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Please note that the paperback includes a new afterword by the author.
The researcher who discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – and remains one of today's key advocates for plastic pollution awareness – inspires a fundamental rethinking of the modern Plastic Age.
In 1997, environmentalist Charles Moore discovered the world's largest collection of floating trash – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – while sailing from Hawaii to California. Moore was shocked by the level of pollution that he saw. And in the last 20 years, it's only gotten worse – a 2018 study has found that the vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific Ocean is now bigger than France, Germany, and Spain combined – far larger than previously feared.
In Plastic Ocean, Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life of plastics. From milk jugs and abandoned fishing gear to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin and be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments, including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and certain cancers. An urgent call to action, Plastic Ocean's sobering revalations have been embraced by activists, concerned parents, and anyone alarmed by the deadly impact and implications of this man-made environmental catastrophe.
A Note to the Reader
1. A Plastic Soup
2. Synthetic Evolution
3. Surfing the Learning Curve
4. Swept Away: The Oceans as Global Dumpster
5. The Plastic Sea Around Us
6. The Invention of throwaway Living
8. The Plastic Age
9. Gonzo Science
10. The Message Finds its Medium
11. Net Losses
13. Bad Chemistry
14. Debris Forensics
15. Erasing Our Plastic Footprint
Sources and Resources
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. She lives in Kamuela, Hawaii.
"A hero [...] Moore is the first person to have pursued serious scientific research by sampling the garbage patch."
– The New York Times
"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."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Captain Moore set sail across the pacific and saw what others missed, a plastic plague upon the ocean. This great new book explains that groundbreaking discovery and how our throwaway culture is devastating our sea life."
– Laurie David, author
"In Plastic Ocean, readers join Captain Moore on journeys through history, into science labs and to remote parts of the ocean – revealing information both fascinating and incredibly important. A must read for anyone who likes a good adventure and wants to tackle today's pressing environmental problems."
– Annie Leonard, author and host, The Story of Stuff
"An ocean's hero's call to action."
"Highly readable, thoughtful, honest, and determined, Plastic Ocean is a book with staying power."