Ocean's End Travels Through Endangered Seas

Colin Woodard

Published by Basic Books, 2000
ISBN 10: 0465015700 / ISBN 13: 9780465015702
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Synopsis: In this landmark call to action, Colin Woodard confronts the major environmental problem of our time: the fate of the oceans. Once thought to be limitless reservoirs constantly renewing themselves, the oceans are in fact bounded seas that lie within our power to kill--and as Woodard convincingly shows, we are killing them, through pollution, harmful fishing practices, ignorance, and global warming.A comprehensive, eyewitness view of how and why the oceans are in trouble, Woodard's book covers all the aspects of this complex subject--not just the collapse of the fisheries but also the deaths of coral reefs, the effects of sea-level rise, and the creation (through pollution) of massive dead zones, including the entire Black Sea and much of the Gulf of Mexico.

Review: Take a pristine coral reef off the mangrove-forested coast of Belize, one that draws a handsome roster of fish and other sea creatures--and, therefore, a complement of scuba divers, sports fishermen, photographers, and other consumers of nature. Add an airstrip to serve these cash customers, then a hotel, then a seawall, then a golf course, then a desalination plant. In no time, thanks to the changes you've wrought on the coastal ecology, you'll have a dead reef in a dead patch of sea.

Such wanton destruction is the norm for today, writes science journalist Colin Woodard, who debarks from his travels on the world's seas with depressing and unremittingly bad news. One of the victims is the Black Sea of Eurasia, once a thriving extension of the Atlantic, now all but destroyed by "overfishing, oil spills, industrial discharges, nutrient pollution, wetlands destruction," and other ills. The ravaged Black Sea is mirrored in other places to which Woodard travels: the South Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, the Antarctic. In such places significant ecological transformations are occurring, all in a very short period of time, all perhaps irreversible, all certainly dangerous to the health of the biosphere. "The oceans," Woodard urges his readers to consider, "are finite and destructible. Wastes dumped and drained into the ocean do not disappear; they are neither economic nor ecological externalities. Likewise, marine fish and animals are not commodities like iron, wheat, or broilers; they are wildlife." Adding to works such as Carl Safina's Song for the Blue Ocean, Woodard makes a clear and urgent call for the reversal of all this destruction and for the protection of the world's waters. --Gregory McNamee

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Title: Ocean's End Travels Through Endangered Seas
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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