NNLM Reading Club: Environmental Health
NNLM Reading Club Book Kit
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Discussion Guide for Plastic: A Toxic Love Story
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Plastic built the modern world. Where would we be without bike helmets, baggies, toothbrushes, and pacemakers? But a century into our love affair with plastic, we’re starting to realize it’s not such a healthy relationship. Plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. As journalist Susan Freinkel points out in this engaging and eye-opening book, we’re nearing a crisis point. We’ve produced as much plastic in the past decade as we did in the entire twentieth century. We’re drowning in the stuff, and we need to start making some hard choices. Freinkel gives us the tools we need with a blend of lively anecdotes and analysis. She combs through scientific studies and economic data, reporting from China and across the United States to assess the real impact of plastic on our lives. She tells her story through eight familiar plastic objects: comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, soda bottle, and credit card. Her conclusion: we cannot stay on our plastic-paved path. And we don’t have to. Plastic points the way toward a new creative partnership with the material we love to hate but can’t seem to live without.
Plastic: A Toxic Love Story | Susan Freinkel | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2011 | 336 pages | ISBN: 978-0547152400
Susan Freinkel is a science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Discover Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications. She is also the author of American Chestnut, a social history of one of America's most common trees.