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Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  32 reviews
An exciting account of an activist scientist's unorthodox fight in the growing movement against plastic marine pollution and of his expedition across the Pacific on a home-made "junk raft"

News media brought the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch"--the famous swirling gyre of plastic pollution in the ocean--into the public consciousness. But when Marcus Eriksen cofounded the
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Beacon Press
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Start your review of Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution
The message reinforced throughout the book is highly important. I'll never look at plastics, and or 'trash' the same way again. Despite recycling, there is so much more at stake riding under the radar than most consumers realize. Every single thing we buy, will, at some point, come to the end of its purpose, or usefulness, and/or its intended lifespan. Then what? We throw these trinkets, bobbles, gizmos, gadgets, bottles, doodads, shoes, boats, cars - away.

But there is really no 'away'. Away is
Mrs. Europaea
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As someone who stays awake at night due to anxiety-induced insomnia over our current pollution problem and what affect it will have on my children’s future, I was highly anticipating the publication of Junk Raft. Erikson gives a thorough account of our plastic pollution problem in Junk Raft that will even make those deniers out there give zero-waste management another thought.

The two main questions that Erikson focuses on in this text is: How much plastic waste is in the world’s oceans? and
Darshil Patel
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Should have some images. However the message regarding activism is great.
Peggy Tibbetts
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At the outset, author Marcus Eriksen exposes the truth behind the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, supposedly floating between California and Hawaii that is twice the size of Texas. In 1997, Captain Charles Moore’s actual discovery was billions upon billions of tiny, colored plastic particles -- from micro to macro -- floating on the flat sea surface and encompassing an area about twice the size of Texas. But the floating garbage island meme was a better sell with the media and focused public attent ...more
Rebecca Watts
Fascinating read that explains what happens to the proliferation of plastic in our lives when we decide it's garbage. Spoiler alert: It's everywhere. And while most of this book focuses on the fact that it's smogging up our oceans, it also touches on the fact that plenty of terrestrial animals are affected by plastic bags and other plastic culprits in their environments. I learned that the "great plastic garbage patch" is really a misconception and that by the time most plastic reaches the gyres ...more
Marcus Eriksen is a naturalist who saw that plastic was affecting wildlife so much, he became a scientist. In 2008, he sailed on a boat made of plastic bottles and bags to bring awareness to the public the effect of plastic on the the oceans and lakes. In this book, he tells his tale of his journey with his partner along with his knowledge of how plastic is affecting the Earth. He tells what he knows about plastic, plastic creating corporations and how the American legal process works when confr ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Marcus Eriksen is a man on a mission, which he sums up in the Prologue as “…to end the throwaway culture” (p. x). “Easier said than done,” the cynic might snort. However, the author is enough of a pragmatist to realize that the human race has no other choice. Either we clean up our act or we drown in a sea of our own waste. He pulls no punches when he states forthrightly of his fellow Homo sapiens: “As short-lived, short-sighted, bipedal, big-brained primates preoccupied with war and sex, we ris ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Activism at its finest: informative, firsthand, respectful, and concise. If you weren't aware about the potential dangers of plastic or microbeads in our world, then this book will do plenty to inform you about them without the condescending tone some other activism books may have. He is raw and curt about what the reality of the situation that currently pervades the world. It's unfortunate that it doesn't include the effects that plastic ingestion may have with people, something which has been not bee ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a perceptive examination of the proliferation of plastic pollution in the world - focussed primarily on plastics in the world's oceans. The author and a friend sailed a raft from L.A. to Hawaii to highlight the problem of plastic pollution -hence the name Junk Raft. The raft was supported by pontoons containing thousands of plastic bottles taken from recycling facilities. The book combines a story of the voyage to Hawaii with the author's description of the problem of plastic proliferati ...more
Jennifer Collins
Junk Raft tackles a wide range of myths about pollution, plastics, and recycling, painting a picture of our world's trash & plastics issues against a backdrop of grassroots organizations, a large raft made of 'junk', and hope for a sustainable world. And, yes, it's a lot. There are chapters here which are fast and easy to digest, as clear as they are powerful; there are just as many chapters, though, that readers will find harder to digest if they don't have any background in Eriksen's wide- ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked this book up thinking that it would be about the author's voyage from California to Hawaii aboard a raft made from thousands of plastic bottles, which sounded fascinating. Erikson is a clever fellow, surely knowing that there would be many readers just like me who would be drawn to an adventure book more quickly than to a book about the perils of plastic trash. I have to admit that all that material about plastic was actually quite interesting. If I had intended to read a book about pla ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
Very detailed insight into the problem with plastic on the planet set against the backdrop of sailing from CA to HI on a plastic pontoon. If you want to be inspired to use less plastic in your life and angered at industry, read this!!
Edwin Howard
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
JUNK RAFT by Marcus Eriksen chronicles Eriksen's trek across the Pacific Ocean on a Raft made of repurposed/recycled materials (mostly plastic) in 2008. Eriksen couples the recounting of this event with an education on plastic; from creation, to consumption, to the end life of plastics and how the world is suffering on multiple levels because of the many misunderstandings and mishandling of plastics from creation to decomposition (or lack thereof).
I'll leave the heavy arguments to Eriksen
Geoffrey Kelley
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the subtitle indicates, this really a two-books-in-one exercise. There is the compelling story of the author and his colleague/friend who set out on a « junk raft » fashioned from empty plastic bottles , old masts and the cabin of a Cessna, and sail/ drift from a California to Hawaii, collecting water samples showing the omnipresence of plastics in our oceans. Weaved through this narrative are an amalgam of scientific debates, calls to activism, and a plea to move from a linear to circular ec ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Junk Raft is exceptional. I like to think my environmental and conservation knowledge are quite strong, but Eriksen draws particular attention to plastic pollution, the size of the industry and its horrific impact specifically in our oceans. He redefines the plastics debate from one of 'recycling' to reducing the need for plastics and champions an end to the planned obsolescence manufacturing trend.

