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

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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 5 Gy 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 5 Gyres Institute with his wife, Anna Cummins, and set out to study the world's oceans with hundreds of volunteers, they discovered a "plastic smog" of microscopic debris that permeates our oceans globally, defying simple clean-up efforts. What's more, these microplastics and their toxic chemistry have seeped into the food chain, threatening marine life and humans alike. Far from being a gloomy treatise on an environmental catastrophe, though, Junk Raft tells the exciting story of Eriksen and his team's fight to solve the problem of plastic pollution. A scientist, activist, and inveterate adventurer, Eriksen is drawn to the sea by a desire to right an environmental injustice. Against long odds and common sense, he and his co-navigator, Joel Paschal, construct a "junk raft" made of plastic trash and set themselves adrift from Los Angeles to Hawaii, with no motor or support vessel, confronting perilous cyclones, food shortages, and a fast decaying raft. As Eriksen recounts his struggles to keep afloat, he immerses readers in the deep history of the plastic pollution crisis and the movement that has arisen to combat it. The proliferation of cheap plastic products during the twentieth century has left the world awash in trash. Meanwhile, the plastics industry, with its lobbying muscle, fights tooth and nail against any changes that would affect its lucrative status quo, instead defending poorly designed products and deflecting responsibility for the harm they cause. But, as Eriksen shows, the tide is turning in the battle to save the world's oceans. He recounts the successful efforts that he and many other activists are waging to fight corporate influence and demand that plastics producers be held accountable. Junk Raft provides concrete, actionable solutions and an empowering message: it's within our power to change the throw-away culture for the sake of our planet.


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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 5 Gy 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 5 Gyres Institute with his wife, Anna Cummins, and set out to study the world's oceans with hundreds of volunteers, they discovered a "plastic smog" of microscopic debris that permeates our oceans globally, defying simple clean-up efforts. What's more, these microplastics and their toxic chemistry have seeped into the food chain, threatening marine life and humans alike. Far from being a gloomy treatise on an environmental catastrophe, though, Junk Raft tells the exciting story of Eriksen and his team's fight to solve the problem of plastic pollution. A scientist, activist, and inveterate adventurer, Eriksen is drawn to the sea by a desire to right an environmental injustice. Against long odds and common sense, he and his co-navigator, Joel Paschal, construct a "junk raft" made of plastic trash and set themselves adrift from Los Angeles to Hawaii, with no motor or support vessel, confronting perilous cyclones, food shortages, and a fast decaying raft. As Eriksen recounts his struggles to keep afloat, he immerses readers in the deep history of the plastic pollution crisis and the movement that has arisen to combat it. The proliferation of cheap plastic products during the twentieth century has left the world awash in trash. Meanwhile, the plastics industry, with its lobbying muscle, fights tooth and nail against any changes that would affect its lucrative status quo, instead defending poorly designed products and deflecting responsibility for the harm they cause. But, as Eriksen shows, the tide is turning in the battle to save the world's oceans. He recounts the successful efforts that he and many other activists are waging to fight corporate influence and demand that plastics producers be held accountable. Junk Raft provides concrete, actionable solutions and an empowering message: it's within our power to change the throw-away culture for the sake of our planet.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Europaea

    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 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 What can we do about it? The obvious solution Erikson presents is to end throw away culture, that with our current methods of disposal and planned obsolescence of products the proof of the ocean Garbage Patch is that there is no proper method of thrown “away” as the manufactures driven by greed will have you believe. The plastic pollution in our oceans has a significant impact on wild life with microplastic particles showing up in the stomachs of many wild fish that society routinely ingests. This phenomena has caused sailors to turn into scientists, scientists to turn into activists, and activists to turn to politics to fight this pollution problem that is not taken as a serious matter that needs to be readily addressed. Erikson fights for movements that support a zero-waste lifestyle as he describes how the plastic pollution which keeps multiply annually is wrecking havoc on our wildlife, coral reefs and health.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darshil Patel

    Should have some images. However the message regarding activism is great.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Tibbetts

