Penguin Speakers Bureau

Captain Charles Moore

Author of Plastic Ocean and Founder of the Algalita Marine Research Institute


In the summer of 1997, Captain Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu with the sole intention of returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast "oceanic desert" where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a "plastic soup." He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet--a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean’s food base, by a factor of six to one.

His ominous findings were recorded in papers on oceanic plastic particulate pollution, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, and in a review article entitled "Synthetic polymers in the marine environment: A rapidly increasing, long term threat," published in Environmental Research. His revelation of the secret life and hidden properties of plastics shocked the scientific community and contributed to his reputation as a world-renowned investigator in ocean studies.

From milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and some cancers. It was Captain Moore’s investigation of secretions by plastic processors that resulted in the passage of a “Nurdle Bill” to prohibit the discharge of pre-production plastic pellets in the state of California. 

Since launching his aluminum hulled research vessel, Alguita, in Hobart, Tasmania in 1995, Captain Moore has logged over 100,000 miles of research voyages aboard. His work has been featured on Good Morning America, Nightline, The Colbert Report, and the National Geographic special Strange Days on Planet Earth. He lives in Long Beach, California.

Speaking Topics

  • Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans

    Captain Moore's famous discoveries led him to become a scientist-activist investigating what others had passed over--the plastic "confetti" created from our floating plastic discards by ultraviolet sunlight and the turbulent waters of a salty sea. In his presentations and his book Plastic Ocean, Captain Moore chronicles his scientific investigations of our ocean's plastic load aboard ORV Alguita, and his impassioned, fiercely unorthodox style of working that results not only in authoring peer reviewed articles in scientific journals, but also in run-ins with skeptical officialdom, controversy, and the media glare of TV shows like Nightline, Late Night with David Letterman, The Colbert Report, and National Public Radio broadcasts. Join Captain Moore, the founder of Algalita Marine Research Foundation, for a riveting expose of humanity's "plastic footprint." An acclaimed speaker and international authority, Captain Moore explains in vivid detail his first-hand experience of the alarming consequences millions of tons of plastic waste is having on the marine environment and, ultimately, us.

More About This Speaker

Featured Book

Plastic Ocean

"A hero...Moore is the first person to have pursued serious scientific research by sampling the garbage patch."

The New York Times

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