THE OCEANS: Our Last Resource by Wesley Marx

THE OCEANS: Our Last Resource

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All-too-scattered thoughts--focused too narrowly, given the broad perspective promised by the title, on coastal waters and on inland alternatives to ocean dumping or exploitation. Marx, in fact, keeps his sights largely on the American, and especially the California coast--his long-time concern. And, in the book's crisper sections, most of the material is old-hat: the ecological distortions caused by chronic overfishing (forage fish such as sardine and herring have all but vanished); the depredations of pollution (nothing can be taken, now, from a quarter of the domestic shellfish beds); the threat of shoreline development (which often seals the fate of barrier islands, estuaries, or wetlands). Many of these problems, Marx notes, stem from our uncritical acceptance of such risks as oil spills, tanker collisions, or nuclear plants sited on active fault zones--when suitable alternatives (like recycling wastes, water reclamation, and clean energy sources) are available. Among the other subjects that Marx covers adequately are: fish farming, the resurgence of the California kelp forest; the various (mostly wacky) ideas for floating cities, military bases, or power plants; the technical and legal difficulties of mining seabed nodules; and the lack of money for marine research. The remainder--on carp, Roman beach villas, Michigan sewage farms, and what-all--is at best only indirectly relevant. As a reference, the book is a washout; but it might prove diverting for those with an addiction, even if most of the solid information isn't new.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Sierra Club--dist. by Scribners