Eriksen, Marcus 1967–
Eriksen, Marcus 1967–
Born August 8, 1967. Education: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Ph.D.
Writer, education specialist. Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, education adviser. Military service: Marine Corps, served in the Gulf War, 1991.
Veterans for Peace.
Marcus Eriksen is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in the first Gulf War and is an avid environmentalist who learned firsthand from his time in Kuwait of the damage that man can to the environment. Eriksen has promoted environmental causes by journeying 2,000 miles on the Mississippi River to see "what happens when forty-two percent of the U.S. drains down one river," as Erika I. Ritchie noted in the Orange Country Register Online. "He found an unending trail of garbage along its banks," Ritchie further noted. Eriksen has also sailed a small boat constructed of 800 two-liter plastic bottles and powered by castoff sails made from men's polyester shirts. The craft, named the Fluke, took Eriksen down the California coast from Santa Barbara southward to dramatize the effects of pollution on the environment, including some three to five million tons of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean alone.
Eriksen documented his journey down the Mississippi as well as his personal journey from being a Marine to becoming a peace activist and environmentalist in the 2007 book,My River Home: A Journey from the Gulf War to the Gulf of Mexico. Eriksen's craft for his river voyage was also made of plastic bottles and powered by a paddle wheel that was in turn pedal-powered. This raft served as Eriksen's home for five months as he traveled southward to the Gulf of Mexico, having to avoid floating garbage en route, but also meeting new people along the way and reconnecting with Middle America. Eriksen was not alone on this journey, joined by a young woman to whom he was once engaged. They shared the difficulties and well as joys of this journey; she pedaling while he paddled. In the text, Eriksen's own views about not only the devastating effects of pollution, but also of the War in Iraq are made abundantly clear. A Kirkus Reviews critic found My River Home somewhat too polemical, terming it an "uneven document, at times rich in the details of one man's psyche and life in Middle America, at other times a raging op-ed piece." Another assessment was offered by an Internet Bookwatch reviewer who thought the book "could easily have been reviewed as a travelogue or true adventure, [but] what makes it so much more is its insights on military transitions." Similarly, for a Publishers Weekly contributor, Eriksen's "candid anger is tempered by the first-time author's often-humorous accounts of his misadventures on the river."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Eriksen, Marcus,My River Home: A Journey from the Gulf War to the Gulf of Mexico, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2007.
Capper's, June 8, 2004, John J. Dunphy, "Man Takes Recycled Boat on 2,348-Mile Journey," p. 14.
Internet Bookwatch, June, 2007, review of My River Home.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of My River Home, p. 60.
Publishers Weekly, January 15, 2007, review of My River Home, p. 40.
Algalita Marine Research Foundation Web site,http://www.algalita.org/ (November 6, 2007), "Marcus Eriksen."
Beacon Press Web site,http://www.beacon.org/ (November 6, 2007), "Markus Eriksen."
Orange County Register Online,http://www.ocregister.com/ (June 19, 2006), Erika I. Ritchie, "One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Boat."