Invisible Plastic: What Happens When Your Garbage Ends Up in the Ocean
Plastic is ubiquitous in our modern lives – a $17.6 billion industry in Canada alone that makes everything from shopping bags to packaging to clothing. It’s made our lives much more convenient and until recently we haven’t thought much about the fact that we throw a lot of it away after just one use, let alone what happens to the plastic that finds its way into the world’s oceans.
In Invisible Plastic, award-winning science writer Alanna Mitchell sets out on a quest to find out just what happens to plastic on the high seas. Her story is riveting, and essential reading for every concerned Canadian.
To get the full story, simply go to stardispatches.com and subscribe for $1/week. “Invisible Plastic” is also available for single-copy purchase at starstore.ca or iTunes.ca/StarDispatches for $2.99.
Sea Sick: the Hidden Crisis in the Global Ocean
by Alanna Mitchell
Published 2008 in Australia by Murdoch Books; in 2009 in Canada by McClelland & Stewart, in the U.S. by University of Chicago Press and in the U.K. by Oneworld
You thought the climate was the problem? Actually, it's the ocean.
Sea Sick is the first book to explain how the global ocean — 99 per cent of the planet's living space — is undergoing vast chemical changes at the hand of man and why that matters.
In a nutshell, some of the carbon dioxide we are putting into the air by burning fossil fuels is being absorbed by the ocean. That reverts it to a state it has not been in for millions of years: more acid, warmer, and more prone to vast oxygen-deprived dead zones. At risk is the very structure of life in the ocean and therefore, on the planet as a whole.
Mitchell has traveled around the world to find the big picture and translate the science.
She snorkels on the Great Barrier Reef, signs on as a member of the scientific crew examining the huge "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, traipses the beaches of Zanzibar to see how the world's poor will make do without fish, witnesses a breathtaking once-a-year coral spawning in the waters off Panama, immerses herself in the fantastical world of plankton and the acidifying ocean. Ultimately, as you follow Mitchell on a terrifying voyage to the bottom of the ocean, you face your own fear and despair and discover hope.
This book will forever change the way you see your planet.
praise for Sea Sick
“A riveting book of revelations about earth’s largest and most important habitat.”
----Australian biologist and author Tim Flannery
"Seasick is a salutary reminder that we ignore the fate of the seas at our peril.... Mitchell calls for people to recognize that massive international cooperation is needed if we're going to save the seas. Seasick is an adventure tale with scientists as the heroes. With wit, style, and a powerful sense of history it takes us on a worldwide fact- finding tour beneath the surface of Earth's largest habitat."
---- Roger Harrabin BBC Focus
"Dead zones in the oceans are scary places... Alanna Mitchell, a journalist with an engaging style and a liking for following around marine biologists on their boats, calls the human-made dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico 'the blob'."
----Fred Pearce New Scientist. Read full review here.
"Alanna Mitchell has called her book Sea Sick... but in reading it, I could not forestall the sense of discomfort I felt while bouncing across the Drake Passage. Not because of the writing or the idea of the book - she writes intelligently and passionately - but with the results of her investigation of the status of most important biome on Earth, the World Ocean."
---- Richard Ellis The Globe and Mail. Read full review here.
"The disasters Mitchell enumerates include widespread coastal pollution, bleached coral reefs, acidification, and the imminent loss of wild foods depended upon by millions of people. These problems and their possible solutions are a challenge to describe, but Mitchell’s journalistic skills keep her writing accessible."
----Louise Fabiani Quill & Quire. Read full review here.
“This book is fascinating, very sobering, and one everyone should read.”
----goodreading, the magazine for book lovers, Australia
“…a gripping read…” ----The Melbourne Age
“She goes beyond the now familiar story of reckless exploitation of the sea and argues for governments to look at the oceans as the place that makes up 99 per cent of the living space on the planet.” ----The Sydney Morning Herald
Interview with Mitchell on ABC (Australian Broadcast Corp.) show The National Interest. Transcript is downloadable.
Interview with Mitchell on Radio New Zealand National.
Interview with Mitchell on CBC's The Current.
Interview with Mitchell on Take 5.
Interview with Mitchell On the Line, both downloadable and available online.
Interview with Mitchell on CBC TV.
Interview with Mitchell on Book Lounge with Susan Renouf.
Interview with Mitchell by James Murray-White for Green Prophet.