“A Plastic Ocean” at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School 2017.

plastic pollution at sea

Plastic Ocean – floating plastic

The Cork Mother Jones Committee will screen the stunning environmental film “A Plastic Ocean” at the sixth Spirit of Mother Jones festival on Thursday afternoon 3rd August 2017 at the Firkin Theatre in Shandon. While many regard tackling climate change as being vital to the survival of the planet, other threats are also accumulating in the environment.

This film investigates how the world’s increasing addiction to plastic is impacting the food chain and how that is effecting every one of us through new and developing human health problems. The results will astound viewers as the film captures never-before-seen images of marine life under threat from plastics.

A Plastic Ocean – film poster

A Plastic Ocean is filmed in 20 locations around the world and documents in chilling detail the effects of the some 8 million tons of plastic which we dump in the world’s oceans annually. Each year some 300 million tons of plastic are manufactured in the world, half of which we use just once before we dump it, making it one of mankind’s most destructive inventions.

The film follows documentary film maker Craig Leeson and a free diver Tanya Streeter, who while filming the blue whale, discover huge quantities of plastic floating in the waters off Sri Lanka. What follows is a global odyssey to discover what is happening in the oceans around the world.

Taking four years to film, and costing some $3.5 million the results should force people to question the plastic pathway and urge industry and all of us users to seek safe alternative solutions.

The evidence of plastic pollution which the film makers found shocked them and made them question a world where plastic is everywhere, yet few question why we produce so much, use so much and where it goes when discarded. The build-up of micro plastics and the creation of ocean garbage patches places the viability of the world’s oceans to sustain life under huge pressure.

Tanya Streeter

Tanya Streeter on the island of Tuvalu

The ratio of plastic to plankton in the Mediterranean Sea is 1:2, in some places the small plastic particles outnumber plankton by a ratio of 26:1.  A large amount of discarded plastic carries toxic chemicals such as BPA, phthalates, pesticides and PCBs. Over 90% of seabirds worldwide have plastic pieces in their stomachs. If this trend continues, and with studies showing that plastic is entering the food chains, then what is the future for human health and our very planet?

Plastics are created from the oil hydrocarbons and one solution would be to return plastics to oil. The search for bacteria to break plastic molecules down continues but the oceans or indeed the earth are not able to do so.  Some proposed solutions such as incineration create many toxic and poisonous emissions to the environment. Have the plastic manufacturers any real answers to safeguarding the environment from their products?

Oil Rigs

Oil – leaves lasting damage

Plastic Oceans is a global network of independent not for profits and charitable organisations, united in their aim to change the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation.

“A Plastic Ocean” will be screened on Thursday afternoon 3rd August at the Firkin Theatre in Shandon as a contribution to an “Environment Day” at the Spirit of Mother Jones festival. Discussion to follow. All are welcome. Further lectures on environmental issues will be announced shortly.

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Mother Jones on Irish radio documentary

Mother Jones and John Fitzpatrick

Mother Jones with Chicago union leader John Fitzpatrick


From the opening voice of Mother Jones speaking of labour unity in her final days to the closing lines of “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes”, Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman a documentary produced by Sorcha Glackin for a documentary on Newstalk 106-108FM is a comprehensive account of some of the activities of Mother Jones in the front lines of the workers and union struggles in the U.S.A. While it concentrates on the Ludlow Massacre in 1914, through its wide cast of speakers it provides a rare account of the fearless actions taken by labour organiser Cork woman Mary Harris in defence of “her boys”, as she called the miners.

1902 advert in New York Times

1902 advert in New York Times

Thanks to Professor Rosemary Feurer for her support.

To hear the documentary click on the link below and press “Play”

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