I’m Not a Plastic Bag by Rachel Hope Allison, is a wordless graphic novel about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch published in association with Jeff Corwin Connect, a company founded to raise awareness of issues facing the earth and its many inhabitants.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a swirling spiral of manmade litter in the central North Pacific Ocean. It formed accidently as the result of discarded waste (mostly plastic) bits and pieces that have pooled together through the naturally occurring movements of oceanic winds and currents over the course of many years. The Patch occupies a large and relatively stationary region between Hawaii and California. Research shows that this marine debris field negatively affects at least 267 species of marine birds and animals worldwide including seals, whales and turtles.
Plastics are materials that have been designed to last, in some cases almost forever. They are also cheap and readily available making them ever-present throughout the human world. In fact, millions of plastic bags are tossed away every single day, some of which make their way into waterways and eventually the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There they join the Patch, one of the largest, unintended accumulations of consumer waste on the planet!
After learning about this Patch, illustrator Rachel Hope Allison felt she had to spread the message of substituting bio-degradable bags for plastic ones. By using her artistic imaginings of this real threat to our environment, she does a commendable job portraying the trash items and their interactions with one another, as well as their devastating effect on marine life. The negative message is pretty clear, but there is also a strong positive one: The hope that readers will get excited about decreasing their plastics consumption footprint on the environment.
Jeff Corwin, the conservationist and television host of “Ocean Mysteries”, wrote the forward to this book. In it he drives the enormity of the issue home by stating; ”The journey of discarded waste is wide-ranging and far-reaching. A produce bag from a distant supermarket, masquerading as a jellyfish, could find its way into the belly of an endangered sea turtle.” Read Jeff’s review of the book.
The United States has only 5% of the world’s population, yet generates 40% of the world’s trash. All of us can make some simple changes in our daily habits and thereby reduce ocean bound plastic garbage and help marine life survive into the future. And now is a great time to start!
After all, it may be just an innocent plastic bag at the market, but it could turn into a serious threat to an animal’s life if it joins the Patch.
I'm not a plastic bag : a graphic novel