Ocean Clean Up!

Plastics have revolutionized modern life, and helped us in uncountable ways. Unfortunately, they also cause a lot of damage in the world. One of the big problems caused by plastic is the pollution of our oceans. Millions of tons of plastic garbage is floating in the sea, causing a lot of damage to wildlife when they get tangled or try to eat it. This problem has existed for decades, but it’s been reaching critical levels lately.

Fortunately, there are good people working to end this problem!

Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke has announced a plan to fund a 600 ft (182 m) long yacht dedicated to ocean research and health. The REV (Research Expedition Vessel) will have a trash collection system able to collect 5 tons of garbage a day! It will also have sensors for collecting data, two aerial drones, and and underwater vehicle for exploration and research.

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The vessel will be managed by World Wildlife Foundation Norway, and will be staffed with dozens of scientists. It’s in the planning stages and should be ready to sail in 2020. I can’t wait to see this cool ship in action. 🙂

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Another project dedicated to this problem is The Ocean Cleanup. Started in 2013 and headed by founder Boyan Slat, this organization has been testing methods of garbage collecting on the high seas. Thanks to investors who raised $21 million dollars, they plan to have a large-scale system in place sometime during 2018. They have the ambitious goal of clearing out half of the massive Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years, which is a HUGE undertaking but would kick butt if they could pull it off. 🙂

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You can stay up-to-date on their progress here!

And for an example of clean up on a smaller, more personal scale, there’s the inspiring story of Pukka Travel’s coastal cleanup day. This 2017 expedition featured four boats carrying 50 volunteers around a section of Norwegian coast, where they collected trash from the beaches and coastline. After only 3 hours, they had rid the ocean of 1400 kg (~3000 lbs) of garbage!

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Check out some gorgeous photos of this expedition here. This is a really cool idea, and I would love to be part of something like this. 🙂

The state of our precious oceans is worrying, but it’s so good to know that there are some people and organizations out there working on the problem. It seems that the solution will likely come from individuals instead of governments, so I hope that these efforts continue to grow. We CAN clean up our planet and make a difference!

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A Look Back on 2017

2017 is gone, and a new year is upon us. The last year has given us a lot of change and disruption as a world and a species, and I’ve experienced a lot of change in my personal life as well. 2017 was a year of intense experiences, good and bad. Instead of making a list of specific events, I’m going to discuss some overall lessons I’ve learned over the previous 12 months.

Change the World

Our world and our society is currently in a state of dynamic change. Without discussing specific politics or scandals, it’s clear that a lot of negativity and darkness has come out of the woodwork and onto the main stage, and in many ways we are teetering precariously between success and failure. While this can be scary and/or depressing, it’s also clear that a powerful positive energy is rapidly gaining power as well. As darkness asserts itself, goodness is standing up stronger than ever to wash it in light.

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I’ve learned that each of us has power to increase this good. While I can’t change the world all at once, every moment of every day provides opportunities to do good things, help people, and increase the amount of positivity in the world. I believe that good energy is stronger than bad, and it’s my responsibility to send out as much of that good energy as possible. Each of us contributes to the world consciousness, and our contribution needs to be full of light and love now more than ever. We have the power to make our world a beautiful place, but we have to stand up and do it! As Michael Jackson said, we have to look at the man in the mirror, and MAKE THAT CHANGE! 🙂

Personal Spiritual Growth

I’ve done a lot of spiritual pondering and growth through the past year. I’d prefer not to go into specific details, as many of them are intensely personal, but I will say that my mind has been opened up a lot about the possibilities beyond our physical world.

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Things that I’ve had trouble accepting before, like consciousness, vibrational energy, the law of attraction, and even the possibility of life after death have become more understandable and believable to me. The power of thought has become a big part of my life and my personal philosophy. I’ve also done a lot of work in determining my own value and my place in the world and what I’m here to accomplish.

I’m definitely not done growing…not even close! But 2017 was a huge learning experience for me that will influence the rest of my life.

Circle of Friends

I’ve always been incredibly shy, and I was officially diagnosed a few years ago with Social Phobia. Because of this, I haven’t had a lot of social interaction outside of my family for most of my life. My family is awesome and I adore them, but 2017 taught me that I really need to develop a strong circle of friends outside of my relatives. There are some important topics that I really need to talk about, but have no one in my family who can listen or help me. Holding it inside is suffocating.

I’ve learned that I should make it a priority to get out more, share my true self, and develop meaningful relationships with other people. I dream of having a close, supportive, loving group of friends who take care of each other and help each other become our best selves. I know they’re out there, I just have to get out of the house and find them! 🙂

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So those are my lessons learned. I can’t say I *enjoyed* 2017, but it was a very important year for me. Here’s hoping 2018 will be the best one yet! 🙂

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The day Jupiter saved our butts!

I’ve always been fascinated with outer space, and lately I’ve been watching YouTube videos about comets and asteroids, and how they may have affected life on Earth through the eons. Almost everyone knows about the most famous impact, the meteor that slammed into the Yucatan and ended the reign of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But objects have been pelting our planet for a long time.

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Back in the mid 90s, when I was just finishing high school, I remember hearing about a comet called Shoemaker-Levy 9. At the time I was busy with worrying about my GPA and applying to college, so I didn’t pay much attention. Sure, comet passing by, cool, but I have stuff to do!

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A couple of decades later, I encountered some discussions of this particular comet in some videos. In July 1994, Shoemaker-Levy 9, which was discovered by Carolyn and Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy, zoomed into our solar system, broke apart into 21 pieces, and crashed into Jupiter. The explosions caused by the impacts, which were observed and photographed by NASA, were astounding – each explosion was literally LARGER THAN PLANET EARTH.

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Which means if any of the comet fragments had hit our planet, we wouldn’t be here now. Seriously. Earth would have been completely obliterated, leaving nothing but dust and vapor. YIKES.

The reason they didn’t hit us was because of the influence of Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and its gravity is so strong that most comets and asteroids that fly through the solar system are pulled off course. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of instances through Earth’s history when deadly objects that could have hit us were pulled away or deflected instead. Shoemaker-Levy was just one recent example.

So, in other words, Jupiter saved our butts from total annihilation in 1994. And probably many other times too!

So the next time you look up into the sky, give a word of thanks for the largest planet in our solar system. Because of Jupiter’s protective influence, we still have a beautiful, vibrant planet to call home!

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