Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Marine Biologist Ana Pêgo and Plasticus Maritimus

As part of my writing program reading, my advisor asks me to include some works in translation, so much fun! I just finished a middle grade nonfiction book, Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species by Ana Pêgo, Bernardo P. Carvalho, and Isabel Minhós Martins, translated from the Portuguese by Jane Springer.

If I’d read this book as a child, I expect I would be a full time anti-plastic activist at this point, Pêgo is that good at conveying the mind-boggling scope of this dire problem as well as steering the reader towards ways both individuals and communities can work to combat it. It would be so easy to despair or live in denial, both of which I’ve certainly done, but this book helps me remember that even a little bit helps, not only with the bigger problem, but with the problem of one’s own feelings of misery. “One positive thing about the time we’re living in,” Pêgo writes, “is that we have a good understanding of the problems that need to be solved. This is a big advantage over other periods in history when there was less communication worldwide and when science was much less advanced. Today, if we care about the planet and about everyone who lives here, we can have a better understanding of what’s going on. Scientists study the problems and gather information and in many cases have already come up with solutions – and this is an enormous advantage. But things are not always resolved, are they? . . . This is why it is very important for us to take an active role. Being an activist means precisely this. If there’s a problem that we’re troubled by, and we can see that this problem has serious consequences, then we need to recognize it and get down to work to change the situation” (9).

Ana Pêgo and Plasticus Maritimus, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your hard work and your heart work in educating, communicating, studying, building community, and inviting each of us not to lose hope. You have newly inspired me to pay more attention to the plastic in my life and what I can do to bring my lifestyle back into a better alignment with my values.

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday, and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life and pandemic prevent posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) And…as I go through graduate school, I will post as I am able, Mabel.