The Journey

Midway Atoll, one of the most remote islands on earth, is a kaleidoscope of geography, culture, human history, and natural wonder. It also serves as a lens into one of the most profound and symbolic environmental tragedies of our time: the deaths by starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic trash for food.

The images are iconic. The horror, absolute. Our goal, however, is to look beyond the grief and the tragedy. It is here, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that we have the opportunity to see our world in context. On Midway, we can not deny the impact we have on the planet. Yet at the same time, we are struck by beauty of the land and the soundscape of wildlife around us, and it is here that we can see the miracle that is life on this earth. So it is with the knowledge of our impact here that we must find a way forward.

 

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22 Comments

  1. Posted April 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi guys,

    I’m curious where most of this plastic is coming from? Is it coming from Japan or everywhere?

  2. Posted June 28, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    The studies say that 80% come out of our rivers. ALL rivers in the world. The plastic we found on Midway had lots of English writing but also lots of Chinese, Japanese etc. The ocean is simply the lowest point where it all mixes together.

  3. Posted August 21, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Hi Chris and Midway team,
    I just learned about your film and am very interested in discussing screening it at the 2012 Princeton Environmental Film Festival.
    You can reach me at (hidden) or by phone at 609-XXX-XXXX
    Thanks,
    Susan Conlon, PEFF Festival Director

  4. Corin
    Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be interested in seeing this when it comes out. Please keep us apprised of this!

  5. Delphine
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    So beautiful!And what a shame from humanity;they will never learn.
    greetz from Antwerp,Belgium.

  6. Bappa
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    We need to be human enough to watch them die in front of our eye!
    as if a mockery to the vary way we are, the way we live..
    how can the so called development side-slipped to such an extent.. unnoticed?

  7. Saran Dipity
    Posted April 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    People need to know. What a joy and sadness to hear about this project… I’m spreading the word for sure. @ Delphine: ‘they’ doesn’t exist. Everyone is one, one is everyone.

  8. Catarina
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I’d like to learn a little more about the present and the future of Midway Journey

  9. Posted September 28, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Chris and the Midway team,
    Guys, this is one of the most amazing videos I’ve ever seen!
    Wow, it’s art, it’s amazing beautiful and it’s a punch in the face for all human beings.

    Loved the way you could capture feelling, terror, pain, but also joy and happiness in the birds eyes. It’s almost like we can see ourselves thru their faces….

    Just wanted to say how much I LOVED your work, hope you can keep it up and show it to the world. We need it.

    Congratulations and best wishes from São Paulo, Brazil :)

  10. Sandor Fulop
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    Does that really matters where those plastic came from? If those are not from your country, will any of us be satisfied and feel no guilt about it?
    From my point of view, we’re all to blame because all of this. There’s no such thing as “this was only a tiny peace of paper, or chewing gum i trowed, this doesn’t mean any harm…” Yes it does!

  11. Camila Merchan
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful short film! Great images to raise awareness about how we are slowly ruining ife on our planet. Are part of the donations used for clean up efforts of the island?
    Continue your great work!

  12. Alicia
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Hi,
    I was wondering if you could give us an update on this film, your last blog from what I see was July 2012. I am really interested in the finished project and would like to donate but want to make sure your initiative is still alive.
    Thank you and all the best!
    Alicia

  13. Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Has this project ended? I’m sure the plastic hasn’t.

  14. Posted February 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I saw the trailer a while back, shared it, lost it, then found it again jut now. It is also one of the most amazing videos I’ve ever seen. It is art, as Laís Aranha says, and so straight from the heart, it bowls me over. Thank you very much for making this movie. I photograph nature around where I live and try to make my images so beautiful that people will be moved to protect and love our beautiful planet and all that lives on it.

  15. charles campos
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The bottle caps and other things killing the birds are such small things. We never think about the small things,but they sure do add up! This was really hard to watch! Even though i myself do not litter and i live in the dessert, birds are probably still dying from these exact things all over! I would love to believe that people would one day care enough to really do something to save the planet and the oceans and the whales!

  16. nicole
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Hi team,
    Please continue to do the work you are doing, so grateful to the team for this. I will do my work to spread more awareness. Such small things each human could do to prevent this from continuing, we all need to do our work, we share this place with others that have no voice…..

  17. Stan Caminada
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Wow. I had the pleasure of deploying to Midway while flying in the Navy back in 1988, and it was such a beautiful and unspoiled treasure. The “goony birds” were amazing, and I am disappointed this could be happening to such a natural treasure. The sad reality is that virtually no one can get to Midway, and as such, is virtually unknown. Hopefully this film will shed some light where little has been shown before, and maybe more will do their part to reduce the pollution that is affecting these birds. Sadly, I doubt it will though.

  18. Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I want to host this on Bainbridge Island, WA. How? My heart is broken again. And again. By so much suffering for our brethren here on this blue orb.

  19. Posted May 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, I walked along the board of the river Maas in Holland and the river had just flooded and the waters had subsided. The whole bank (in a Dutch National Park) was packed with at least a ton of plastic waste per 1000 meters. All of our remains, plastic bottles, bottle tops, sheet plastic, plastic bags, what not, the usual sorry sight. A few days later a group of volunteers cleared up the mess, now I did not join. Why not, I don’t do cosmetics. Okay, it made the banks look better, but does anybody wonder how many tons of rubbish did not wind up on the river banks but landed in the North Sea to end up in the Atlantic counterpart to the Pacific Sea of Plastic. Not even an article in the local paper about the cleanup mentioned it.

