Pollution of our oceans by marine debris is one of the fastest growing environmental problems.On that same webpage, the Friends talk about their involvement in the San Juan Anti-Litter Initiative.
The San Juan Island Anti-Litter Initiative invites friends and neighbors to help keep our roadside and beaches litter-free. As founding members of the San Juan Island Anti-Litter Initiative ...So we were a little surprised a month ago when the Friends participated in the littering of county beaches for the purpose of collecting data on the currents affecting our county, ostensibly in the name of "science."
conservation groups launched about 650 ‘drift cards’ – biodegradable plywood cards, each with a unique serial numberIt's hard to attribute any rational scientific justification to the Friends' actions. They could have simply looked up existing data about currents. There is a large amount of up-to-date research on the topic, as David Hyde has said:
The circulation models we now have available are mature, detailed, and tested physical science.To us, the drift card gimmick looks like just another Friends' publicity stunt that probably has more to do with their funding than science. Friends' revenues have increased substantially since they took up the fight against coal and oil spills. Annual revenues have doubled since 2009 to over $800K, so who knows what kinds of strings are attached to that kind of money ... littering beaches may be part of the deal.
The Friends are announcing the findings on their Facebook page. We've never seen people so happy to find beach litter. Perhaps a couple of words of caution are in order though. First of all, Land Bank signs frequently say, "All collecting, including driftwood, is prohibited." Also, it's "Stuart" not "Stewart" Island. Like the currents around here, that's well documented too.