Review

Seasick: the Hidden Ecological Crisis of the Global Ocean

Can we continue to exploit the sea?

Product details

Product name: Seasick: the Hidden Ecological Crisis of the Global Ocean

Reviewer: Rosaleen Love

Author: Alanna Michell

Publisher: Pier 9

Price: $29.95

G Rating:

4

In alarm at the state of the oceans, Canadian journalist Alanna Mitchell travelled the world to research what she believes is a hidden ecological crisis.

The changing chemistry and physics of the ocean are impacting on the 'vital signs' of marine life, such as their ability to thrive and reproduce, she says, pointing to the increasing stress on coral reefs and the decline of fisheries worldwide.

Looking at the dead zone of the Gulf of Mexico, Mitchell finds what happens when a system is pushed beyond its limits - reaching a point where life is no longer supported at all.

Traveling in time to 55 million years ago, Mitchell reports on the last 'thermal maximum', when oceans heated dramatically and mass extinctions occurred in increasingly acidic waters.

Lessons from the past may suggest how to rein in ocean change before it is too late, she says.

Despite the potential for catastrophe, Mitchell remains upbeat.

Reporting from the second East Asian Seas Congress, she finds much to praise in China's stated climate change and energy policies, even if the present state of its environment leaves much to be desired.

Mitchell says that the problem of the ocean - and the atmosphere - is ultimately a problem of human behaviour.

What has to change, she argues, is the entrenched nature of our exploitative attitudes towards the sea.

She looks to encouraging examples of where human behavioural change is already happening, including sustainable shellfish and seaweed farming in Zanzibar.

Mitchell interweaves complex science with personal observation to produce a readable and entertaining series of reports from the field.

For those wanting more scientific detail, an excellent bibliography of expert reports is provided.

Printed on FSC-accredited paper.

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