We talk all the time about the carrying capacity of Earth for disasters, both man-made and otherwise. The giant tsunami that devastated the coast of Japan took away with it a massive pile of flotsam and jetsam that is now floating eastwards towards the United States. This Texas-sized debris-field of household and industrial waste, much of it highly toxic, is unprecedented in the scope of the problems it raises. How will it be cleaned up? Can it be cleaned up? Where would you put all that debris? Who will pay? If you wanted a perfect metaphor for the perfect storm of environmental, economic and political problems facing us, look no further.