All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuffby Published 27 Feb 2018
|All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff.pdf|
|Publisher||Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books|
A garbage barge that can’t find a place to welcome it sparks a recycling movement in the United States.
Lowell Harrelson wanted to turn trash into methane gas so he rented a barge called Morbo 4000. His plan was to ship the garbage from New York to North Carolina, but as the barge floated down the coast, no state would let him dock because of smelly waste on board! The barge became a mockery and the butt of many jokes in the media. What started as an attempted business venture turned into quite the predicament for Mr. Harrelson.
Mobro 4000 roamed the seas for forty-five days and traveled a distance of 6,000 miles. While awaiting its fate, the trash floated in New York’s harbor, garnering much attention by onlookers. Green Peace activists put up a large banner across the barge that read, “NEXT TIME…TRY RECYCLING.”
Even though the garbage barge was a farce, the unintended consequence inspired America to find a new way to deal with its trash.
"All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff" Reviews
Important book as it has an important message about our environment and making conscientious choices. Will be a wonderful read for Earth Day, or a when you're talking about recycling.
My favorite part was all the 80s references :)
This title had a lot of the elements I tend to look for when browsing new nonfiction – a little-known story, a strangely compelling topic, and an author I’ve previously enjoyed. I was fascinated to learn about the garbage-filled barge that left New York in 1987, only to spend the next five months sailing from port to port, denied by five states, Mexico, Belize, and the Bahamas before returning to New York, where the garbage was eventually burned.
However, this book missed the mark in a fewareas. While I appreciated the use of direct quotes within the text, the writing fell flat, with little variance in the sentence structure, giving it a plodding feeling. The author used the phrase “the garbage was not welcome in _____” several times but didn’t quite capitalize on using that as a refrain for young readers. Several layout and design choices also marred the presentation – one spread had a noticeably different font size than the rest of the book, several spreads were busy and confusing to follow, and the backmatter is an extremely dense block of text. The additional information about recycling, garbage, and ocean garbage was interesting and relevant, but visually unappealing.
Ultimately, the most disappointing piece was the ending – the book concluded abruptly with the burning of the trash. I would have preferred another spread or two to tie the story of this garbage barge to the current state of trash disposal and recycling. Lowell Harrelson took the garbage because he wanted to harvest the methane from the decomposing trash to generate electricity. His plan didn’t come to fruition with his infamous ill-fated barge, but methane collection at landfills is now common practice. The striking visual of the 3,186 tons of trash floating on a barge also inspired more Americans to start recycling. Those connections are in the backmatter but I think the text would have been far stronger had that been included as the legacy of the garbage barge.
In 1987, when a New York landfill was almost out of room, Lowell Harrelson decided to take the trash and move it far away using a barge. His plan was to use the garbage to create methane gas that would be turned into electricity in North Carolina. But the garbage barge never made it to North Carolina, when the state got a court order to stop the barge. The barge was also not welcome in Alabama or Louisiana. It eventually made its way into the Gulf of Mexico and tried to enter Mexico, but that country refused it entry as well. Eventually, the barge returned to waters near New York, prepared to return the garbage to where it had come from. But even that was not simple. Finally, after five months at sea and traveling over 6,000 miles, the garbage was incinerated on order by a judge.
McCarthy nicely plays up two aspects of the story of the garbage barge, the ludicrous nature of the barge being stuck at sea for months and the environmental impact of the trash that humans create. She uses a light tone and light touch in her writing, making it accessible for children who will not have heard of the barge before. She also offers more details at the end of the book, explaining how the crew survived on the barge for so long and offering facts about the barge. She also has recycling facts, garbage facts, and information on ocean garbage in particular. A bibliography is also attached.
Part of the light tone of the book are the illustrations which feature McCarthy’s signature bug-eyed characters. She incorporates speech bubbles and larger images to effectively break up the text into readable chunks.
A funny and amazing true story of the garbage barge that captured the attention of everyone in 1987. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
In this book, Meghan McCarthy offers a great way to start a study of trash: our trash at home, in the workplace, in public places. It's everywhere! This time, in 1987, it's a story of a New York landfill that was almost out of room to add more trash and a businessman named Lowell Harrelson. He heard about the problem, wanted to help and then rented a barge and a tugboat to tow it in order to fill it with trash to alleviate the landfill's problem. He had a grand design to use the methane gas emitted from the decomposed trash to power a generator, thus to make electricity.
Unfortunately, after traveling five months and being rejected not only by several states, starting with North Carolina, and several Caribbean countries, this journey ended up right back home. It gained popularity during this unrequited voyage - quotes from popular news anchors are given, Greenpeace used it to make a statement. Finally, the blockage of this barge was lifted and piece by piece, the trash was burned, ash deposited. In the 'extra' information, McCarthy tells that small packets of the trash (before burning) were sold as souvenirs and one bale was saved by the Department of Transportation.
There's more to this story in the backmatter along with "garbage barge facts", Recycling Facts, Garbage Facts and Ocean Garbage Facts. Also, there are pictures of creative ways to "re-use" trash plus a selected bibliography.
We certainly do have a lot of stuff!
McCarthy, Meghan All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem With Stuff. PICTURE BOOK/NON-FICTION. Simon, 2018. $18. 9781481477529.
In 1987, a waste contractor from Alabama was going to make some money by taking garbage from New York and dumping it in North Carolina. But North Carolina didn’t want the garbage, and neither did the other states he tried – including Alabama – and several countries, for that matter. It took five months of wandering before the garbage on the barge found a permanent home.
You’d like to think that since that time we’ve become better at recycling and disposing of our garbage, but unfortunately that is just not true. The story is pretty complicated, but it would be a great part of any unit on garbage or recycling at any grade level.
EL, MS, HS - ESSENTIAL. Cindy, Library Teacher