SEA CHANGE by Sylvia A. Earle


A Message of the Oceans
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 A riveting portrait, both chilling and inspiring, of our largest and most crucial natural resource. A marine biologist and leading deep-sea explorer for 30 years, Earle has witnessed what she calls a ``sea change'' in the state of the ocean. Exploding human population and technological advances have combined to despoil in decades a natural asset that took millennia to evolve and is the cornerstone of our planetary well- being. Earle illuminates the changes with firsthand observations of the trashing of Florida Bay and the catastrophic oil spill in the Persian Gulf, which she visited as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1991. Her somber account is lit with humor, an infectious enthusiasm for her subject, and evidence of uncommon courage: She negotiates the male-dominated terrain of marine biology and is among the first to dive with 40- ton humpback whales, live in an underwater lab, and break deep-sea diving records at 400 and 1,000 meters. In 1981, Earle cofounded and became a director of Deep Ocean Engineering, Inc., which builds state-of-the-art deep-sea submersibles. To her mind, the undersea world has no dangers that compare to the predators and pitfalls she encountered in the business realm. But the greatest peril we all face, Earle argues, is our ignorance about the ocean. She exposes the widespread misapprehensions that are responsible for the worst current abuses: Ocean dumping is OK because there is ``nothing down there''; we can decide what a ``maximum sustainable yield'' might be even though we know nothing of the marine populations we are harvesting or their ecology. We must work toward sound global marine policies immediately, Earle warns: The decisions we make in the next few years will be critical to the ocean's health and to our own survival. An urgent message, beautifully delivered. (32 b&w illustrations, not seen) (Book-of-the-Month Club selection)

Pub Date: April 19th, 1995
ISBN: 0-399-14060-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995


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