"A hero . . . Moore is the first person to have pursued serious scientific research by sampling the garbage patch." ---The New York Times
About the Author
Capt. Charles Moore has logged over 100,000 miles on research voyages, and his work has been featured on NPR, National Geographic, and in the Wall Street Journal.
Cassandra Phillips has worked as a newspaper reporter and won grant funding from the USDA Small Business and Innovation and Research program to research plastic's effects on orchids.
Mel Foster has narrated over 150 audiobooks and has won several awards. Twice an Audie finalist for 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History by Charles Bracelen Flood and Finding God in Unexpected Places by Philip Yancey, he won for the latter title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Shocking Revelation!Nov. 19 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
"Plastic Ocean" is a must read! The story of Captain Charles Moore, Citizen Scientist, who stumbled upon modern civilization's dirty little secret. The North Pacific Gyre holds tons of end user waste plastic which doesn't degrade and is not inert or benign as we have been lead to believe. The book takes the reader on a journey -- of ocean voyage, of scientific discovery, and as detective. Well written, the story moves along at a great clip, never getting bogged down while interweaving detailed information with the narrative. After reading this book, I can no longer look at my world in the same way again. FIVE STARS.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Other Side of PlasticJan. 29 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I received this as a gift and presumed 300 pages of dolphin tears penned by a bleeding heart and totally out of touch author. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this was NOT the case. The author and his team set out to describe the "dark side of plastic, how it's escaped from civilization and colonized the mid-ocean." They engage in a 'gonzo' yet perfectly legit science to collect data that ends up fascinating the world. The author is passionate about his field but usually retains a scientist's dispassionate tone. He keeps readers engaged by alternating chapters between voyages aboard his custom designed catamaran, 'Alguita', and the more technical aspects of the plastics industry or ocean pollution in general. In the process, readers learn about nurdles, ghost nets, salps, and the bizarre world of large ocean gyres. It's not perfect though, from this marine scientist's perspective, there are some technical shortcomings and the author is constantly battling against the urge to overextend the interpretation of his data.
Overall a great read and I couldn't agree more with this thought: "each purchase should be a moral decision that takes into account the life cycle of all the materials in your shopping basket..."
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Plastic, Plastic Everywhere!Feb. 27 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
The authors start the book out like it is a diary and it just doesn't hold the interest or imagination. It has way too much detail: Who cares if Moore borrowed his mother's '91 matron beige Cadillac coupe de ville for a trip (p. 89). It's details like this that slows down the story of PLASTIC OCEAN.
So, if you want to get into the excitement of the book skip to Chapter Six.
By the way, Apple's Steve Jobs is not idolized in this book because he--and others--were pushing iPods (a new one each year) "containing a myriad of toxic metals as well as waning resources like copper and oil [and, of course, there's plastic]--innovation and [non]disposability join hands for one reason: profit" (p. 96).
This is, of course, a non-fiction book. So, I will relate it to you via quotes that will, hopefully, shake you up as much as they did me:
Page 135: "More food processing means more food packaging, mostly plastic."
Page 139: "In this topsy-turvy world, what cheers investors bring environmentalists to tears."
Page 149: "Plastics are winning and are predicted to overtake paper as the reigning packaging material by 2014."
Page 150-1: "We need to stop cultivating innovation for its own sake and start thinking MORALLY [emphasis mine] and ecologically about the innovations we embrace. Is it worth trashing the planet? Each purchase should be a moral decision."
Page 152: In the north central Pacific waters is a place referred to as "Plastic Stew." But plastic is ubiquitous in many places in the ocean.
Page 157: "Albatross chicks by the tens of thousands perish each year, stuffed by their well-meaning parents with plastic non-food"--that comes from both land and water vessels.
Page 160: "Tens of thousands of northern fur seals [are] being killed by abandoned [plastic] nets."
Page 168: "Companies [ships] are not legally required to report [plastic container] spills [because] they are considered non-toxic. The ship owner escapes liability for any cleanup."
Page 172: "Whale feeding mostly happens near the sea surface where plastic fragments mingle with and mimic legitimate organisms."
Page 200: "...Plastic debris is second only to commercial fishing as a killer of marine life..."
Page 204: "...An estimated million seabirds are killed each year by entanglement in longlines [net lines] and 100,000 turtles and marine mammals."
Page 277: "Most of the 300 billion pounds of plastics produced each year start out s pellets. If a tenth of a percent escape to the oceans, that's a 150,000 ton annual deposit."
Page 259: "The United States lags behind Europe in technology [that converts some plastics to less harmful chemical compositions]."
Page 300: "There's just not enough profit in recovering, sorting, cleaning, processing and remanufacturing infinitely variable plastics. This is why we need extended PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY [emphasis mine] so industry won't make things that it can't economically recover."
Page 305: "Long-term value means not only durability, but recyclability. This takes the onus off consumption as the problem and puts it on industrial design, which must devise recyclable compounds for each product--to achieve zero waste."
Finally, the book deals with the new field of "green chemistry" and the idea of recycling entrepreneurs.
I gave this book a 4 because the writing undulates between exciting and boring. The subject itself, though, micro-plastics in the ocean, deserves serious attention.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Must ReadNov. 6 2011
Wilma K. Mussen
- Published on Amazon.com
I have been hearing about this plastic problem for some time but I had no idea how serious, complex and widespread the damage until I read this book. Captain Moore is a hero for devoting his life to this effort. Everyone should try to help. It affects us all more than you might think and not just people who live on coastlines. The ocean is the lungs of the earth and teems with life. If we continue the destruction, the consequences will be devastating.
Plastic Ocean was a totally enjoyable read, mixing biographical adventure with scientific research in just the right proportions for a book intended for general public and policy makers. The writing style is witty and clear - Absolutely loved the reference to the "eco-cognitive disconnect" of health food stores... And, although the information contained in the book has frightening implications for the planet, the book is not a downer. Moore presents real solutions from personal to policy level (not silly ideas like using huge nets to remove trash from the oceans). The reader can leave feeling not just informed but empowered. And, as everyone knows, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. Here in California, Capt. Moore's work is already having an effect - single use plastic bags have been banned in many cities, the ubiquitous single use plastic water bottle of the "healthy crowd" is largely replaced by stainless steel reusable bottles, enlightened restaurants are using biodegradable take-out containers made of sugar cane pulp. These are the first small steps in a long journey, but thanks in large part to Capt. Moore, the journey has begun.