Plastic, Ahoy!

Plastic, Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Here is a post in honor of Earth Day! This is a guest post written by my older sister.

Goodreads Synopsis:

These scientists are on a mission. As part of a research expedition known as SEAPLEX, theyre studying the massive accumulation of plastic in the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. As they use the scientific method to conduct their investigation, their adventures will introduce readers to the basics of ocean science and the hazards of plastics.

Review:

Recycle. Go Green.   Earth Day. All common buzzwords ringing in the ears of 21st century Americans and heavily reinforced now by many commercial businesses as well as schools, neighborhoods, and other localized communities. While environmental enthusiasm can vary greatly from college to college or city to city, it’s a pretty safe bet that some form of eco-responsibility has weaved itself into the habits of at least a handful of the population at hand. Whether this means recycling a water bottle, using the back side of scrap paper, or somewhere in between, however, I think for many it’s become just that: a habit. Very few recyclers think, “Hey, good thing I didn’t trash that; looks like I just saved another 7000 bacterial species” every time they dispose of waste, because unfortunately most do not understand the gravity or sheer complexity of the issues Mother Earth is currently struggling to handle. In her children’s book, Plastic, Ahoy!, which I recently read courtesy of Net Galley, Patricia Newman simplifies one of the largest yet relatively unpublicized concerns, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is an accumulation of millions of pieces of plastic off the Coast of California, and it has many serious environmental implications studied by a Scripps research group highlighted in this book, from the atmospheric carbon dioxide buildup resulting from the death of phytoplankton to the frequency of human pollution as a result of chemicals embedded in mass-produced plastic. Plastic, Ahoy! presents some of the latest environmental research not only in a way that is understandable to the average reader, but to many children as well. She has been able to elicit important lessons from the heavy science of the research itself, and for the most part keeps the reader engaged and focused through a variety of methods, such as ‘Trash Talk’ blurbs and glossary terms, which are useful but perhaps maybe a bit more effective if they were bolded in text. She ends with a list of creative ways to ‘give the ocean a voice’ beyond just recycling or reusing. There are a number of truly innovative ideas that I’ve never heard of, and I think Newman communicates her message very clearly. There are some portions of the book I would imagine might be a bit dry for a young reader (or even those adults with low interest levels in the science research involved), but for the most part it was a great read and definitely not something children will have learned too much about, so worth a read for sure.

The Book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18353968-plastic-ahoy?ac=1

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