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MIDWAY: Where your plastic ends up

MIDWAY : trailer : a film by Chris Jordan from Midway on Vimeo.

If you stayed awake in high school history class, you may remember that the Midway Atoll was a site of perhaps the most important battle in the Pacific during World War II. But if you had to provide any other information about Midway, you’d probably need to do a quick Wikipedia search (I know I did – and I loved high school history). The island group’s central location in the Pacific Ocean means that it’s also in the middle of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and, thus, a great place to take a look at the costs of our wasteful ways.

Artist Chris Jordan’s been doing just that since 2009: visiting Midway, and photographing the impact of plastic trash on the island. Specifically, Jordan has focused on the population of Laysan albatrosses native to the atoll, and how that garbage that we’ve thrown “away” is killing those birds. You may have already seen some of Jordan’s striking images of bird carcasses filled with pieces of plastic; if not, take a look at the collection of photos on his website (and prepare to be shocked).

Jordan and team are pulling together their work at Midway into a documentary film, or, as they call it, a “stunning visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy.” The trailer above gives a good sense of where the artists plan to go with the final product: less scientists talking about the birds, more meditation on the images that Jordan has captured over the years.

The artists are still working on the film, and, of course, need to pay for that work, so they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000. Looking at the amount of things that still need doing – two more trips to the atoll, sounds and visual editing, creating a musical score, etc. – that sounds like a bargain.  Assuming all goes well, they plan to release the film next year.

Take a look at the trailer above, and if you’re moved by the story of Midway, consider donating a little to bring this film to an audience. And, whether you give or don’t, let us know what you think about what you’ve seen.

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Image credit: kk+ via photo pin cc