The GPGP is one of those issues that, to me, causes the Global Warming (GW) contingency to lose all credibility. I believe we have some valid, large environmental issues that need to be addressed. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), and the world’s plastics addiction, is one of if not the biggest one. Yet very little is said about the cleanup and far less is said about curbing our reliance on plastics. I’ve been arguing this issue (the broader plastics issue and the GPGP more recently) with my environmentalist friends since the first Gulf War and every time it goes pretty much the same way. They say GW. I say go after more practical things like plastics and particulate pollution which will not only have wide-ranging benefits but will, coincidentally, impact CO2 emissions as well. They give a blank stare and then say, “But GW, you racist, sexist, science-denying world hater!”
While cleaning up the GPGP (at least as much as possible) will have a huge, beneficial effect on ocean life, going after the root problem will have much more wide-ranging positive effects, not just reducing pollution but lessening our dependency on oil, extending the life of our oil reserves and cutting funds to terrorist friendly nations. I think genuine, practical solutions need to be pursued, though; not something one would expect the GW folks to come up with, like a plastics exchange program where nations and corporations pay Al Gore tons of money so they can keep using plastics.