I’ve been travelling on this rowboat for five days. I intended to explore the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but instead, it’s still, first of all, an exploration of myself and I found the old monsters. The old things that I had left us years ago, which I thought I had overcome, are still here as if I had never gone gotten off. Nothing serious, my friends, it’s the same old story of the man who wants to do things, but he has to settle for others. These last three days have been hellish because the strong wind and the rough sea have prevented me, until this morning, from rowing and I always find it hard to accept it. Can you imagine the fun of being locked up in a small cabin for 24 hours? And I was saying months ago, to those who asked me how this mission would be, “it will be a gentle stretch of sea”.
The day before yesterday I was reading a book about hallucinogens like Ayahuasca and I found some interesting analogies with a sea voyage such as the one that says that normally Ayahuasca gives you what you need, not what you are looking for. I laughed when I read this statement because you can say the same thing about the trip I’m taking. You don’t find what you want, but what you need.
All right, beyond the foolishness, today was a record day for the amount of waste I saw out there. Everywhere I turned there was debris, of all sizes small, very small, large, some already populated by colonies of barnacles and crabs. I could only collect a small part of it because the boat does not allow me to make big manoeuvres and when I see something in the distance off my course, 9 times out of 10 I have to let it go. Sure, let’s say I didn’t choose a simple means of transport. It’s like travelling to a country three times the size of France on foot picking cherries from the trees, but only those that hang from the tree at my height. The ones I can pick are a fraction of the ones that are on all the French trees. But, friends, let me say that it was a very sad experience and from this boat, the perspective of plastic pollution does not leave much room for optimism. Where are we going? And above all, how do we get back?
Let’s also assume that tomorrow someone with a magic wand would collect all the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. What about the plastic that will end up in the sea again the day after tomorrow? And what about the sunken plastic, which rests on the bottom of the ocean that is more than the plastic that is afloat? Can we say “problem solved?”
I don’t know, what I know is that when I was a child I suffered from gastritis. One day I went to my doctor and asked him to give me some pills to eliminate the heartburn in my stomach, it seemed to me that I had fire in my belly. He said to me, “If I give you pills, I will remove the burn today, but tomorrow it will come back to you. If we treat the cause we fix the burning once and for all”.