On March 11, author and plastic-free activist Beth Terry will join Danielle Richardet, local mother of three and -environmental blogger, and Bonnie Monteleone, blogger for Plastic Ocean, in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Lumina Theater to discuss the growing problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. The 7-9 p.m. event is free and open to the public.
In 2007, Terry came across an article that changed her life. The article described a continent-sized vortex of trash where opposing currents meet in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This vortex would later become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and one of the most prevalent components is plastic.
“At that time, it was not something I had heard of before,” Terry said by telephone on Monday, March 4. “What shocked me most was a photo of a dead albatross chick on Midway Island.”
Midway Island, a small island near the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, has historically been home to a large albatross population. Its proximity to the garbage patch caused it to become covered in trash.
“Mother birds mistake plastic for food and bring it back and feed it to the chicks,” Terry said. “The island is littered with dead birds who have eaten too much plastic.”
As Terry thought more about the issue, she realized her lifestyle was contributing to the problem.
“The plastic didn’t get to Midway from people who live there, because no one lives on Midway,” Terry said. “The plastic came from elsewhere.”
Since 2007, smaller garbage patches have been discovered in all five of the world’s oceans and have had a detrimental effect on sea life.
So, Terry began to experiment with living plastic-free. As she watched the amount of plastic she used on a regular basis become smaller and smaller, she started the blog www.MyPlasticFreeLife.com .
Now, in 2013, Terry managed to cut her plastic consumption to less than 2 percent of the national average for plastic use, and wrote the book, “Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.”
“The book is basically a step-by-step guide telling you how you can reduce the amount of plastic you use in your life, and why you should,” Terry said.
On March 11, Terry will talk about the personal journey she undertook, and raffle off reusable items for those in attendance.