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National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Careers in Science

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Careers in Science

Charles Moore
Ship captain and marine plastic debris researcher

How did you choose your present profession?
I chose marine research in response to the deteriorating condition of the marine environment.

What were your biggest motivators?
Pollution of recreational waters by bacteria forcing beach closures, and the large amount of trash in the ocean and on beaches.

Who were/are your greatest mentors/heroes?
My greatest mentor was Dr. Steven Weisberg of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP.org). My favorite hero is Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd.

What has been the biggest surprise in your life as a scientist?

How fast our plastic trash is polluting the entire ocean.

What would you recommend for students wanting to pursue a similar career?
Get sailing experience, get a captain’s license, start a 501c3 non-profit organization, build a research vessel and study how to restore the marine environment.

What do you like best about your profession?
The time spent at sea.

What would you say has been your greatest achievement?

Building a consensus that our “throw away” society has to change to a “zero waste” society.

What are your greatest fears for the future of the planet?
That we will lose the ability to unite for the radical changes needed.

What’s the one message you would like the next generation of scientists to hear?
Beware of the view that “the ‘material of knowledge exists in and for itself in the shape of a finished world apart from Thinking’, that it exists as ‘something in itself finished and complete, something which, as far as its reality is concerned, could entirely dispense with thought’, that the more remote an idea is from the impulses, interests, and wants of the living scientist, the more true it becomes. This is the utmost defamation of truth.”

What web sites, books, articles and other lay person references would you recommend for viewers interested in your work featured in Strange Days on Planet Earth?
The article “Trashed” appearing in the Nov. 2003 issue of “Natural History.”

Charles Moore video
Visit Moore's bio page »


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