    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 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 attention on plastics and other pollutants in our oceans. Eriksen is a veteran and environmental researcher and activist. Prior to establishing the 5 Gyres Institute (dedicated to fighting plastic pollution) with his wife Anna, Eriksen sailed across the Pacific on “Junk Raft,” constructed with plastic bottles, plus 30 old sailboat masts for a deck and a Cessna 310 airplane as a cabin. Eriksen and his comrade in environmental advocacy Joel Pachal (an accomplished sailor) embarked on June 1, 2008, on a course set to imitate the route that trash follows when dumped into the ocean. What they observed was neither a garbage patch nor a trail of plastics. Instead they found micro and macro plastic particles so pervasive in the ocean environment they had become part of the food chain, ingested by and in most cases killing all species of marine life. In one instance the fish they caught for dinner were so polluted with microplastics they were inedible. Their journey was not without incident and harrowing close encounters with death, as well as days on end of boredom adrift on the flat sea. The most astonishing event was a meet-up in the middle of nowhere for a food and water swap with ocean rower Roz Savage. Eriksen infuses his Robinson Crusoe narrative with an exposition of the ongoing battle to fight plastic pollution in our oceans and waterways. Though Eriksen supports public awareness campaigns, better waste management, and bag bans, he places the ultimate responsibility at the feet of the plastics producers to produce less, recycle more, and foot the bill for reclaiming the tsunami of toxic junk that saturates our environment. You will never look at plastic the same way. “Junk Raft” is an unforgettable expedition through the sea of microplastics that charts our course out of this morass.

  4. 5 out of 5

    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 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, it has been broken down into much smaller and more harmful pieces as it becomes part of the food chain. And, along the way to learning more about the problem, we get to go along for the ride on a 2000+ mile journey with Marcus and his friend Joel on an ocean-going raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles. It seems extreme and it was all a bit more survivalist (Pacific storms, running low on food, escaping soda bottles...) than I'll ever personally want to try, but I thank Marcus Eriksen for doing it and telling about it. He is a passionate defender of our Earth. You'll want to know more about his 5 Gyres Institute, too. [The book would have benefitted from an index of acronyms. Too easy to get lost in unfamiliar initialisms used by scientific communities and governmental agencies when they are repeated after only being explained once in the body of the text some pages prior to their reuse.]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    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 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 confronting environmental hazards. ALEC is mentioned and discussed. Eriksen doesn't tell his story in an angry manner but explains his concern and how corporations who contribute to ALEC work to sew dissension and confuse the public and keep actions from being taken to stop pollution. A short nice book that helps explain why plastic is hurting people, wildlife and the Earth. I have to say domestic animals are being hurt too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    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 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 risk consuming and overpopulating until we collapse” (ibid.). Ericksen holds out hope in that, if our race can change its ways, we can yet save our planet, and thus, ourselves. Part seafaring adventure story and part anti-plastic pollution polemic, Eriksen relates the tale of his putting together a pontoon boat of sorts out of discarded plastic bottles and an eclectic assortment of cast off stuff, including the fuselage of a Cessna 310 airplane to serve as a cabin. Christening this barely seaworthy craft “Junk Raft,” he and a friend/navigator set sail from Long Beach, California, and drift with the wind and currents across the North Pacific Ocean until, 88 days later, they make landfall at Waikiki, Hawaii. Entries from the journal he kept along the way are interspersed with both vignettes of his former life as a battle-hardened United States Marine and his newfound career as an environmental scientist. Slowly and methodically, he builds an ironclad case of why oft-hyped “solutions,” such as recycling and incineration, just don’t work. The bottom line is that, these days, plastic in some form is everywhere, from the guts of the fish they catch and filet on the deck of their raft to the calcified lumps trapped within the bleached bones of camels out in the middle of the desert. As Ericksen makes plain, the problem with plastic is that it doesn’t rot, degrade, break down or any other term one would care to use. Plastic simply gets shredded by the elements into smaller and smaller pieces, until it becomes what is known as “microplastics.” You might not be able to see it, but it’s still there. As befitting the academic rigor of one trained to parse fact from fiction, there is an ample selection of citations to books, websites and scholarly journals in the “Notes” section of the book. While some might scoff that his was a mere publicity stunt, it is evident from the man’s passionate language and sound reasoning that he risked his life for his principles. With luck and pluck, he succeeded, not only in bringing his voyage to a joyous conclusion but also in bringing a well told tale of a clear and present danger to the attention of the reading public. Review by Michael Bemis.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cavak

