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!