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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Mackayle Weedon
Mackayle Weedon
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My name is Makaylee! I am going to be a senior majoring in Social Media Design Management. I am apart of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority chapter on campus! I love thrifting, photography, skiing and going...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Column: National media useless

Floating in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere between California and Hawaii, is a giant island of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s twice the size of Texas and has been growing ten-fold every decade since 1950.

The fact that most amazes me, however, is that I had never once heard of this “island” until yesterday.

The island was formed as several major ocean currents all flowed to the same spot, carrying trash with them. As the currents moved on, the trash began collecting there, until it became the giant mess it is today.

While it seems as though most of America’s national newspapers don’t believe it merits much attention, I’m pretty sure that a huge trash island off the coast of California is certainly newsworthy. I find it hard to believe that Britney’s breakdowns and Lindsay’s rehab stints are more newsworthy than an island of trash that weighs 3.5 million tons and is floating somewhere off the coast of San Francisco.

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The Giant Pacific Garbage Patch is one really great example of what happens when you don’t fix something early on. Perhaps, in its infancy, this trash island could have been removed from the ocean. Maybe some sort of trash pick-up plan could have been implemented. But I guess America had bigger concerns, and now added to those can be a big island of trash that would cost millions to clean up. So, we’ll just leave it there, because it’s a problem that is too large and too costly to handle.

However, it’s not just the United States that is contributing to the garbage island. That trash is coming from all over the world, and it’s hanging out in our backyard. This is a problem that the world needs to come together to work on. If the pile continues to grow at the rate it has been, ten times its size every decade, then it will be 20 times the size of Texas by 2018. That is an area I can’t even begin to imagine and that one nation cannot handle on its own.

And the fact that most people have never heard of this island makes it seem as though it couldn’t possibly exist. If the media isn’t covering it, people can treat it as some sort of myth. It can go the way of Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness monster, gaining believability among eccentrics, but never among the mainstream.

But the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which sounds more like a tourist attraction than a giant pile of trash, is not going away anytime soon. It’s not going to disappear, only to be spotted once every 10 years running away from some guy with a really crappy video camera. It’s only going to get bigger. Maybe when it reaches the size of North America, the media will take notice.

The fact is, the media needs to start covering things that actually matter. This pile of trash sitting in the ocean is a travesty, and it should never have reached the mammoth size it is now. If newspapers or television news had said something, maybe there would have been a public outcry, and the garbage could have been cleaned up. As of now, nothing is being done about it, and it doesn’t look like anything will be done anytime soon.

The news media is supposed to act as a watch-dog for the people. It is supposed to tell us what is going on in the world. But lately, it seems as though the media only cares about ratings, and people only care about celebrities.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is just one more thing people in our generation will have to deal with. And while we have most likely been contributing our fair share to the pile, if someone had said something 40 years ago, it’s more than likely this problem wouldn’t even exist.

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