An exciting account of an activist scientist’s unorthodox fight against plastic marine pollution and of his expedition across the Pacific on a home-made junk raft

Product Code: 6752
ISBN: 9780807061725
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 216
Published Date: 06/05/2018
Availability: Not currently available.
(Backorder policy)
Price: $18.00

Over the past several years, the news media has brought the “Great Pacific garbage patch”—that famous Texas-sized patch of litter swirling in the ocean—into the public consciousness. When Marcus Eriksen co-founded the 5 Gyres Institute and set out to study marine pollution, he found that the reality is even more dire: instead of a stable mass of litter, he discovered that a “plastic smog” of microparticles permeates the world’s oceans, defying easy clean-up efforts. What’s more, these microplastics have seeped into the food chain, threatening marine animals and humans alike.

Far from being a gloomy treatise on an environmental catastrophe, Junk Raft tells the exciting story of Eriksen’s fight to raise awareness and solve the problem of plastic pollution. Readers follow Eriksen on his voyage from Los Angeles to Hawaii aboard his homemade raft, and along the way he recounts his successful efforts to fight corporate influence and demand that plastics producers take responsibility for a problem they’ve created. Eriksen provides concrete, actionable solutions and an empowering message that it’s up to bold activists and citizen scientists to challenge the status quo for the sake of the planet.

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Synthetic Seas

Junk & Gyre


Junk-o-philia: Our Obsession with Stuff

Thrown Away

Coming Unscrewed: The Little Fish in a Big Sea

“Junk In, Junk Out”

Guadalupe Loop: The Recycling Myth

Too Wasteful to Value: ChicoBag vs. Plastic-Bag Lobby

Waves and Windmills: A Case for the Eco-Pragmatist

Wasting Away: The Fate, Fallacy, and Fantasy of Ocean Cleanup

Synthetic Drift: Human Health and Our Trash

Little Fish Bites Big Fish

A Plastic Smog

The Great Divide: The Linear vs. Circular Economy

A Revolution by Design


“Eriksen succeeds in dramatizing a significant problem and enlisting popular support, noting some immediate steps that can be taken to create recyclable products...The thrills and chills of rafting packaged with a compelling call to action.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Eriksen’s work is a much-needed wake-up call for the public to pressure politicians to finally tackle an often-overlooked but deadly form of pollution.” —Booklist

Junk Raft is a stimulating, thought-provoking and factually grounded read.” —Nature

“This book combines many of my favorite things—adventure far from shore, the spirit of exploration, and the fight to save our oceans—all in a gripping narrative that’s also a parable for our time. In the battle for the future of our living world, Marcus Eriksen is a true warrior.” —James Cameron, filmmaker and deep-ocean explorer

“Navigating between an epic seafaring adventure and an activist’s environmental distress call, Junk Raft serves as a reflection of the choices and journeys that each of us makes and helps us understand how plastic in the oceans is deeply intertwined with the future of human life. Eriksen gets at the heart of what it means to respond to environmental catastrophe on our imperiled planet. As Marcus’s wife, Anna, puts it so memorably, ‘Love creates justice.’” —Céline Cousteau, documentary filmmaker, artist, and environmental activist

“Marcus Eriksen and I share the same struggle, namely, to draw back the plastic curtain in order to subdue the monster that the plastics industry created. Junk Raft is filled with adventure, romance, and important truths that will be needed by the thousands of groups who will eventually overcome the beast. This book heralds the beginning of a new field of scientific research, adding fuel to movements dedicated to the survival and liberation of the natural and human worlds.” —Captain Charles Moore, author of Plastic Ocean and founder of Algalita Marine Research and Education

“When the junk raft was originally making its crossing from California to Hawaii, it was big news for ocean lovers around the world. It’s exciting to now be able to read such a personal account of these adventures, exploring the thoughts that were going through Marcus’s mind, and the daily challenges that arise when taking a journey as monumental as this one.” —Jack Johnson, musician and clean-ocean activist

Junk Raft takes us on an exciting and quixotic voyage of exploration, adventure, and activism, and along the way, Marcus Eriksen somehow manages to turn his cutting-edge research into an engaging love story. Don’t be fooled by the title—Eriksen’s Junk Raft carries a treasure chest full of adventurous stories, wise insights, and valuable lessons on how to protect our oceans.” —Stuart H. Coleman, author of Eddie Would Go and Hawaii manager of the Surfrider Foundation

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