The Beacon

Pixar Does Pollution

I know I've been harping on the plastics/pollution issue a lot lately, but it seems like the din around the issue is growing louder. First, there's the Junk Raft, project of Algalita Marine Research Foundation. The blog's tagline is, "Sailing [from California] to Hawaii on 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessna 310, to raise awareness about plastic fouling our oceans." Yesterday was the raft's one-month mark at sea, and they say they have an estimated eight more weeks to go.

The raft's mates may have some tropical storms to contend with, but according to the safety FAQ, they are equipped with three GPS units, 2 satellite phones, 2 VHF radios, and an IPERB Coast Guard Beacon. Call 'em crazy, but the voyage is admirable nonetheless.

And then, of course, there are touchy-feely robots.

I mean Wall-E, the latest piece of Pixar brilliance that I went to see last night. It's a beautiful film, one of the best I've seen in a long time, and in its near silence, the animated robot is adding to the conversation about waste management and environmental sustainability. Like Dr. Seuss's Lorax, Wall-E manages to be both a simple, joyous tale and an apocalyptic warning.

In Wall-E's universe, because Earth can no longer sustain life, the human race inhabits a spaceship. There's a poignant moment (among many) in which the bumbling captain of the ship is asking his computer what Earth used to be like.

"What is earth?" he asks.
"Commonly known as soil, as separate from the sea or sky," the computer replies.
"What is the sea?"
"The body of water that covers most of the Earth's surface..."

The message couldn't be much clearer.


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