Publishers take on planet's 'plastic pandemic'

Publishers take on planet's 'plastic pandemic'

Two more publishers are wading into the market for books educating the public about plastic’s ruinous impact on the environment and what humanity can do to help clean up its act.

Ebury has revealed it is releasing an “eco-friendly” guide in May by Martin Dorey, founder of international anti-plastic movement the #2minutebeachclean, while Orion imprint Trapeze has announced it is publishing Turning the Tide on Plastic in July, a “call to arms” against single-use plastic by journalist, broadcaster and eco lifestyle expert Lucy Siegle.

The acquisitions follow the success of the BBC's “Blue Planet II” last year, presented by David Attenborough, which brought the issue home to 14 million viewers. Without intervention, at the current rate, pieces of plastic will outnumber fish in the ocean by 2050, it revealed. The programme led to a 500% increase in the search term “how to reduce plastic waste” through Google and has already prompted Penguin Life to get to work on a guide to giving up plastic from Greenpeace UK’s head of oceans, due out in September.

Ebury’ £7.99 book, entitled No. More. Plastic., will include a host of ideas about how readers can make a difference - even by spending as little as two minutes of their time - and comes complete with a foreword by Chris Packham.

Dorey, a surfer who started the #2minutebeachclean initiative after North Atlantic storms left UK beaches littered with plastic rubbish, is donating a percentage of the profits from this book to the #2minutebeachclean foundation, which challenges people to pick up beach litter for 2 minutes, bag it, tag it and bin it.

Editorial director Laura Higginson bought UK and Commonwealth Rights (excluding Canada) from Tim Bates at PFD. Higginson said of the acquisition: “We’re really proud to publish Martin's smart, accessible book. His enthusiasm is infectious – he can bring everyone into the conversation, doesn’t preach, doesn’t make you feel stupid and his ideas are simple, do-able and proven to be really effective. We all know about the global plastic crisis. Martin’s book is packed with ways we can actually make a genuine difference.”

Dorey said: “The #2minutebeachclean laid solid foundations for the #2minutesolution, and this book. The notion is simple: we all have the power to change the world, small actions add up and every change we make matters."

Trapeze’s £12.99 paperback Turning the Tide is meanwhile framed around its author’s four-step “reduce, rethink, refill, refuse” approach showing readers how they can each ditch over 1,000 single items of plastic in a year by following "practical and doable tips". Siegle has a weekly spot on BBC One's "The One Show" dedicated to battling waste plastic. She has also worked on environmental projects with celebrities including Emma Watson and Ellie Goulding.

Anna Valentine, publisher of Trapeze, bought UK and Commonwealth rights for Turning the Tide on Plastic from Araminta Whitley at LAW.

Valentine said: "It’s easy to feel despondent and powerless to make a difference, but Lucy helps to turn our anger and emotion into action, starting by making a big dent in our own enormous plastic consumption. 

"I’m incredibly excited about Turning the Tide on Plastic, which not only help us to make sensible changes in our everyday lives, but also inspires us to speak up, take action and demand the change we want to see in the ocean, in the supermarket aisles and on the streets. I’m honoured to be publishing this important book."

Siegle said: "Nobody is unmoved by this subject. Every person I've met has told me they want to call time on the plastic pandemic so this is my plan to help them."

Each publisher has made a point of undertaking all efforts to remove plastic from the production and distribution of their respective books.