    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 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 been widely addressed until just recently in the United States. But with Eriksen's insight, you can get an idea of why that is the case. Eriksen's narrative is laced with the steps needed for his dangerous voyage and flashbacks to his fighting during the 1991 Gulf War. I have not read his first book, My River Home, to compare how the books' tone differ besides subject matter, but his life experiences help add urgency to his activism message. For one, you can tell that he writes from the heart. He wasn't testing ocean water in a comfy air-conditioned lab; he was getting blasted by the sun and vicious storms getting his samples. He's seen the damage plastic has had on animals himself. Dramatic as it may seem to some, it does provide vivid visuals and adrenaline to a subject matter that may have otherwise been dismissed for being "boring." The ending is a little cheesy to me because of it, but, well, you can argue that it isn't supposed to be the true ending. While his skepticism towards lobbyists bleeds through, it's hard to deny that the United States can do better with its plastic production. I guess environmental issues in general, since there's also natural conservation, endangered species protection, and safe nuclear waste disposal that politicians still need to address and agree on. If the US mass media has the gall to criticize Europe, India, and China over their pollution problems, even when these countries have started to shown vast improvements in recent years, why can't they address and report on their own country's faults too? That's the question that Eriksen's book makes you want to ask yourself after you're done reading it. I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

  8. 5 out of 5

    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-rang 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-ranging exploration that, fairly regularly, delves into details of chemistry, design, and even biology. In other words, although this book is powerful and worth reading, it's also not an easy read. Still, at the center of the work is a sense of power and optimism that offers the work a certain inertia, and so I have to think that most readers will find this book worth the time and focus it requires. I will admit, I think it could have been stronger with a bit more time spent on the journey Eriksen took toward becoming the conservationist he is, offering the path behind him to make him feel more approachable and relatable, and the book might have benefitted from a bit more focus on the present moment of the journey to break up the science of plastics... but that doesn't lessen the book's insight and intelligence. This is a careful and smartly researched endeavor to inform interested readers of what should be common knowledge regarding plastics, recycling, and potential for change, along with all of the false myths perpetrated by big business. Readers who are interested enough to pick it up, and to stay engaged with it, will be glad they did.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    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 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 plastic I probably would have given it 4 stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    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!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Howard

    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 about 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 about how we as a society and a world should deal with plastic, but my feelings on how we interact with, consume, and recycle plastics has totally changed after reading JUNK RAFT. Eriksen's passion is inspiring and he does an admirable job of explaining his thinking without coming off as a nutty environmental extremist. He is also realistic in acknowledging that while he believes there are an infinite numbers of changes to be made involving all aspects of plastic, only so much can be achieved at a time and that small steps in the right direction sometimes is all that can be done and that small step is still valuable and necessary. He throws in some stories for shock value, but really what fascinated me the most was the seemingly simple stories of how little things that every person can do to affect larger change. A man you definitely want to meet because you will be inspired just by being around him, Eriksen's passion is infectious. JUNK RAFT is an adventure story for readers who want that and an education for readers who want that and Eriksen weaves both parts together in such a way that adventurists are inspired and actvitists are entertained. I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aisling

    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 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 could otherwise be a standard diatribe against a behemoth industry. As a result, you get lost in the man himself, his love story, his hopes, his dreams and expectations- and his courage, going all in to make a point about what he believes. I was a big fan of this, and I hope thousands read it when it comes to the wider public.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Kelley

    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 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 economy. Our world consumes too much, designs too many single-use products, and wastes too much. We try to make ourselves feel better my recycling a small percentage of this avalanche of stuff. When it comes to plastics, only 9% of the 300 million tons produced annually is recycled. The rest finds its was to landfills, incinerators, or into our rivers and oceans. We must do better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    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 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 straw and set of silverware in my purse! It has changed the way I shop as a consumer forever. The message in this book is so important. The author's raft voyage portion of the story was a bit disjointed and I really wish he had included photos in the book. Overall, I am very glad I read this and it is just the beginning for me in my education on plastic pollution.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    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 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 the Junk Raft's voyage itself was monotonous and even a bit nauseating to read about (the guts of some of the fish they caught to eat were filled with shreds of plastic!), the informational portions were both convicting and useful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    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 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 community uses incineration to get rid of the plastic we don't recycle; I had been assured this was the best way. Now I know different. I still give the book 2.5 stars because it took me forever to get through it, which means I really didn't like it enough.

  17. 4 out of 5

    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 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 able to read this and would recommend others who have any interest in our environment to give this book a read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    K.N.

