One of the most active volcanoes in Alaska, Augustine is home to a variety of wildlife and its exposed beaches collect debris that washes ashore from the Gulf of Alaska and beyond. The members of the Ikkatsu Project, Ken Campbell and Steve Weileman, are sea kayakers who use their paddling skills to access areas that are rarely visited, conducting beach debris surveys and collecting water samples that will be used to track the location and amounts of water-borne pollutants. This is a story not only of the stunning natural beauty of Alaska, but also of the journey that two long-time kayakers take on their way to becoming environmental activists.
Every piece of plastic that has ever been produced is still in existence. Unless it has been incinerated (which presents its own unique problems), plastic lasts almost indefinitely, forming smaller pieces as it ages, but never really breaking down. Because of this, plastic and the pervasive pollutants it attracts are showing up in every part of our delicate ecosystems, and in our bodies as well. Every beach on the planet has plastic on it; something that did not even exist less than a century ago is now a part of every stretch of shoreline on Earth.
Campbell and Weileman came to this issue as sea kayak guides and instructors, and have been profoundly affected by the implications of this insidious form of pollution. It is their hope that the Secrets of Augustine will not remain hidden, but that by telling about their own journey, others will come to realize the extent to which our decisions affect the life and health of the place we call home.
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