Garbage Patch Kid

BLUE HILL — Explorer, sailor and ocean advocate Captain Charles Moore will launch MERI’s 20th anniversary celebrations with the first Ocean Environment Lecture of 2010, “A Sea of Plastic” on Friday, Jan. 8. Doors open for a reception honoring Mr. Moore at 6 p.m., followed by his lecture at 7 p.m.


On a return voyage from a yachting competition across the Pacific in 1997, Mr. Moore accidentally stumbled upon an enormous swirling swath of plastic garbage twice the size of Texas floating at sea. “There were shampoo caps and soap bottles and plastic bags and fishing floats as far as I could see,” Mr. Moore has recalled. “Here I was in the middle of the ocean, and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic.”

Scientists estimate there are now some 10 million tons of plastic in what has become widely known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Each year, this confetti of plastic flowing from land into our ocean kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals, 1 million seabirds, and threatens the health of the entire marine ecosystem.

Since his discovery, Mr. Moore has been at the forefront of the investigation to track the scope and implication of plastic contamination on the marine food chain, logging more than 100,000 miles aboard his research vessel, Alguita. As founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its watershed through research, education and restoration, his mission is to shed light on one of the most under-recognized yet ubiquitous issues facing our planet – plastic debris in our oceans.

Mr. Moore’s lecture is the first in the 2010 Ocean Environment Lectures Series, themed Oceans In Crisis: Facing the Threat in celebration of MERI’s 20th Anniversary. The evening is sponsored by Blue Hill Co-Op Community Market and Café. Blue Hill chef Diane Bianco will prepare appetizers for the reception featuring recipes from her upcoming cookbook, “Let’s Party in Maine!”

The Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI), located at 55 Main Street in Blue Hill, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the marine environment and human health through scientific research and education. Members of the public are welcome to visit the MERI Center’s Ocean Aquarium, Sea Lending Library, Eco-Store, and Ocean Art Gallery. For information call 374-2135, e-mail to [email protected] or visit MERI online at

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