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

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  197 ratings  ·  41 reviews
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 sur ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Avery Publishing Group (first published September 29th 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 595)
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Book Him Danno
You can argue about the environment, whether the crisis is manmade or natural, and what we should do about it until you are blue in the face. The problem most of the green movement is faith based and is actually volatile to true science. But trash is an exception. Trash is clearly a man-made object, and as humans we are terrible at disposing of it in a consistent, efficient, and clean manner. Any walk about your community or even a local nature area will demonstrate how we fail at this, with lit ...more
R.d.
This is a fascinating, if not depressing, book about the pollution of our oceans by plastic products. It seems there's no end to man's ability to muck up perfectly pristine environments. The book is a bit heavy on the side of factoids, but I suppose Captain Moore would rather err on the side of overkill than let us think things aren't truly dire beneath the waves and filtering through our fishy food chain. If we are what we eat, then in no time we, too, will be made of plastic! What a pleasant t ...more
Karen
All the plastics ever manufactured, still exists. Plastics absorb & concentrates toxins. Ultimately billions of tons of plastic finds its way into our ocean and is consumed by marine life. As horrifying as this is, it gets worse. Plastic bits eventually blanket the ocean floor in a type of plastic sand, creating a barrier to the natural oceanic carbon sink which naturally absorbs 25% of the carbon in our atmosphere. In other words, plastics accelerate global warming, with no chance of biodeg ...more
Karen
Oh my gosh! What a book! It is very upsetting to read of our destruction of the oceans with plastics. There was one spot in the book where I had to turn away for awhile until I could continue reading. I highly recommend this and also recommend learning to say no to plastic.
Nicole
Jul 11, 2013 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who cares about this planet
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it's definitely on my re-read list. I quite like Charles Moore's style. He's one of those scientists I'd love to meet.

Here are some of this things that really stood out to me:

"But this story has never been only about plastics. It's about an epic shift from austerity and frugality to abundance and profligacy" (97).

*"You may think it's wrong to knock large corporations for their green efforts. You may think they will lead the way to a greener way of life. And whi
...more
Loraine
Factoid: Over the course of two years of plastics production, the weight of those plastics equals the collective weight of every man, woman, and child on this planet.