    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. 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    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.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Birch

    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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela Howe-stemrich

    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!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    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. 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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    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. 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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tmanning

    Excellent resource on plastic pollution in our ocean, why it continues and ways we can stop it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Milt

    at sea, plasticized. did gyre and gimble in the wabe. constant drumbeat hearting ecology. advocative. subsquently see National Geographic June 2018.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah

    Interesting and informative. Could have used a map of their voyage and maybe a diagram of their raft though.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Gunn

    This was a good read. What a creative way to bring to light an issue we all need to address: plastics. We need to take care of our planet, and the constant production of plastics will not help our planet. We are only hurting ourselves and future generations. We seem to have this mindset that as long as we recycle or properly dispose our waste, then we've done our planet good. And that's what the plastic-producers want us to think. But the reality is cost of actually reusing plastic is expensive This was a good read. What a creative way to bring to light an issue we all need to address: plastics. We need to take care of our planet, and the constant production of plastics will not help our planet. We are only hurting ourselves and future generations. We seem to have this mindset that as long as we recycle or properly dispose our waste, then we've done our planet good. And that's what the plastic-producers want us to think. But the reality is cost of actually reusing plastic is expensive and not in the interest of some companies. Recycling sometimes is just the re-allocation of waste to other countries. This is the cornerstone of industry strategy since World War II--eliminate the burden of costs for negative externalities. It was throw-away living in the 1950s. It was crying Indian ads in the 1970s that made consumers feel guilty about littering, distracting them from the more meaningful issue of product design. It was crushing bottle bills across the United States in the 1990s and shifting responsibility for bottle waste from industry to taxpayer-funded recycling programs. Today it's World Bank loans to small countries, so they can buy waste-to-energy incinerators to burn it all and keep new plastic production alive. We have allowed companies to lobby for recycling programs and pushed that responsibility to the consumer. We, the consumer, have become responsible for the handling and disposal of corporate waste. Instead, we need to pass bills and legislator that requires companies to reduce their waste and create products for longer use or reusability. Contamination from plastic pollution is a terrestrial problem as much as it is a marine problem. Humans have altered the earth with roads, mines, buildings, ditches, dams, and dumps to the degree that our era deserves a name--the Anthropocene. Natural history is punctuated by changes in life, due either to rapid evolution or catastrophic extinction, and evidence of change is sometimes marked by well-preserved, widely distributed fossils. What is our fossil equivalent? Some suggest it's black carbon from the Industrial Revolution, which shows up in the seafloor and ice caps, or it's radioactive isotopes from the mid-twentieth-century nuclear tests. Now, with evidence of plastic, transported by wind and waves, blanketing Earth from the seafloor to the tops of mountains, it is arguable that plastic is the best index fossil that represents us. Even if we stop polluting the planet with plastic today, we will have to live with a layer of microplastics that will represent this moment in natural history, when a single species so deeply affected the planet for a short while. What a sad reality? We have blanketed our planet with plastics. Everywhere from the mountaintops to the seafloor. It's in our food, our water, our hygiene products. We have certainly left our mark on our planet and left behind a fossil record to show it. Good book, highly recommend it for everybody to read to understand the situation we have found ourselves in.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sean Butler

    Marcus Erikson took one of the largest environmental issues that are known to man and created an easy way to learn more and understand the issues that plastics pose to our environment. He speaks about and educates us on the supposed "trash island" that is in the ocean that although being a real issue the microplastics that's actually in the ocean are not very known about. I followed the book and was able to understand the issues stemming from our plastic waste, although I would've like to see so Marcus Erikson took one of the largest environmental issues that are known to man and created an easy way to learn more and understand the issues that plastics pose to our environment. He speaks about and educates us on the supposed "trash island" that is in the ocean that although being a real issue the microplastics that's actually in the ocean are not very known about. I followed the book and was able to understand the issues stemming from our plastic waste, although I would've like to see some images throughout the book when they would describe certain things or narrate sections of his journey. While taking us through his insane journey Marcus also educates the re4asders about societal issues such as throwaway culture and how there is truly no away in the sense that the public is brought up to believe. The constant production of single-use plastics is such a large-scale issue, yet because of the large corporations, most people believe that their waste is properly disposed of or recycled. The fact that he did manage the journey on his makeshift raft, shows his true burning passion for the issues that we are facing. Without activists and scientists like Marcus, I would have never questioned why companies want us to throw things away, why they want us to keep producing more. Some sections of the book did become hard to read, as the jargon and acronyms started to be used quite heavily in certain sections, but to fully state his point he would need to use the right information. The extreme stunt he had pulled stresses how extreme of an issue he is combatting and I like that Marcus has stayed true to his work founding the 5 Gyres with his wife after the Junk Raft Journey. Whether through facts, logic, and studies or his personal experience, Marcus teaches his readers and Calls for a movement towards a zero-waste society. His ideas of working towards a circular economy are very well thought out and should have some consideration. The idea is to get rid of planned obsolesce in products and allow for more reuse and less disposal of "waste". Keeping up with the linear economy we have right now will further continue the destruction of our environment and overall health.

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