Our Environment, Our Health and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (AUDIO)

06/22/2010 07:11 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

California is getting set to be the first state to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. (Still scratching my head as to why the ban doesn't apply across the board to all retail stores.) But regardless, this is at least a small step in the right direction of dealing with the host of problems caused by our "plastic age."

What I am shocked by is the push back that is coming from individuals who don't want to be inconvenienced and those who feel this is a sign of too much government involvement. I want to shout, "Are you kidding?!"

But then empathy washes over me as I realize those who are making such statements don't comprehend the full impact that plastic is having on our environment--specifically our oceans and our marine life. And for certain they don't realize the impact on our own bodies as we consume that marine and wildlife (like the disruption of our sex hormones leading to a feminization of the planet--lower sperm counts, increased breast tissue, and early puberty in girls). Because if they knew, they would be demanding a ban. And plastic bags would be just the start. Right?

What about you honey?

If there is one thing that stops me in my tracks and brings me crashing down, it's garbage day. The day I'm forced to face my personal contribution to trashing the earth. When the ugly little question of, "but where is it all going to go?" starts messing with me.

It's also the day I'm forced to face my mindless purchases. The moments I sold out to convenience and filling a void and plain old stupid spending.

But my lack of thinking and acting appropriately doesn't just cost me -- it takes a devastating toll on the planet and our personal health and safety. Everyone else has to pay for my bad decision-making. And that's where my shame burns my cheeks and chokes off the air in my lungs.

So after I haul the barrels to the road, I do what I assume most people do. I push through the moment, peel out of the driveway and forget about it. It hurts too much to think about it. I deal with many things in my life head-on. But with this issue...I avoid, drag my feet, and look the other way.

But there's no "other way" to look anymore.

That became very clear when I spoke with Captain Charles Moore, the man who discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch--a floating landfill of garbage that is twice the size of Texas. It's filled with the same stuff that fills up my house and yours. Shampoo bottles, plastic caps, water bottles, six pack holders, milk rings, plastic bags, and every other item that we touch hundreds of times a day. And then toss.

Know where much of that ends up? Downstream, in our oceans.

Yes, the BP situation is horrific. But is it much different than each of us killing the ocean, the animals, and our own bodies a little bit every day? BP is in our face--brought into our homes courtesy of the media. Whereas our own trash just gets hauled away. Or so we think.

Do you drink water out of plastic bottles? Listen to this first. A 2-minute snippet of my interview with Captain Moore:

Listen to the whole interview: