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Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis Hardcover – Mar 3 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1st Edition edition (March 3 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771061161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771061165
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2 x 22.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #327,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Quill & Quire

We call this planet “Earth,” although water covers about 75% of its surface. This discrepancy has undoubtedly influenced the way we have historically regarded the world’s oceans: as seemingly endless dumping grounds and inexhaustible sources of seafood and other commodities. As the pernicious effects of climate change exacerbate millennia of abuse, is it too late to save the oceans? Former Globe and Mail environment reporter Alanna Mitchell, author of Dancing at the Dead Sea, asks this question – and many others – in her new book. The disasters Mitchell enumerates include widespread coastal pollution, bleached coral reefs, acidification, and the imminent loss of wild foods depended upon by millions of people. These problems and their possible solutions are a challenge to describe, but Mitchell’s journalistic skills keep her writing accessible. Each chapter in the book blends lucid, factual explanation of complex subjects with engaging chronicles of the author’s travels to far-flung parts of the globe. The book’s unrelentingly sombre tone can be tough to stick with. Mitchell notes that other writers feel the need to inject hope into their own doomsday scenarios, but for her the prospect proves daunting until the very end, when she has an epiphany while exploring the dark reaches of the ocean in a submersible (bringing new meaning to the term “rapture of the deep”). As hopefulness floods her, she realizes humans may yet rise to the occasion and turn things around. Sea Sick’s lack of footnotes and source notes give it a personal feel (albeit with a decidedly scientific and ethical slant). But this lack of analytical rigour will likely be of little concern to popular-science aficionados eager to understand the current predicament facing three-quarters of the planetary surface.

Review

“A riveting book of revelations about Earth’s largest and most important habitat.”
— Tim Flannery, author of The Weathermakers

Sea Sick is the most comprehensive book to date on the state of our oceans. With a writer’s eye for detail and a reporter’s expertise in pulling in disparate information, Mitchell has woven a powerful and deeply unsettling story about our collective abuse of the cradle of all life. Fortunately, she also gives us hope and a path forward if we have the wisdom to act.”
— Maude Barlow
 
“Alanna Mitchell has brilliantly woven together the threads of science taking place all over the world pointing to an accelerating crisis in the world’s oceans. She makes the case compellingly that the declining health of the planet's oceans — the place where life began, larger than our atmosphere and where 99% of life exists — is an imminent threat to survival on land. I thought I was sufficiently well-informed and alert to the risks of planetary collapse before reading this book. Turns out I was wrong. The climate crisis is more an ocean crisis. That she still finds reasons to hope is one reason you must read this book.”
— Elizabeth May
 
“Humanity is visiting a desolation upon the world. We already bear primary responsibility for the extermination of more than 100,000 fellow species/fellow travelers. During the next few decades, that colossal massacre may well be doubled or trebled. Death is running amok on the earth, but especially in the sea. If you would know how and why, read Sea Sick . . . although it may make you heartsick.”
— Farley Mowat

“…she writes intelligently and passionately. You need to read it too.”
Globe & Mail

“Keeping the ocean's life switch turned on will require all of us to, like Mitchell, choose hope and to do something about it. Reading this book is a good first step.”
— Montreal Gazette

“A strong examination of degraded global ocean health based on years of research with top world scientists.”
The Vancouver Province

“An engaging overview on the state of our oceans.”
Treehugger.com

“Each chapter in the book blends lucid, factual explanation of complex subjects with engaging chronicles of the author’s travels to far-flung parts of the globe.”
Quill & Quire

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Format: Hardcover
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"The ocean is impossibly complicated, interconnected, turbulent, and non-linear, and it touches every part of life. Humans can only understand it by trying to grasp far simpler proxies. Such as: every tear you cry ends up back in the ocean system. Every third molecule of carbon dioxide you exhale is absorbed into the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from the oxygen produced by [the global ocean`s] plankton."

The above comes from the prologue of this stunningly informative book by newspaper journalist and environmental reporter Alanna Mitchell. (In the United States, this book is entitled "Seasick.")

Mitchell has written a book about the ocean. So! What's the big deal? Well, she has discovered that "the global ocean [is] in crisis" or is "sick." What's causing it to be sick? Answer: human activity.

If all life on land were to die, the ocean and all life in it would still thrive. But the reverse is not true. If all ocean life dies, life on land would die also.

Mitchell researched this book across five continents and over two and a half years. She "travelled from country to country, topic to topic, research boat to research boat" talking with many key scientists along the way. This book is a record of her adventures, observations, and what she has learned. It is well-written and easy to follow.

Mitchell joins the crews of leading scientists in nine of these global ocean`s hotspots:

(1) The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
(2) Gulf of Mexico, U.S.
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Format: Hardcover
Essential for the uninformed but lacks footnotes and reads too much like a travel log. This book should have been a soft cover, easy to carry and cheap enough to give to friends. It don't think the author had to travel the world to interview people on site. A thorough phone discussion would have brought the same results in a concise and more informative way. Also very emotionally affected by what she experienced fist hand, the author gets slightly sidetracked with describing the characters physical traits or situations irrelevant to the seriousness of the topic.
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Format: Hardcover
Alanna has the rare skill of being able to grasp sometimes arcane scientific data, translate it into layman's language into such a way that we're able to 'get' why it's important, and weave it into compelling stories of those who are being impacted directly and why you & I should care, as well as the stories of how she learned all of this. This book is an easy read, yet yielded a distinctly *un*easy queasiness in the pit of my stomach. As someone has been quoted, "you thought climate change was the problem -- actually, it's the ocean." {Yes, singular -- as she tells us there are not multiple oceans on the planet -- it's all one big, interconnected system.)
I highly recommend this book to all who are concerned about the state of our planetary life-support systems.
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Format: Paperback
The author is providing the general public with a concise, thought provoking and extremely frightening sample of what is going on inside the world's oceans. I, personally, am hoping that more and more people are going to read this book, get informed and step outside their daily lives of driving, diapers, grocery shopping and cell phones and realize that we are IN a crisis situation, and we can not afford to look the other way anymore. The ocean is the foundation of life as we know it, and provides us, self absorbed humans, with oxygen. We quickly forget this when we get bogged down with modern life. Government and lay people need to understand and respect the ocean, and the life that lives in it. We need to change our attitudes immediately and there has to be a shift from being "takers" and "abusers" of the ocean environment to "conservationists." Mitchell is a beautiful and gifted writer/journalist, and I'm so happy and relieved that we have her to illuminate the magic and the mystery that is the ocean, and the fragile state it is presently in. It's time to act now, and taking that step to buy this book and get informed is the right step, and will get us and our government moving in a better direction.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written book. It is approachable by anyone and will leave you with a very haunting understanding of how our oceans are changing and the potential impact on human existance.

Mitchell's book can now be considered to be one of the four pillars of required reading for those who really want to understand climate change. The other three are "The Weathermakers" by Tim Flannery, "The Economics of Climate Change" by Sir Nicholas Stern, and of course "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore.

This truly is a must read and it is so engaging, frank, and at some points truly disturbing in the import of its content, that you will not want to put it down. At the end of it I hope you will believe that you can become part of the solution and not wind up despairing for the human race.
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