• This content might also be great for the NYT's LENS multimedia jornalism blog.

  • I find it outrageous that you think paying to report on something for The New York Times is a great idea.  Your story is fantastic, but asking people to pay for you to go, so The Times can have the story later (of course this isn't guaranteed), sucks.  They get free material, and someone else has to take the risks and handle the costs.  If they agree to publish the piece are you being paid?  And if so, are you reimbursing those who paid for your trip?   And forgive me, but are you even a photographer? 

  • This is David Cohn - the director of Spot.Us.

    The money we are raising is just for travel. That is a real and high expense for this story (it is in the middle of the ocean) - so that is where ALL the money is going. The reporter here isn't going to pocket it.

    Perhaps in the past the Times could have shilled out 10k for travel expenses on a single story. But I think it is understandable that they can't do that right now.Yes - if they accept the piece the reporter stands to get paid for editorial - but that isn't enough to cover travel expenses.

    If you notice the price of the trip is 10k and we are just trying to raise 6k as of this comment. So the reporter is still in the hole 4k - just to report on something she is passionate about. I think it takes a very mean spirited attitude to attack somebody for that. Rather I'd like to focus on folks who would like to help us build something up rather than tear it down.

    Then again - everything is easier to say (even accusations of somebody's photographic skills who you don't know) when you are annonymous.

  •  Sad to see the anonymous sniping. It's a great story and the potential for exposure in NYT is exciting. I plan to contribute but am confused about a couple of things -- some clarification might help everyone: 

    (1) Will the final material be exclusive to the Times or will other publications be able to pick it up (via CC licensing or some other approach), as is often the case at (if I'm not mistaken)? 

    (2) I couldn't tell from the above ("it will just be enough to keep myself and the other crewmembers at sea for nearly one month") whether the $10K is simply going to pay the reporter's expenses or is also helping fund the whole trip. I assume the former but it might help to explain. Thanks! 


  • Funny how the most harsh opinions come from the anonymous people.

    Great idea. Will promote it a much as I can. 

  • Great questions, Scott. Some material, (e.g. one article and photos) may be exclusive to the Times, but I will be able to produce some content for other publications. David Cohn has expressed interest in a de-brief session when I get back, perhaps a radio interview or the publication of photos that were not run in the Times.

    As for the $10,000, that just goes to pay my way. I won't be funding any of the other crew members. Great to hear from you, anything else, feel free to throw it my way! 

    - Lindsey/'The GarbageGirl'

  • This heartbreaking and informative three-part documentary about the Pacific Gyre was made by the crew at (now part of Viacom) last year.


    Their story features an onboard romance, but it also has lots to tell us about how we have polluted the oceans around us. I hope your trip will break some new ground because this was extremely well produced.

  • Ooh I clicked on the donate talent button as I wanted to offer to help if I can with background info. I remember there's an author over here in the Netherlands who wrote extensively on the Garbage Patch, if it helps at all I could go find her, interview her, etc.. been meaning to do it for my own work anyway. Or beyond that, if there's something specific I can do from over here to help.

  •  Hi Mark,

    Glad to hear you want to help out. That sounds fantastic. Doing an interview with the garbage expert in the Netherlands would be really interesting, for me and for readers too. I'll approve your status to help report--you're in!



  • you don't need to blog daily. And if you really feel you do,  please look into amateur radio kinds of things for 2-meter packet radio or something like that, in cooperation with someone in CA who will be the other end of essentially a modem link.

  • Clark Hoyt, July 18: 

  • this is something that really needs more reporting on and im sure you will report the heck out of it!

  •  Best of luck - would be excellent to raise awareness further of this problem. Some great photos and video would help this. 

  • Too bad that more than 50 years after Thor Heyerdahl came back and reported we have poluted the oceans, that we are still having to chase this issue. But change is slow. So, good luck and thank you for your passion about the subject.

  • Dear Lindsey:

    This is an extremely important topic which must be given more air time than it has had to date. As other folks have said above, video footage and photographs are critical to raising awareness about this mess we have created.  FYI, Lindblad Expeditions (now affiliated with National Geographic) - a wonderful conservation and ecotourism expedition company - may be interested in helping in some way...

    I hope you are able to interest The New York Times and others...NPR, Channel 13 (Nature, etc)., as this story needs to be shared with as many outlets as you can. 

    Best of luck.  I will donate.  Debra




  • Hello Lindsey,

    I would like to help and will donate, but have an thought on leveraging this into a another media idea/event. Wondering if I could sponsor you to do something while you're there. I've been trying to get contact info for you, so please call and we can discuss. Tel # is 650-520-6664.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.



  • How is the point of this different from what the Project Kaisei team is trying to do this summer? See

    They're also highlighting the Garbage Patch by sailing there and filming it. They seem already set up to do a documentary, blog, etc. and have sponsors in hand.

  • Hi Susan,

    Great question! I actually spoke to Project Kaisei yesterday. First, I want to say that I think what they're doing is phenomenal. They're assembling an awesome 25 person crew that I'm sure will bring much needed attention to this issue. I think more is more when it comes to covering the garbage patch, and at this point there can never be too much coverage.

