Thursday, January 12, 2012


In Tolkien's Silmarillion -- the backstory mythology to the Lord of the Rings -- there is the tale of Ungoliant, one of the original "gods" who came to earth, and turned to evil.
"Melkor Calls Forth Ungoliant" by
renowned artist John Howe
Ungoliant took the form of an enormous black spider, and she began spinning & weaving webs to catch light. She hungered for light. She devoured & consumed it. Everywhere on earth that she roamed, she consumed. And yet her hunger grew, and grew. She even entered the Blessed Realm and devoured the very light of the Two Trees of Valinor, and cast darkness across the realm.

But she wasn't satisfied. Grown horrible in size & might, she kept on consuming -- loving light & hating it wherever she found it. Eventually, she holed up in dark mountains of the mortal world. There, she spun webs through the long years, and consumed, and darkness spread out in all directions.

And she bred offspring, huge beasts of terror and evil. When her offspring grew of age, she mated with them, and hungered for them, and consumed them.

Eventually she had no more mates, and no more offspring. There was no more light, no more food. And yet her hunger still grew. Never satisfied, never fulfilled, always growing. Finally, in the end, sitting in absolute darkness and doubled over with hunger, she consumed herself.

The image above, linked from Inhabitat, was created three years ago by artist & filmmaker Chris Jordan of Midway Journey fame. It consists of 2.4 million individual scraps of plastic, all pulled from the Pacific Ocean. 2,400,000 is a significant number: it represented (at the time) how many pounds of plastic were estimated to be entering the oceans of the world every hour.

Do you think that rate has gone down, or up, since then?


  1. We may not realize how bad things are until we start tasting that plastic in the fish we eat to fill our own insatiable appetite.

  2. Rather terrifying that creatures who have never seen a human are dying with plastic in them.