Joy And Sorrow At Midway Atoll

The Emotions That Can Save Us From Plastic Pollution

A tiny portion of the albatross nesting area on Sand Island, at about 50% capacity.
A cloud of sooty terns encircles me as I walk across Eastern Island. Photo by Matt Byers/FWS.
The back porch of the Volunteer House, where I lived for four months.
Clockwise from top left, some of the birds who call Midway home: white tern, black noddy, red-footed booby, Laysan duck.
A sampling of the plastic curios I collected on Midway.
Midway’s beaches are now partly composed of plastic “sand.”

Walking through fields of albatross carcasses bursting with plastic.

This albatross had 558 pieces of plastic in its stomach when it died.

Freeing a ruddy turnstone from a plastic ring encircling its neck.

She was fine after I freed her.

Cleaning up an entire beach and not being able to tell the next day.

How I spent International Coastal Cleanup Day, 2014. Photo by Matt Byers/USFWS
A black-footed albatross feeds its chick.

I believe it’s our emotions that will save us — so long as we take the time to sit with them… and the birds.

My last day on Midway.

Designer, photographer, writer, you name it — my career journey never ends.

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