“From air pollution to the things we pour into our water or drop on the ground, it is bizarre that we think it all just goes away. There is no “away”! All life on the planet is connected.”
In 2012, after spending years traveling the world as a photographer, Mark Gamba decided that it was time for him to take action against climate change. First elected to the city council of Milwaukie, OR, Mark Gamba was then elected Mayor of Milwaukie in 2015 and continues to serve today, bringing to the fore several actions that are leading Milwaukie in a more sustainable, environmentally-conscious direction. “Individually, we are all unconsciously dropping a piece of plastic on the ground, throwing away trash, and thinking of no greater impact. But because there are billions of us on this planet, and this is happening regularly all around the world, together we are actually having a dramatic impact on the earth, and on all of the species we share this earth with who are being killed by our unconscious behaviors.”
Just as our individual behaviors are collectively harming the planet, Mark Gamba wants every individual to collectively take an active role in cleaning it up, and says that that is the only way we can fix this problem. Mark believes Oregonians have a particular responsibility as residents of a coastal state. “In Oregon, our behavior more quickly and more directly affects the ocean. For example, in Iowa, plastic still ends up in the ocean through waterways, but in Oregon it doesn’t even have to make it through the waterways, it can blow right off the beach. I have seen many plastic bags fly miles and miles out into the ocean.” We need to step up and become more aware of the impact of our behaviors and learn how we can protect the coast we all know and love.
As Mark reflects on plastic pollution, he says that the thing about plastic is that it never goes away. “From air pollution to the things we pour into our water or drop on the ground, it is bizarre that we think it all just goes away. There is no “away”! All life on the planet is connected and when we put damaging things into our air or water, it affects all life on earth, which then in turn affects us and our grandchildren, and then their grandchildren.”
As a photographer, Mark Gamba knows the value of a beautiful photo of the ocean. He doesn’t want anyone to lose the image of the Pacific Ocean as it is now from their minds. “Because it’s important to know what we are giving up—the beauty, the diversity of species—through the harm we are inflicting on the ocean and not to forget it.”