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Re: reintroduction

Few people know just how devastated our oceans are from one common household
product - the plastic bag. Plastic never degrades, it just breaks into
smaller and smaller pieces. If you were to swim in the ocean where currents
converge you might initially think it was alive with organisms. But then
you'd notice the organisms were floating, not swimming. If fact, these

This is entirely incorrect. While most plastics stay primarily unchanged over long periods of time, They will *all* eventually break down at the molecular level since various things (especially ultraviolet light) tend to break the polymer chains over time. If you want to help with bags just use clear or white ("natural") plastic bags. The black color acts as a UV inhibitor that will slow the natural breakdown of the polymers. This is the reason why most outdoor electrical cables are insulated with a black plastic (usually cross-linked polyethylene), but even outdoor electrical cables are typically only good for 25-50 years since the plastics begin to degrade after that amount of exposure to sunlight and other atmospheric effects.

The environment, BTW, is not a static system, it is constantly changing. While this doesn't mean it would be advisable to go ahead with avoidable things that may be destructive, it does mean that efforts to preserve all aspects of the environment *as they are now* is not only doomed to failure, but is not "natural" as so many seem to believe. Populations do interact naturally over time and distance due to all kinds of natural causes such as birds, wind-borne spores, and the like.

And that isn't going to change until we do a better
job at educating people on environmental issues. Note that 99.9% of our
response to environmental problems are all reactive. Very little is being
done proactively.

Most of this is due to the difficulties of predicting the outcomes of any one change in a system as complex as the natural environment. The reason isn't usually that some industry was out to save a few dollars, or that they just didn't care, it's usually that the industry thought they were doing what they should and something unexpected resulted. This is unfortunately fairly common and would best be prevented with more research into such things to lower the chances of an unforeseen outcome with such projects. So many current environmental laws are well-intentioned but are either not based in fact or are simply impossible to implement or do not take into account the actual factors present in each particular case.

I find that a lot of people who work towards environmental goals tend to be emotional about their concerns to the point that they no longer look at problems logically and objectively. I agree that educating people about issues is the best long-term solution the problems at hand, but that education needs to be based on sound science and fact, not on emotional issues or on overly simplistic observations made by unqualified people. I have, for example, seen a very high amount of unsubstantiated or downright false information presented as "fact" or "truth" in many grade-school environmental texts or news media. I see particularly high amounts of false information relating to the chemical and power generation industries, some of which can be easily checked and found to be incorrect.

Oh, [implied rant mode /off] :-)

Not to pick on anyone particular, it's just that reading this thread set off my rant-mode triggers. The idea that taking a fish out of a population for a while for study and then returning *the same fish* to *the same population* is going to somehow introduce all kinds of diseases is simply illogical. Provided the fish isn't mixed with something that it would not be exposed to in it's normal environment, the fish won't carry anything damaging back to the original population that wasn't already there. Some of the responses seem to see the "return to the wild" part and immediately conclude the introduction of new pathogens to a native population, not looking deep enough to see that pathogens that would be introduced would have been *sourced from* the *same population* and are thus *already present* in that population. I hear similar things often from the environmental activists that show good intentions but a shallow understanding of their material often to the point that their argument doesn't even make sense. That's good way to turn on [rant mode] for me, almost as good a trigger as the people who drive back from their presentation on conservation and efficiency in their 2 mile per gallon SUV :-)


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