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Yearly Free Book Program Tackles Plastic Pollution

The UCSB Reads 7th annual program is distributing free copies of Donovan Hohn’s Moby-Duck this Thursday in the Davidson Library’s main lobby for participants in the communal reading initiative.

The program features Hohn’s literature concerning humans’ environmental impact to spark discussion on consumerism, global trade, science and the media in keeping with this year’s theme, ‘Making an impact. What’s yours?’ Moby-Duck, which chronicles the journey of 28,800 bath toys released into the Pacific Ocean after a storm destroyed their shipping container, was selected for its exposure of controversial shipping and manufacturing practices.

College of Creative Studies Dean and earth science professor Bruce Tiffney, who serves on the UCSB Reads Advisory Committee, said the work demonstrates civilization’s far-reaching effects on Earth.

“Among many other things, the plastic ducks that set this book going bring us face-to-face with another way in which our dependence on oil impacts our planet –– plastic pollution,” Tiffney said in a press release. “We know global warming results from fossil fuels but these same fuels create plastic bags, bottles and … ducks — structures whose individual environmental impact will be with us for decades if not centuries, but which are normally hidden from our consciousness.”

The book was chosen by the program’s new Campus Committee, which is comprised of students, professors and other Advisory Committee members. According to UCSB Library Outreach Coordinator Jane Faulkner, the program educates students about various sustainable issues to encourage environmentally conscious behavior on campus.

“Not withstanding Floatopia, UCSB has always been very energetic and active in the green movement,” Faulkner said. “But even on campus, we sell something like 225 plastic water bottles a day. We want to plant the seed of interest and awareness about sustainability [in students].”

Although the Davidson Library and the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor traditionally present UCSB Reads, several additional organizations including the Associated Students Coastal Fund and the Plastic Pollution Coalition are sponsoring this year’s installment. Various local institutions including Westmont College, Santa Barbara Community College, public libraries and local high schools will also participate in promoting Moby-Duck.

According to Hohn, Moby-Duck provides insight into the ecological struggles within our oceans.

“I’m tempted to say that we can never know the full extent of the impact our actions have, as parts of the book illustrate,” Hohn said. “I hope the book is for [students] a voyage of discovery. I hope it helps them see and understand the world a little more clearly, the watery part of the world especially.”

Chancellor Henry T. Yang will help distribute copies Thursday at 8:30 a.m. while the library will hand out special edition copies containing an essay written by Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas until 11:30 a.m.

Additionally, UCSB will host a series of Community Conversations to engage faculty in discussion about the book and Hohn will present a free lecture on March 5 at Campbell Hall.

Visit http://guides.library.ucsb.edu/ucsbreads for more information about scheduled events.

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2 Responses to Yearly Free Book Program Tackles Plastic Pollution

  1. PPC

    January 11, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Plastic Pollution Coalition is really thrilled to be a part of this. Visit http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org to learn how to get started on refusing single-use and disposable plastic.

  2. Chryss

    January 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

    The book giveaway is this Thursday at the Library, starting with Chancellor and Dilling Yang handing out the first copy. Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas will be at the Library at 11:30. The book giveaway continues all day, as long as there are copies available.