    We as a species worry about lots of things, money, our kids scholing, our parents old age, even the quality of our camera’s (yeps I take pictures too). What we rarely worry about is our own future. How much planet do we need to survive, when will we tip the systems into a permanent state of degredation. I studied eutrofic lakes as a student. These behave quit strangly, up to a certain point the ecosystem fights back and digs into it’s reserves, and then suddently all changes and everything turnes itself into a stinking, festering blister, plants rot, fish die and a whole ecosystem collapses.

    Now seeing this (not for the first time, I saw Chris’ pictures in a Prix Pictet exhibit in Düsseldorf) I wonder how perrilously close we are to a total systemic tiping point? How long do we think our planet will sustain us? Personally I’m convinced that humanity has a longer history then it has a future. We as a species are simply not equiped with enough common mental capacity to understand the perrils were in. A single individual like you and me may be smart enough to take action, but as a species, were about as dumb as the albatrosses who mistake plastic for food. We mistake progress for increased quality of life, we feed our children rubish as well but we inject it into their minds not into their stomachs (allthough that can be debated). The rubish about the brave new world that we will step into through the power of technology. The rubish about the eternal mantra of economic growth. The rubish about the benevolent bankers and caring politicians. We are actually even more stupid since we don’t only feed our children rubish, we swalow it as well ourselves.

    And in the end I hope we will learn to eat dollars bills as Alanis Obomsawin so nicely put it.

    Greets, Ed.

  20. Posted May 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Hello Chris,
    The first time I watched the trailer I felt as though my heart was being ripped out! My sobbing was deeply felt…
    I have sinced shown the trailer as a start to my presentations for http://www.rethinkthebag.org and have won best presentations for this. Thank You for adding impact to my campaign and allowing people to see and FEEL what we are alll contributing to…
    Is the full length movie out yet as I would like to further promote your critical work of plastic awareness.
    Much Love, Hayley

  21. leslie Hall Brown
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    The beauty is amazing, the image is a mirror we hold up in which we see ourselves destroying our very own universe. It is a wake up call, we are self-destructing in our arrogance and neglect of our world. We must look after those who cannot look after themselves in a world made foreign to them by man’s lack of caring.

    Note: let this trailer download completely before watching, to appreciate the beauty. Open your heart… and take your seats for a journey…

  22. Posted September 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I love this film. I take my hat off to the work being done to expose and educate a reality of our doing. We have trashed our planet and continue to do so. Like the body I believe the world is resilient but we must starting doing something everyday. Start little by little. If you look at the world you will feel helpless. If you look at your home you will be inspired. There is so much we can do to minimize your footprint. Make those changes and influence those around you. We can all do something and together we can make a difference but it has to start and it must start now.

7 Trackbacks

  • [...] stumbled across a Website today called Midway Journey, and the work they’re doing will hopefully contribute to this [...]

  • By Plastiki: We Call Bullshit | Earth Matters on March 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    [...] time such a venture has been undertaken. In fact, it has been done several times (see here and here for the most recent examples). Awareness has been raised … how about doing something real [...]

  • [...] Pas seulement une goutte dans l’océan Les sacs, fourchettes et autres babioles de plastiques, bien qu’utilisant relativement peu de pétrole et générant un volume relativement faible de déchets, ont tout de même des impacts environnementaux réels qui vont au-delà de leur production et de leur enfouissement. Un cas troublant est la quantité de résidus de plastiques qui s’échappent du circuit de collecte (poubelles, transport, centres de tri, dépotoirs) et aboutit au milieu de l’océan Pacifique, causant des dommages écologiques désolants. [...]

  • [...] for some reason I lean that way on plastic. I have a friend Kris Krug (@kk), who just got back from Midway Atoll. He was helping Chris Jordan film a documentary on the effects of plastic on the middle of the [...]

  • By Where Plastic Bottle Caps End Up « Kim Kircher on February 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

    [...] what the Midway Project team found a few days ago while filming their feature-length documentary “Midway”. [...]

  • [...] MidwayJourney.com: “The MIDWAY media project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly [...]

  • [...] This island has provided us with a profound and symbolic environmental tragedies of our time: the deaths by starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic trash for food. This image is port of the project called Midway, a film about the island and cleanup its cleanup [...]

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  • MIDWAY

    The MIDWAY media project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy—and our own complicity—head on. And in this process, we find an unexpected route to a transformational experience of beauty, acceptance, and understanding.

    We frame our story in the vividly gorgeous language of state-of-the-art high-definition digital cinematography, surrounded by millions of live birds in one of the world’s most beautiful natural sanctuaries. The viewer will experience stunning juxtapositions of beauty and horror, destruction and renewal, grief and joy, birth and death, coming out the other side with their heart broken open and their worldview shifted. Stepping outside the stylistic templates of traditional environmental or documentary films, MIDWAY will take viewers on a guided tour into the depths of their own spirits, delivering a profound message of reverence and love that is already reaching an audience of tens of millions of people around the world.


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