Junk Raft
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.

Junk Raft Details

TitleJunk Raft
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 4th, 2017
PublisherBeacon Press
ISBN0807056405
ISBN-139780807056400
Number of pages216 pages
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Environment, Nature, Travel, Science, Natural History

Junk Raft Review

  • Mrs. Europaea
    March 28, 2017
    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.
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  • Peggy Tibbetts
    June 29, 2017
    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.
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  • Aisling
    April 17, 2017
    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.
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  • Nikki
    April 17, 2017
    Disclosure: ARC received from Edelweiss & publisher in exchange for an honest review. (They may regret this.) Any and all quotes were taken from an advanced edition subject to change in the final edition.
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