Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"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, an audiobook narrator since 2002, won an Audie Award for Finding God in Unexpected Places by Philip Yancey. He has also won several AudioFile Earphones Awards. Best known for mysteries, Mel has also narrated classic authors such as Thoreau, Nabokov, and Whitman.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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..."
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.
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.
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