It was a couple of months ago that I started tracking the progress of the Plastiki project. It’s got a great story: A catamaran made out of recycled plastic bottles will sail across the Pacific Ocean, going through the great plastic gyre, where a giant island of plastic and other garbage floats. Led by Adventure Ecologist David De Rothschild, the journey will bring awareness to the problem of the garbage floating in the ocean…
…although there’s already plenty of awareness of that problem, isn’t there? It’s at this part of the story that the Plastiki voyage starts to fall apart for me.
People have been aware of the problems of excessive garbage, especially large amounts of plastic that never degrades, for as long as I can remember. Most people have been aware of the Pacific Ocean gyre for years. So, what do we need a Plastiki voyage to raise awareness for?
The only thing that the Plastiki voyage seems to raise new awareness for is the “career” of its leader, David de Rothschild, the Adventure Ecologist. What is an Adventure Ecologist? You probably haven’t ever met one before. There likely isn’t a neighborhood Adventure Ecologist working just down the block from you.
There’s a good reason for that. Being an Adventure Ecologist takes a lot of money. David de Rothschild seems to be the first and only Adventure Ecologist there has ever been.
An Adventure Ecologist is a person of leisure who has fun on a lot of adventures, using a lot of energy and resources in the process, but does so in the name of educating everyone else in the world about the importance of being ecologically sensitive.
David de Rothschild, you see, is an heir of the Rothschild family, perhaps the most wealthy and influential banking family in the world. The Rothschild family has funded the development of the industrial economy that has led to us having huge amounts of garbage littering the land and floating about in the ocean. The Rothschild family uses huge amounts of energy and natural resources just to satisfy its whimsies.
So, naturally, through his Adventure Ecology vacations, David de Rothschild seeks to educate us, the little people of the world who weren’t born into rich and powerful families, about what we have to do to make things better. David de Rothschild isn’t seeking to increase awareness within the Rothschild family empire about what the Rothschilds need to do to solve the world’s ecological problems. No, instead, he’s seeking to reform the rabble.
The more I look at the Plastiki project, the more it takes on the appearance of recycled Rothschild snobbery.
I’m not denying that the ordinary folks of the world have a lot of responsibility for the global ecological crisis we’re in today. I just don’t think it’s appropriate for a man who was born into extreme luxury, who has always been able to consume whatever he wants whenever he wants, to lecture the rest of us about how we need to live more simply, and change our lifestyles.
Have fun on your little corporate-sponsored South Pacific vacation, Mr. Rothschild, but please don’t expect me to give you applause as you board your yacht.