We Killed Them


Here's a set of sad and stunning pictures of what we've done to our planet.

Photographer Chris Jordan writes:

"These photographs of albatross chicks were made in September 2009 on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking. To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent."

Watch Jordan's slide show, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via dossier journal)

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  1. Actually, natural selection for complex life occurs over many, many millenia. We see artificial selection occur over centuries with domesticated livestock, immunity, bacteria and plant life, however.

    Social darwinism's coopting of the term "survival of the fittest" misunderstands what fittest means in a biological sense (it has no connection at all to biological evolution, in fact), and is so cashed out by the current memes, beliefs and economic arrangements of the age. For example, poor people continue to pass on their genes at higher rates than those with high IQ's. This debunks the claim that they are less fit. Biological fitness has very little to do with your IQ, or any particular aspect of your personality and psychological composition. We are all products of those who survived, and we are under no ecological pressures to evolve into a new species.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 12, 2009 4:42:04 PM

  2. I have to agree with BC on this one. Of course polluted waters aren't good for the birds but I don't think there is some pandemic of baby albatrosses dying from ingesting plastic.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Nov 12, 2009 4:43:21 PM

  3. Andy, I wonder what you think when you most something like this, and get so many comments calling "fake!" or dismissing it based on nothing more than "feelings." Frankly, the persistence of ignorance in the face of knowledge is almost as disheartening as what's happening to the birds.

    Posted by: Kai in NYC | Nov 12, 2009 6:38:35 PM

  4. I'm amazed at the number of people in this thread who think it's perfectly fine that we pollute the Earth to the extent that baby chicks starve because they're accidentally fed plastic, because (sarcasm on) those birds are just too damn stupid! (/sarcasm off).


    Posted by: Ryan | Nov 12, 2009 6:42:03 PM

  5. The thing is, although I definitely consider myself an environmentalist, this story isn't really about carbon emissions or global warming, it's about littering. Even if these pictures are staged, I have walked enough beaches in my time (in both Europe and the US) to know that littering is a huge problem. And, the fact is that a lot of litter really does strangle and kill all different types of sea creatures. Not to mention that it looks horrible. So maybe instead of arguing about whether the birds are too stupid to eat trash or not, we could spend that time more wisely by cleaning up the closest beach. (And yes, I really do carry plastic bags with me when I go hiking, etc, just for that reason.)

    Posted by: Claudia | Nov 12, 2009 9:41:12 PM

  6. As much as I am disgusted by these photos, if not only for the fact that they are rotting bodies of baby birds filled with our trash, I am even more disgusted by the human-hating attitudes of some of you guys posting here. True, we created the trash, but we also have the power to change our course to benefit the rest of the planet. Some of us might be misguided in our efforts or driven by greed to commit this environmental offenses, but the problem is not human. The problem is ignorance. We have the power to educate others, especially future generations, of the real impact we have made on our planet. But we belong to the Earth just as much as these birds do.

    Posted by: Jesus | Nov 12, 2009 9:43:01 PM

  7. Well, being that we have pretty much fucked this place up beyond repair, we better hope and pray there is intelligent life somewhere in outer space - cuz we've really been short changed here.

    Ah yes! Plastics! Let's make some more! But! What the hell would we do without them? What do we replace them with? What do we do to clean up the kajillion tons of it suffocating our planet. This is like shittin in your mess kit!

    Posted by: Mark440 | Nov 12, 2009 10:20:17 PM

  8. All you human-hating "I would destroy humanity if I could" narcissists must kill yourselves at once or be proven the phony self-aggrandizing a-holes you are. That said, we have to compost (which would take care of 90% of our solid waste) and stop treating plastic as a throw-away. Not doing that is as disgusting as the "all humans are evil and must die except for me who is pure and virtuous for just saying this" types!

    Posted by: Tom | Nov 12, 2009 11:42:46 PM

  9. On an up-note, I'd like to say that a microbe that digests plastic has been found and hopefully some day in the future plastic will bio-degrade into harmless compost.


    p.s. Until then, avoid plastic packaging made from petroleum products. They make biodegradable plastics from cornstarch.


    Posted by: Wheezy | Nov 12, 2009 11:58:31 PM

  10. We didn't kill them...the greedy plastic's inductry did. Of course all these folks who cannot drink tap water and need bottled water didn't help!

    Posted by: Bob | Nov 13, 2009 11:54:58 AM

  11. I have seen these images used in a lecture with many more disturbing ones. This is not stages, natural selection as some of you have noted. This is the results of humans not caring about the planet, animals, or our water supply.

    To see a clip of the lecture, with images of a turtle, literally with a plastic cap ring around its midsection go here: http://vimeo.com/3712780

    Its scary and very sad.

    Posted by: Johng | Nov 13, 2009 2:51:18 PM

  12. looks about as real as the 2011 smurf movie

    Posted by: doug105 | Sep 23, 2011 9:49:13 PM

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