PDN Photo of the Day

Midway: Message from the Gyre

Midway: Message from the Gyre

© Chris Jordan

These photographs of albatross chicks were made on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent. View more from Chris Jordan’s series here.

© Chris Jordan

© Chris Jordan

© Chris Jordan

© Chris Jordan

© Chris Jordan

© Chris Jordan

© Chris Jordan

© Chris Jordan

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  1. Although, it takes it the text to reveal the truth and tragedy behind these images, the photographs underscore the written message tenfold! Breaks my heart.

  2. These are alarming but some look staged. I think there may be something going on here. I would not put it past an environmentalist to have strategically placed this trash on the carcas to help make their statement.

  3. Question for Jason: look and see what you would feel if you found out the images were NOT staged. Maybe saying they are staged is an easy way out of those feelings. (Just a guess…)

  4. Just noticed there is almost an exact picture of these albatroses on the wiki page I posted earlier.

    Definitely not staged.

  5. I’m in shock, watching this series of photos do not even realize how the people themselves wykańczają environment in which we live, and in addition most probably most of these birds are finished. Hm reserve 2000 miles as you can see it no limit. Great series of photos. Sorry for poor English.

  6. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched gulls out here on the west coast eat crap like that. It doesn’t surprise me to see a carcass full of it. It is terribly disheartening to see what we have done to our planet and we keep doing it which is even worse.

  7. I admire Jason’s skepticism. And I doubt he’s trying to find an “easy way out” of any feelings. He made a point of stating that the photos are alarming. And @Rachael, just beacause similar photos exist doesn’t mean they are necessarily “real” (to say nothing about Wikipedia in particular, which is usually accurate yet biased).

  8. The plastic does not kill, the plastic bags don’t kills, plastic or pvc dont’ contaminates… IS THE PEOPLE the blame. instead save or re-use or have organization in the trash PEOPLE SENDS THE TRASH whatever place.. killing.

  9. We / I am part of a disgusting cycle. They are finished, now and their misery has come full circle and it it ours once again.

    Your fingers are shorter than your throat my brother.

  10. Who’s to say they wouldn’t have died even if they didn’t eat the plastic stuff? Obviously they’re eating that because they can’t find anything better to eat. My guess is they would have died either way… sad but true. And quit jumpin all over Jason just because he is a little skeptical… Do you believe everything YOU see on the internet?

  11. Why is everyone saying that this is such a terrible thing and the we are to blame. I didnt tel those birds to eat the trash. I didnt make the garbage look appetizing. It is the birds fault for eating that crap. Plus how do we even know if those objects inside the birds is what killed them. I mean think about it birds eat nasty old garbage for crying out loud. If they can eat trash infested with bacteria and the like then some plastic isnt going to hurt the damn thing. Get over yourselves its just some dumb animal that doesnt know the difference between plastic and food. I also agree that some of these images could be staged.

  12. Everyone get emotional over it while we forget about it in 10 minutes and go back to our daily routine. like any of you really care. we were born into this world if we all try alittle, maybe we can collectively make a difference. maybe

  13. People get defensive and say they’re staged photos (they’re not) or they are dumb birds for eating trash anyway, because they are shocking photos. And we feel guilty and horrified, AS IF someone is accusing us of directly feeding these birds this plastic knowingly. That why there is (subconsious) defensiveness. Its a big problem for enviro-liberals in general – they make it all sound like “shame on you and me for allowing this to happen” (even though you didn’t know it was happening)
    That, plus the fact that its so widespread makes us feel like there’s nothing we can do to stop it. It seems like an overwhelming thought..stop producing plastic bottle tops?
    The shame is that we truly just don’t know how to deal with this. And we shouldn’t feel guilty about these effects we didn’t knowingly try to cause, but we should feel guilty moving forward if we decide not to bother to care.

  14. Staged or not, birds do eat plastic and such, their stomachs fill up with it then they starve to death. The stuff looks /feels to them like something edible. The same thing happens with things like balloons from balloon races. All each of us can do is watch out that we don’t create this kind of littering ourselves and clear up own our bit of space of litter that doesn’t decompose and is therefore not digestible by wildlife.

    It happens in your backyard not just in the North Pacific, your back yard is a place where you can make a difference.

  15. The great richness that was America, altruistic in its democracy, certain in its Empire-building, God given right to alter the world for good, even with military force in hegemonic notions, and Americans, xenophobic thrusters of their brand of good will as they see it upon the world, have a not so hidden sin in their affluenza – they poop out more plastic into the seas than all the rest of the world with their oil based nouveau riche excesses and kill the very nature they were born of! China and Canada pollute the air we breath, one by burning coal the other by selling it, and America pollutes the waterways and fills the seas with plastic pieces of doom for whole ecosystems! All this ends with the end of light sweet crude and the coal, and we then face the refuse of fission fires for eternity – save for a few intelligentsia from India who have thorium bed reactors that produce fission wastes that last only one hundred years – safer but slower, they will fade from economic realities of the Asian population explosion underway and even more plastics from remaining oil resources and even other sources -from plants come a variety of plastics to choke Mother Nature, and she will retaliate. Even her best virus, HIV those yet to be unlocked holds promise and she has more in store as folks die in hospitals with c.difficile, there is hope yet for clean air, clean seas, and clean rivers, but not from the scientists test tubes, eagerly bought by commerce for exploitation and mayhem. Nuclear war may reduce the burden on her garden and Mother Nature in her great craft, might allow it in the Middle East, just to teach the remnants of mankind how wrong they were, now neutered by fallout that does not affect her plant-world. Is this how we end? Skewered on our own sharp edge? N.B. China has birth control – the West does not! China has high efficiency reactors at the Tsinghua University campus that produce maximum output of Energy for a minimum waste output – the U.S. reactors are designed for producing weapons grade byproducts – primarily! China has more post graduates with I Q’s of over 130 than the U.S.A. has high school students, drop-outs included! China has more people on the net – 440 million than the U.S. has people – 330 Million! China has a larger English speaking population than the U.S. population! Sometimes facts speak louder than words and in this case, the plastic comes form oil rich affluenza in the West! A West that is shrinking in range of influence as we speak. Will the plastics deluge end when the West retires and retreats to a lesser lifestyle? Good Question? You Bet!

  16. This is a perfect example of what having a lack of conscience does to humanity. The focus is always on PRODUCTION of GOODS & not on the SAFETY of our environment. What we do to nature (which includes birds & the planet for those of you with no awareness) we do to OURSELVES! Every form of life on this planet is precious & should be treated so. Rather than being treated without regard and then saying “well it wasnt my fault so whats the big deal” only shows your lack of intelligence when it comes to your own humanity. People need to learn to take responsibility for the way they live their lives. Do these pictures not reveal that to you? Are you seriously that blind? Maybe next time you feel ill people should treat you the same way & say “well i didnt make you ill, so its not my fault, & maybe your faking it” & maybe then you’d realize the importance of being aware of our actions & the effects they have, not only on humanity but on our precious earth as well. Learn to THINK before you speak & before you act. Really, its not that hard. These pictures are atrocious & I sincerely hope (staged or not) that people will realize, really & truly the devastating effects that they represent. THANK YOU Mr. Chris Jordan for all your efforts!

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