In an ever-expanding society, we face problems with space, pollution, and health. The earth has entered a state of filth created by our disregard for nature. In “Turning the Tide on Marine Debris”, the author Nicholas Mallos, shows how our left behind debris will find its way to a remote place, out of sight out of mind. Though this debris is out of our daily path, it’s are taking a toll on our planet, and without earth we will surely be lost. Barbara Lazear Ascher’s essay “On Compassion” gives her view of people and where compassion becomes a part of our life. Compassion is not an item, not something you can grasp but something that comes from inside us. How we see the world, whether it’s positive or negative, will show in our everyday life, and how we carry ourselves. Having compassion for others will bring together a community void of discrimination, and along with compassion for earth, we can look forward to a bright future.
Mallos, a part of Ocean Conservancy, takes us to Midway Islands with his essay. Here we find the North Pacific Gyre or the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (75). The trash here floats just below the surface, acting as a silent killer to all life forms unaware of its true contents. As sea life encounters the trash, they commonly mistake it as food, and it becomes a fatal meal. Sea birds are in grave danger, surrounded by trash they return to nests with only scraps of our plastic to feed their young. Mallos offers the grim picture of the island’s nesting grounds, “…it was impossible to avoid plastics; colorful shapes of all sizes specked the ground while other types of plastic protruded from the guts of recently perished albatross chicks” (81). Avoiding single use items, and possibly picking up what someone else may have left behind are small steps in helping our ecosystem return to its natural state.
As our cities become more crowded, along with the extra waste, is the loss of personal space. Less space means more human contact, and it’s up to us if these become interactions. Ascher takes the stance that compassion is a learned trait that humans are not born with. Ascher tells us “Compassion is not a character trait like a sunny disposition. It must be learned, and it is learned by having adversity at our windows, coming through the gates of our yards, the walls of our towns, adversity that becomes so familiar that we begin to identify and empathize with it” (48). With this said, when we involve ourselves in the world, it will come naturally, allowing us to set an example for those to come.
We are all here on earth together, and come from different places, homes, and traditions, yet we all share the ground we stand on, the sky we lay under, and the water that flows in us. Through compassion for nature and people, we can rebuild a utopia adapted to all our needs and values. Without earth there is no us, without us, we have lost happiness, love, and the ability to learn.
Mallos, Nicholas. “Turning the Tide on Ocean Debris”. Gyre: The Plastic Ocean. Julie Decker. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2014. 74-97. Print.
Ascher, Barbara Laz.ear. “On Compasion”. 50 Essays. Ed. Samuel Cohen. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford. 2014. 46-49. Print.