Depressing as hell . . . a must read, especially for those of us who want good, quality arguments for reducing/eliminating our addiction to oil and oil-based products, which of course plastic is. We need to stop using the ocean as a convenient dump, for a variety of reasons, not least our moral obligation to the future of all creatu
...more
Taran Hewitt
I have just read the paperback edition (pub 2012) and it was an extraordinarily interesting read. Captain "Charlie" has done some really first class research into not only the plastic that has collected in the East Pacific Gyre, but also into the history and use of plastics over the last fifty or so years. The book provides a fascinating insight into the way American society (in particular) has become fixated on a world that is dominated by the throwaway attitudes that have developed from the 10 ...more
Dawn Wynne
Charles Moore is a pioneer discovering what is consider to be the garbage patches in our oceans. He clearly explains why plastic is so harmful and why our only solution is to eliminate our dependence on plastic. Recycling is not enough. A must read to truly understand this devastating epidemic we are faced with.
Siobhan
Bottom line: There is no piece of plastic too small to have a devastating effect on ourselves and the environment, and our consumption (and disposal) of plastic is totally out of control. Highly recommended.
Melanie
This is a MUST read. I am definitely going to make an effort to use a lot less plastic. I hope Plastic Ocean sparks a movement amongst consumers to protest the use of plastic.
Megan
A surprisingly good read, well-written (great job Cassandra Phillips!) and most interesting from start to finish. It offers a varied collection of personal stories and science on the problems with plastic in the ocean and strengthens it's underlying message throughout the book. That said, I would read this "non-fiction" book with a grain of salt ... as a couple of the "facts" presented in the book are incorrect. Regardless, I would highly encourage each of you to pick it up and decide for yourse ...more
Agile Kindergarten
All the plastics ever manufactured, still exists. Plastics absorb & concentrates toxins. Ultimately billions of tons of plastic finds its way into our ocean and is consumed by marine life. As horrifying as this is, it gets worse. Plastic bits eventually blanket the ocean floor in a type of plastic sand, creating a barrier to the natural oceanic carbon sink which naturally absorbs 25% of the carbon in our atmosphere. In other words, plastics accelerate global warming, with no chance of biodeg ...more
P is for Polly
May 06, 2012 P is for Polly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to P is for Polly by: Angela Olsen
Charles Moore, like the sea captain he is, masterfully reels in readers; spinning a yarn of thirteen years of personal experiences into a shared quest for truth about the state of the Earth's Oceans. More gripping than the Odyssey, Charles walks with readers along beaches,through ancient still waters and across the silent parts of the planet.
What does a carpenter do with his childhood love of the ocean, and some inheritance in his pocket? He builds a boat, get's a captains license, and asks que
...more
Nicole Means
While this book did not always captivate my attention, I gave this book a 4 star rating because the topic of our addiction to plastic consumption deserves serious attention. After reading this book I feel a strong sense of hopelessness that I am a part of the disposable culture which has led to wasteful behavior. Is it too late to turn back, or can we work together to save our oceans from continued destruction? I am appalled at the audacity of humanity to use the oceans as a dumping site, as evi ...more
Nora
It's not bad enough that we're killing ourselves with plastic and its manufacturing processes. Now we're killing helpless animals, and the very planet we live on with our selfish choices. Captain Charles Moore discovered what he named 'the Great Pacific Garbage Patch' in 1997. It's a spot in the ocean where environmental conditions meet just so & create a dead zone. So humanity's trash floats in a huge plastic soup killing everything it comes in contact with.
Marita
My first exposure of this problem was when the Indonesian airplane went down and can't be found because of all the debris in the oceans. So I picked this up from the library to learn some more of the subject, and boy was I blown away!! How terrible we humans are in pursue of profit and ease. The question should not be of how big of a carbon footprint are you leaving behind, but how big of a PLASTIC one!! Wow.
Nora
Very interesting content and insights on the plastic in the ocean. The writing style is clunky and the choice to narrate historical events in the present tense (and out of sequence) is jarring. It's the first-hand account that makes it compelling, but the topic deserves a better book written by a more accomplished writer.
Robb Johnston
Wonderful story about the sad state of our oceans, our planet, and our stewardship of both. This book provides excellent background into the origins of marine plastic pollution. A must-read for anyone interested in environmental issues.
Becky
I was somewhat disappointed by this book. I was expecting more of the story of the discovery of the Great Garbage Patch and how it became known worldwide. I guess there just wasn't much of a story. I did enjoy the portions about what is really out there in the Patch, as opposed to the idea one gets after reading the news reports. The information about various types of plastic pollutants was informative, if somewhat dry.
Claude
Eye-opening book on the destructive power of plastics ( and mass consumption).
Michael Karol
I'm about halfway through this book, and though it is excellent, it's also mighty sad. Which is why I might not finish it. I weep when I think of what we've done to the planet, and the oceans in particular. The fact that our plastic, no-end-to-its-shelf-life, waste has ended up in these obscene, HUGE garbage patches in the oceans, and will end up killing us (because it is being consumed by sea creatures that we consume) is ironic and horrific and every other bad word you can think of. Clean up o ...more
Tuck
chalres moore "discovered" the garbage patch in the pacific gyre. he then dedicated his life to researching ocean currents and how plastic acts in those currents. turns out there are giant eddies where much our trash collects, that is what doesn't sink, break down into floating plastic sand, wash up on the beaches, fowl and kill sea life that eats it. read this book and never accept a plastic or Styrofoam cup again. moore is on tough, driven hombre who is doing incredible work, practically on hi ...more
Anne
Wow. Turned out to be a page turner/accessible book about a scientist turned activist's path to discovering the magnitude of plastic pollution in the ocean. Really changed my views on recycling, plastics in general and what the focus of my own environmental activism should be. It is getting a lot of attention in the environmental media, but I thought it was a very readable book.

One of the best books I've read this year. Found myself waking up early to read before the school day hustle!
Jessica
Fascinating, well-researched, and… demoralizing. We are absolutely immersed in toxins, the ocean is close to wrecked, and there's not a lot we can do about it. But. Read this book anyway. It will shift your worldview a little, and when millions of us shift our worldview, things change. The prose can get a little technical, but let yourself skim over some parts, and you'll get plenty from this book.
Kim
Scary stuff. There is an area of the ocean where in some spots, the plastic outweighs the plankton by a ratio of 6 to 1! I have changed my ways a bit since reading this book: no more plastic bags, switched from Tupperware and Gladware to glassware, and from plastic wrap to waxed paper or aluminum foil. It is hard though, plastics are everywhere!
Cathie
Wow, the extent plastic has taken over our lives would be aw inspiring if it didn't have such a dark side. The bottom line is that plastic is taking over our lives and making us sick. It makes me think, what did we do before plastic? How did we package things? How did we hold things? How did we ship things? How did we go into the outdoors?
John
Very well researched and well written. This book opened my eyes even more than they already were. Plastic is a staple in our diets now! It is trly shocking and sad to see how we are polluting our planet with millions of tons of plastic every year. The plastic we use will outlast us by many many years. I say www.rejectplastic.com.
Mike
A startling wake up call to the plastic garbage and micro plastics in our world and especially the oceans. It's a well written book. The authors have a life long commitment to research and to bring to the public and scientific community the issue of 'marine debris'. Informative, well researched, and readable...........
Wes
This is an important book in the saga of man vs. nature. It is rather frightening to think that Mother Earth is in danger of being enclosed in plastic and this book spells out the problem and wonders about solutions. A good read, if rather technical. I'm not a chemistry major.
Barry
The oceans are filling up with plastic, and the problem is worse - in a number of ways - than most of us realise. I will never look at plastic the same way again. Short You Tube version of the message here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEKohT...
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