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February 28, 2013

Gloucester resident tackles plastics problem in novel

In a literary alchemy, Gloucester author JoeAnn Hart has transformed the essence of the word “float” and its multiple meanings into an environmental novel featuring Maine characters as complex as those who reside in this city, the nation’s oldest seaport.

In a one-sentence synopsis of the book, she wrote: “Float” is the story of one man’s attempt to save his business (a fish dehydration plant) and his marriage (to a marriage counselor), while attempting to develop a jellyfish alternative to the plastics that are killing the oceans.

Although the novel is humorous in its satire, the plot revolves around the current world crisis concerning the toxic nature of plastic refuse floating in the Earth’s oceans. Hart’s second novel, ‘Float’ was just released by the Ashland Creek Press, whose mission is to publish books with a world view. Her book is described as a novel about the interplay of art, industry and plastics in the ocean.

“If the oceans get sick, we’ll get sick and the point of the book is that we don’t have to save the Earth and the oceans because they will continue no matter what. But they will become uninhabitable for us. The point is we need to save ‘us’ and we need to save our habitat that we are destroying,” said Hart.

During her research for the book she wrote over two years, she said she was astounded to learn how dangerous plastics pollution is to the human body because it is a toxic substance.

“I thought of it as a physical object that was unsightly, that was litter and dangerous to sea life. But I didn’t realize it broke down into toxic chemicals. It breaks down into smaller bits of itself but it never goes away, not even at a microscopic size. Our bodies will break down after we die, but not plastic. These chemicals are in our water. It’s a big cycle and we are all part of the chain of life and it will catch up with us.”

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