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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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3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  280 Ratings  ·  53 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Book Him Danno
May 21, 2012 Book Him Danno rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Amanda
Jan 12, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm doing an average here -- 2 stars for writing style, 4 stars for topic/nature of the book.

The first third of the book was quite hard for me to get into -- I thought there was a lot of extra info that didn't need to be in the book (did not care about boat details and all the "salty sailor" lingo). And his writing style grated on my nerves -- he constantly fluctuated between present tense and past tense. It made it tough to read.

But, overall, super important topic, and it inspired a lot of thou
...more
R.d.
Jan 28, 2012 R.d. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: raindog-s-books
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
Nov 14, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Donna
Nov 14, 2015 Donna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, non-fiction
This is my first one star rating this year. I don't have many of these low ratings, plus this one even landed on my DNF pile which is very rare for me. I was more than half way through and I just couldn't do it any more. It was so dry and the beginning was filled with so much minutia that I kept saying to myself, "I'll just give it 30 more minutes." Then I'd repeat that time and time again. Finally when I started answering back, "Why do you want to?" I had to let it go.

I think this is a much ne
...more
Karen
Nov 05, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 30, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  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
P is for Polly
May 06, 2012 P is for Polly rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Taran Hewitt
Feb 06, 2015 Taran Hewitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan Flett
Jul 25, 2015 Ryan Flett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating and terrifying read. Most people probably know that pollution in the ocean is a problem, but they don't know the full extent of it. That's where this book comes in.

Moore paints a very detailed picture of the problems that plastics are causing in the earth's oceans, and supports his writing with fascinating and excellent research.

As Moore concludes, the problem won't stop until human beings change their values and behaviors, and this book does a wonderful job communicating
...more
Sariene
Well that was disturbing. It's one thing to know we have a plastics problem, it's another to have so clearly spelled out by someone who's spent decades chasing it around the ocean. I'm certainly even more motivated to reduce my household plastic use now. The only thing I can fault him for is briefly stepping far beyond the consensus and the evidence to assert that autism and autoimmune disorders are caused by our environmental contamination. The fact is we don't know that, and I was a little dis ...more
Loraine
May 06, 2012 Loraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Marita
Aug 26, 2014 Marita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Anne
Jan 24, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Dawn Wynne
Aug 30, 2014 Dawn Wynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 27, 2012 Siobhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment, 2012
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.
Joy
Oct 30, 2016 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
good!
Lorraine Akemann
I'm giving this book five stars because it's not often that you read a book that changes your course of action. This one did. The author was well written, well referenced, and well intentioned.
Melanie
Nov 30, 2011 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michelle
Jun 03, 2016 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ?
Recommended to Michelle by: Net Galley
`Plastic Ocean` is an Earth Science written by authors Charles Moore and Cassandra Phillips. The topic is the oceans `plastic soup`, the largest garbage dump on the planet. I believe the author's position on this subject is the deadly impact plastic is having on the land and ocean, with particles of plastic small enough to penetrate human skin causing a multitude of health problems.

This book is dedicated to the generation, not yet born, that creates the world where plastic pollution is unthink
...more
Nicole Means
Sep 23, 2012 Nicole Means rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark
Apr 14, 2016 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Captain's sincerity and dedication to his cause are commendable. And I did emerge from this book feeling both well informed and guilty about significant unintended consequences of our modern throwaway lifestyle. However, the turgidity of the prose could at times make me feel like my reading propellor was stuck in a fishing net that I needed to cut (i.e. read) my way out of. Perhaps the unfinished writing style is intended to give the book a sincere homespun quality, sort of like the products ...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
Michael Karol
Apr 08, 2013 Michael Karol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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.
Nora
Apr 28, 2014 Nora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
Cathie
Jul 26, 2012 Cathie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
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?
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