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Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis Paperback – Mar 2 2010
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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.”
“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
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
I highly recommend this book to all who are concerned about the state of our planetary life-support systems.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Humans cannot live if the ocean dice, and we are killing the ocean.
If Alanna Mitchell hasn't scared the hell out of you by the time you finish this book, then you haven't... Read more
Best environment book. It deserves 10 stars!! A must read for all who care about life. We can thank plankton for every second breath we take. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Barbara Frensch
Mitchell has written a superb book that provides a science based overview of the key stressors on our world-wide oceans caused by humans and related to climate change.Published on Oct. 7 2013 by George Smith
All in all an excellent, albeit sad, book about what is happening to our oceans with climate change. Well written.Published on Aug. 24 2013 by Nat
Yes, this is a great start for anyone who doesn't really know a whole lot about what exactly is going on in our oceans today and how climate change is affecting them. Read morePublished on June 11 2012 by carmenlawrence
The lure of Mitchell's curiosity draws you to look, and not turn away. You follow her around, hanging on her questions to oceanographers, fisherfolk, or deep-sea submersible crews. Read morePublished on April 12 2012 by Brian Griffith
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