Eriksen's Junk Raft journey is documented throughout the book, adding tension and reality to what
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
The author and a friend sailed a raft made with plastic bottles taken from recycling facilities from California to Hawaii to highlight the problem of plastic pollution . The amount of plastic in the oceans is frightening. The microscopic pieces of plastic are ingested by fish of all sizes and then passed up the food chain until they end up on our dinner plates. This book was very informative and definitely inspired me to eliminate single use plastics from my life. I now carry a stainless steel s ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The author's self-awareness, practicality, and nonjudgmental ardor repeatedly surprised me. The author begins by talking about his experience of sailing from CA to HI on a raft made of garbage. But instead using environmentalism to talk about himself, Eriksen seems more eager to use his experience as an excuse to talk about how our waste impacts both animals and marginalized people (for example, the workers who die early from sorting the waste that the US sends overseas for "recycling"). While t ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I give this book 2.5 stars. It wasn't what I was expecting. I did not research it before getting it from the library and I thought it would be an adventure tale. So, it took me a long long time to get into the book. I renewed it as many times as the library allows. I am already doing as much as I can every day to reduce plastic use in my life, so I agree with what Marcus has to say. I learned some things as well and am curious as to whether plastic has infiltrated fresh water sources too. My com ...more
Scott Fritz
Marcus Eriksen book Junk Raft offers its readers a wonderful adventure sailing across the Northern Pacific garbage patch to Hawaii. It also intermingles facts about how plastic is causing major issues with our ocean wildlife. Much of the factual information about plastics has been covered in other books on the issue but this book still offers up a great introduction to the subject. I enjoyed the parts about the voyage and some of the day to day struggles of that journey. I am glad that I was abl ...more
Hayley Birch
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read that is already influencing the choices I make when purchasing things. Not only plastics but waste in general.

The first few chapters are a bit dry and I found them difficult to read - it was hard to keep track of all the acronyms! However, once they launch the raft and the journey begins it was really easy going,with science and adventure blended in a relevant, interesting and informative way.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you think recycling is enough of a contribution to our trash and plastic problem in this world you will quickly see how wrong you are. Told through snippets of a travel diary during a 2 month 2600 mile journey from California to Hawaii on a plastic raft, each chapter reveals another shocking disgusting horrible thing that plastic does to people and the planet. Marcus and Anna do important work.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Marcus Eriksen comes off as completely likable in this book, and he has a very interesting story to tell. However, the composition and flow of this book was a little odd and not fully what I expected. I enjoyed reading it, but this would have been a better library read than a purchase.
Angela Howe-stemrich
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book telling the tale of plastic pollution first hand while taking the reader on a journey across the Pacific Ocean and through a beautiful romance. Marcus Eriksen gives the most accurate landscape of the current advocacy battles against plastic pollution and the major challenges lying ahead. This is a phenomenal book!
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Engaging, though occasionally bogged in industry jargon and scientific principles that were sometimes hard to follow. The end result, as I'm sure Eriksen intended, is making the reader consider their own consumption and the practices of their community.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was so full of information and so easy to read. I really enjoy Marcus Eriksen's writing style. This is about the journey on the junk raft, as well as an in depth history on plastics and the policies that keep us from progressing closer to zero waste. I highly recommend reading this.
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
at sea, plasticized. did gyre and gimble in the wabe. constant drumbeat hearting ecology. advocative.
subsquently see National Geographic June 2018.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
A poetic read despite being about pollution. Great resource that debunks some plastic myths. A necessary read for anyone growing up or procreating in this century.
Interesting and informative. Could have used a map of their voyage and maybe a diagram of their raft though.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource on plastic pollution in our ocean, why it continues and ways we can stop it.
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