who keep our eco-system intact, alive

That is the true wealth. There is nothing more valuable than that.

Lets hope we have not forgotten the true meaning of Value.

ocean view

For more information on the stories behind these pictures see:

And finally: Get involved in helping create change:

Acknowledgements: Mike Markevina opened my eyes to all of this and I saw it for myself when compiling the footage for the documentary Moving Sushi- (which unfortunately never reached completion, due to problems with funding.)  The footage was shot by Mike and Linda Markevina on a 2 year expedition around the world to try and find out what positive solutions were being found to try and protect the oceans.  See more of their work here:


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