Update: We are still fundraising for Lindsey. You can support her trip (which still needs $4k through our Facebook Cause page or come to our "Garbage Girl" party!
A toxic garbage soup over twice the size of Texas sits in the Pacific Ocean, and I’ve been given an opportunity to write about it for the New York Times.
I will focus on the human connection to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a vast accumulation of floating garbage located within the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. This swirling current keeps marine debris, mainly plastic, floating together in what amounts to an enormous maritime landfill.
Though the media has covered how plastic is affecting marine life—that animals are strangled by soda rings and that fish and birds die with bellies full of indigestible plastic trash—reporters haven’t focused on the garbage/human connection. This is because no one knows how this trash is affecting us—until now.
This summer, Captain Charles Moore, who is credited with discovering the Garbage Patch, will take a tenth anniversary voyage to collect fish samples from the patch in order to determine the levels of toxins in their tissues. From this we’ll be able to discover whether the fish we eat is contaminated with toxic plastic pollutants.
I’ve been offered a space aboard the ship as the only journalist to chronicle this voyage. My enthusiasm for this project is only surpassed by the amazing opportunity I’ve been offered by The New York Times to publish an article and accompanying photos of my journey.
The Times has never written extensively about the Garbage Patch and my multimedia slideshow and article will be the first of its kind for the newspaper’s website.
As a recent graduate of Stanford University’s communications program, I have a background in environmental journalism. I have produced podcasts, audio slideshows and videos about environmental issues in the Bay Area and I have been studying the Garbage Patch for the past three years. The trip cost is $10,000 (for safety equipment, medical supplies, insurance for the boat, fuel and vessel maintenance, food for three weeks and a satellite phone for updating my blog). Though this amount seems quite high it will just be enough to keep myself at sea for nearly one month. If you’ve ever wondered where your trash ends up or how our oceans will fare in ten years, you may have found your answer.
Want to learn more? Read other articles where this pitch has been discussed:
If you have questions feel free to contact Lindsey: lhoshaw at gmail dot com
This report will educate the public about marine debris. It will bring new light to ocean pollution and provide one of the first reports about how toxic chemical are entering our food chain. Many scientists believe that ocean pollution will be one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century, this slideshow will be one of the first to show direct footage from the Garbage Patch.
I have a graduate degree in journalism from Stanford University and have covered environmental issues for iStanford, the Arizona Daily Wildcat and Buenos Aires' The Argentimes.
Deliverable: Online photo slideshow and an article that is under consideration by the NY Times. I will also provide separate photos, blog posts and a debriefing for the Spot.Us community that will be made available via Creative Commons. Time frame: The reporting will take three weeks (on site); background reporting is ongoing from June-August. Hours: This story will take 150+ hours