Earlier this week, Kelli wrote a post called “Teaching Kids About Trash“, in which she asked her high school sustainability class, “When you throw something away, where does it go?” “Away” is the topic of Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Motion by Loree Griffin Burns. Based on the research program of oceanographer Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, Tracking Trash chronicles the journey of trash in our oceans (Be sure to read to the end of this post in order to learn how to win your own copy of Tracking Trash).
What do ocean currents have to do with preserving our marine environment? Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer became inspired to study this topic when his mother saw an article about hundreds of sneakers washing up on the beaches near Seattle. Dr. Ebbesmeyer wanted to discover the origin of the shoes. He stated,
Tracking toys and sneakers gives us a chance to see what the ocean does with our trash. We can see the movement of trash by the great ocean currents and we can see the disintegration of the trash over time…and we can learn from it.
So where did all those sneakers come from? During a Pacific storm, the Hansa Carrier, a cargo carrier from Korea, lost 21 metal containers. Five of those containers contained Nike tennis shoes.
Tracking Trash is not just about Dr. Ebbesmeyer and lost sneakers; it is packed full of information on latitude and longitude, waves, tides, currents, gyres, and what you can do. As the New York Times writes,
Burns tells his story, along with those of other scientists and citizens who track trash, and shares their genuinely fascinating and important discoveries about oceanic currents. It’s a science text, but there’s a bit of detective novel thrown in as well.
To win a copy of Tracking Trash, ask your children the very question Kelli asked her class: “When you throw something away, where does it go?” Leave a comment to this post with your children’s answers. The winner will be selected randomly from the comments and announced next Wednesday!
Jennifer Lance says
To get the ball rolling, I asked my six-year-old daughter. We recycle weekly and go to the dump every three months (we don’t have curbside service in the mountains:)) We also compost, so she doesn’t think of recycling or compost as trash.
“When you throw something away, where does it go?”
“Where’s the garbage go?”
“To the dump.”
“Then what happens to it?”
“Let me think for a second…it gets dumped in a field.”
“Then what happen?”
“It just sits there.”
“For how long?”
“Forever, wait no…maybe for like 10 or 7 years.”
“Then what happens to it?”
“A tractor runs it over, and it gets mushed into the ground.”
“Then what happens after the tractor mushes it into the ground?”
“It turns into dirt. It gets all ripped, then it turns into dirt.”
Betsy Gudz says
I asked my group this question. They range in age between 16 and 18. They replied as follows:
“It goes in the garbage. Then out to the road and the garbage men pick it up.”
“It ends up at the dump.”
“It all gets put in a landfill. They pile it up in the holes, put dirt over it, plant grass and go on to the next hole.”
“Yeah, once it all decomposes, they can use the old holes again and keep cycling through. That’s why the dump can always stay in the same place.”
– What if things don’t decompose?
“Everything does eventually. It just will.”
“Maybe they put chemicals on it or something to help break it down.”
“If you’re in the city, they compact the garbage and send it away on barges.”
I’d really like to win a copy. I asked my son what he thought, and he just said “no”. See, he’s only 18 months. “No” is his favorite word. Somehow, though, I think he managed to hit the nail on the head!
Kendra Holliday says
I asked my 7-yr-old daughter and she said, “It gets burnt.”
I said maybe some of it does. Then she asked, “Is that part of global warming?”
Then we talked about landfills and hauling trash and she suggested that we try not to throw away as much.
I told her that’s why we compost and donate and reuse as much as we can. And why I don’t buy her every single crummy toy she asks for.
I asked my 5 yr old daughter and this is her answer:
“In the trash and then to the dump.”
Cindi Hoppes says
Hello, My two sons are “older” and I am an avid recycle nut! I drive my husband crazy. I practically follow my family around to make sure they are not throwing away anything I could recycle!!!!! They basically know where our trash ends up! I am hoping they realize the impact on our environment. I am working on that one! Thanks,Cindi
Laura K says
Wow- what an interesting book. If I win, I would read it first, and then place it in the classroom library. I think we’ve come a long way from the 70’s when I went to school concerning the environment, but I think everyone here would agree we can and should do more.
Jill H. says
My oldest is 3…so her answer was..the Trash men take it to feed the Trash Monsters…and then the Mommy monster makes babies.
Please randomly select me!
“recycling!” i guess I have to a better job of explaining.
Please randomly select me!
My 3-year-old says, “In my tummy-tummy.”
My one year old said ‘truck’ He loves watching the garbage truck. LOL.
In the garbage and then where the garbage men take it, MOM! lol
To the trashcan! Well, she’s only 4 so we tried!! Thanks…
Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says
From my 7 year old: in the trashcan outside
From my 5 year old: in the trash
From my 8 year old: to the dump
blogged ya: http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2007/11/friday-edition-of-contests-galore_30.html
Hi, I dont have children yet, but I would still like to enter this giveaway! Thanks for a chance to win.
Caryn Bailey says
My son is 5 1/2 months old so he doesn’t talk yet but I’d still like to be entered to win! : )
“Ow. Uh guh.” Ok, she’s only 6 mos, but I asked, and we are serious beachy/marine animal people so our family would get a lot of use out this!