story by Julia Steele
photos by Monte Costa
Charles Moore is holding forth on his greatest passion: plastic. “The lubricant of globalization,” he calls it. Rapid fire, he cites grim statistics and describes vast scenes of pollution, all with scientific precision and his own sort of pragmatic poetry.
Then he pauses in his disquisition—only for a moment, though—to greet the vessel we have just pulled up to. She’s a motley miracle bobbing on 15,000 plastic bottles, a raft named Junk to honor the
fact that she is made entirely of trash. At this moment, she’s sailing into Honolulu on the last hour of an epic three-month crossing from California. Her voyage—2,600 miles over a quarter of a year—can be traced directly to one Moore himself made eleven years earlier: the defining voyage of his life.