Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans

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Overview

A prominent seafaring environmentalist and researcher shares his shocking discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of the Plastic Age and a growing global health crisis.

In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu with the sole intention of returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific ...

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Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oce ans

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Overview

A prominent seafaring environmentalist and researcher shares his shocking discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of the Plastic Age and a growing global health crisis.

In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu with the sole intention of returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast "oceanic desert" where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a "plastic soup." He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet-a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean's food base, by a factor of six to one.

In Plastic Ocean, Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life and hidden properties of plastics. From milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and some cancers. A call to action as urgent as Rachel Carson's seminal Silent Spring, Moore's sobering revelations will be embraced by activists, concerned parents, and seafaring enthusiasts concerned about the deadly impact and implications of this man made blight.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1997, Moore, captain of the oceanographic research vessel Alguita, discovered what became known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive “plastic soup... lightly seasoned with plastic flakes, bulked out here and there with ‘dumplings’: buoys, net clumps, floats, crates and other ‘macro debris’” floating between Hawaii and California. This now-famous discovery led Moore, already a long-time environmentalist, to become a scientist-activist focusing on what others concerned with oceanic plastic proliferation had ignored: the “plastic confetti” created by ultraviolet light and ocean chemicals granulating the hundreds of millions of tons of plastic waste that have washed, blown, or been dumped into the ocean. In this sobering, impassioned book, Moore chronicles his attempts to mitigate the insidious effects of these bits, which are ingested by ocean creatures and can work their way up the food chain to poison humans. Moore, the grandson of a president of Hancock Oil, is also able to guide the reader through a history of plastic, the chemical process of plastics production, and its indestructibility and threat to our world. He covers some of the same ground as Susan Freinkel’s Plastic, but his scientific background takes his investigation deeper. (Nov.)
-The New York Times

"A hero...Moore is the first person to have pursued serious scientific research by sampling the garbage patch."
Library Journal
In 1997, when Moore took a shortcut across the nearly windless North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. which ships rarely traverse, he and the crew found themselves cruising through a mass of plastic waste (since dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Moore now campaigns against environmental pollution, focusing on the dangers posed by plastic. For all environmental collections.
Kirkus Reviews

Firsthand account of how plastics pervade our oceans in unimaginable ways, killing marine life and causing wide-ranging environmental and health effects.

Capt. Moore, a lifelong seafarer, was spurred to activism when his catamaran stalled in a remote area of the northeast Pacific and he noticed a visible proliferation of plastic bits and other trash floating on the water's surface.Dubbed "The Great North Pacific Garbage Patch," it was an ominous indicator of thecavalier way in which humans dispose of tons of plastictrash. This initial discovery led the author on a decades-long investigation into plastic production, distribution and chemical makeup, which revealed a level of pollution--in the sea and otherwise--far more insidious than people realized. The rise of "disposable" products coupled with inexpensive mass-production processes resulted in an unprecedented number of plastic bottles, lighters, shopping bags, diapers and other detritus being thrown away each year. Too much of it winds up in the ocean, where cool saltwater drastically slows down decomposition rates. Growing numbers of vulnerable animals are ingesting these materials, and often suffering malnutrition, unhealthy offspring and death. Evidence suggests that the entire food chain may be affected, sincemillions ofmicro-plastic bits are consumed by tiny sea creatures, which are eaten by bigger fish or birds, and so on. This "toxic Trojan horse" effect extends to air and land, as well, since plastics pervade so much of our lives and often leave toxic traces behind. The author is an impassioned, fiercely inquisitive writer, detailing the many unorthodox ways he's managed to get these issues into the news and in peer-reviewed science journals. His account is chilling, but with an underlying message of optimism: If human behaviors change, we can still save the oceans, and ourselves.

Fast-paced and electrifying, Moore's story is "gonzo science" at its best.

From the Publisher
"A hero . . . Moore is the first person to have pursued serious scientific research by sampling the garbage patch." —-The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583334249
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/27/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 5.78 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Capt. Charles Moore is a researcher and speaker focusing on the environment. He lives in Long Beach, California.
Cassandra Phillips has worked as a newspaper reporter and won substantial grant funding from the USDA Small Business Innovation and Research program to research plastic's effect on orchids. She lives in Kamuela, Hawaii.

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Customer Reviews

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    Posted April 15, 2012

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    Is hunting

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    Cloudwish.... r u able to be picked up at least? If not... ur gonna die. *grabs cloudwish and brings the cat to result two*

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