There’s an invasive species in our oceans: Plasticus maritimus. It’s a threat to our world. What is it? What can we do about it? You can download the Parent & Teacher Companion Guide here.
When she was young, biologist Ana Pêgo didn’t play in a backyard, but on a beach. She walked along the shore, looked at tide pools, and collected fossils. As she grew older, Pêgo noticed a new species at the seaside: plastic. She decided to collect it, study it, and give it a Latin name—Plasticus maritimus—to warn people of its dangers to our planet.
Inspired by Pêgo’s life’s work, and filled with engaging science and colorful photographs, this foundational look at ocean plastics explains why they are such an urgent contemporary issue. Pêgo tells us how plastics end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans, shares plastic’s chemical composition and physical properties, and offers a field guide to help readers identify and understand this new invasive species in all its forms, from the obvious (fishing nets and water bottles) to the unfamiliar (tiny, clear particles called microplastics). Finally, she offers a critical look at our current “solutions” to plastic contamination and in her most important proposal—REVOLUTIONIZE—calls for deep changes in our habits, motivating young and old alike to make a difference, together. An artificial and almost indestructible species, Plasticus maritimus deserves to have its days numbered! Together, we can send it packing.
Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.
Ana Pêgo is a marine biologist and is involved in environmental education projects that combine science and art to raise people’s awareness about the need to conserve the ocean. She created Plasticus Maritimus — an ongoing project and Facebook page, where she gives regular updates on her findings.
Isabel Minhós Martins graduated in Communication Design from Lisbon College of Fine Arts and co-founder of the Portuguese publisher Planeta Tangerina. She the author of numerous books, including When I Was Born.
Bernardo P. Carvalho is an award-winning illustrator and co-founder of the Portuguese publisher, Planeta Tangerina.