    What they're interested in is determining how to clean up the garbage patch. What Captain Moore and his team are interested in is how we're affected when we eat fish that are consuming toxic plastic chemicals. Also, this is the tenth anniversary voyage for Moore so his team will be comparing plastic-to-plankton ratios from ten years ago. I guess a major difference is also that the New York Times is interested in publishing my story, whereas Project Kaisei doesn't have a journalist on the boat and I will be on the boat with Captain Moore who first discovered the garbage patch.

    Hope this helps!

  • Hi. Good luck with this project. I hope you get a chance to talk to Curtis Ebbesmeyer and include his research in your story.

  • What happens when we eat fish with stomachs full of trash? Fish are not that stupid, heck ever try to fish with a lure? Its not that easy to get fish to bite plastic when you want them to. You also don't eat the guts, more often you'll find fishing hooks or lines attached to a fish rather than garbage.

    So now this garbage patch is twice the size of Texas? Thats bullshit. If it was twice the size of my state then it should be viewable on Google Earth or we would have some satellite photos of it.

  • Daniel

     You should check out the post Lindsey did on five frequently asked questions about the garbage patch. One of them is "why can't I see the patch from Google Earth?"

    It is real and that there are a lot of misconceptions about it is why we need as much coverage as possible.

  • You know even if people try to be more careful with their trash you still have hurricanes that destroy entire cities and deposit their contents into the water. Many plastics actually don't last as long as you think they would in the harsh salt water and constant UV rays. Check out this article on plastic art not lasting forever. 

    Also, I had a clean plastic bait bucket that I put into the water a month ago. I just pulled it up and took a photo, you can see organic matter growing on it, and also several tiny crabs were living on it when I got it out.

    There is also some discussion about oil rigs and the habitat the provide for fish. I have found some of the best fishing near rigs, so at the very least they attract fish to the area. What would be funny is if this garbage patch actually turned into a huge floating artificial reef.

  • Lindsey,

    I read about your idea in the New York Times. Great Idea! May I add a follow-on idea for your enterprising project. ...

    When I read about Charles Moore's discovery in Wikipedia, I was frustrated that the Kermit Roosevelt Seamount, which is near the center of the coordinates specified in the article, is the only feature visible to me on Google Earth, but it is 4300 meters below the surface of the ocean, and not visible as I fly my computer above the earth.

    Sooo, .... "Why not sell video of your trip to Google Earth?" ....???...

    That way, you can fund the entire trip from video for Google. Or maybe non-exclusive rights to the video, so you still have pictures to sell to the New York Times.

    And, I would then be able to  fly over the Pacific using Google Earth to view the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


    Caesar Ancheta

    Brookfield WI


  • I just found this website and I must confess that it is truly innovative. I think this story is important and I hope it brings greater visibility to the environmental crisis. I would like to say have fun, but this garbage patch is really depressing.

  • above I put my name in the title line and now I just did a facepalm. Like I said I'm new to this site, good luck!

  • Hey Lindsey:  Fascinating project!!  I hope this will get picked up by the NYT and perhaps others.  That garbage patch is a chilling demonstration of what is referred to in economics as the tragedy of the commons, a term coined by the late Garrett Hardin (a professor at UCSB) to describe the devastation which often follows overuse/abuse of a commonly owned asset. The Pacific Ocean is analagous to the Commons (communally owned pastures) of old England, which were overgrazed and abused to devastation because no one person or group owned the asset with the incentive to protect it for future use and enjoyment. An old concept, perhaps first voiced by Aristotle: "What is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it." Perhaps your reporting can begin to change that dynamic.


    Jim Harrison

  • We are still raising money for Lindsey on our Facebook Cause to try and get to her 10k goal so that she won't take on any debt to work on this article.

    Today we recieved a $500 donation through the mail from a Phylis Ooi. We'd like to publicly thank her and keep on pushing forward!!!!

  • 1. What % of the plastic/trash in the ocean could we avoid making in the first place using current, off-the-shelf alternatives, biodegradable material and simple practices (BYO bag, bottle, fork, etc).  Based on the data on the stuff that washes up on the beaches (annual ICC reports) that % is pretty high.

    2. What really stands in the way of generating the political and personal will to make that shift?

    Hope the trip is great! And that the article creates waves.

    Wallace J. Nichols

  • Folks: Lindsey has left for Hawaii where she will be getting training in how to be one of the few crew members aboard the ship. From there - she sails to the pacific garbage patch.

    She will be sending updates to and her personal blog. So keep your eye out for that (middle column has our blog posts).

    Meanwhile: We raised a whopping $9,000 towards her 10,000 travel expesnes!

    That is amazing!

    Thanks to everyone who donated. When she comes back - we hop to "make a splash."

  • I am an environmentalist.  I do believe we pollute the oceans.  I do not believe there is some kind of island of garbage in the pacific.  This is science people, if you are going to make a claim like this, you need to have evidence.  What is the density and composition of this supposed garbage?  Sounds like an excuse to float around on a sail boat in the pacific to me.

  • "This is science people"

    Exactly and this is a science expedition. Check the journals before commenting.

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