The ocean of life The fate of man and the sea

Callum Roberts

Book - 2012

Putting our exploitation of the seas into historical context, Roberts offers a devastating account of the impact of modern fishing techniques, pollution, and climate change, and reveals what it would take to steer the right course while there is still time.

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2nd Floor 551.46/Roberts Checked In
Subjects
Published
New York : Viking 2012.
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 405 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780670023547
067002354X
Main Author
Callum Roberts (-)
  • pt. 1. Changing seas. Four and a half billion years ; Food from the sea ; Fewer fish in the sea ; Winds and currents ; Life on the move ; Rising tides ; Corrosive seas ; Dead zones and the world's great rivers ; Unwholesome waters ; The age of plastic ; The not so silent world ; Aliens, invaders, and the homogenization of life ; Pestilence and plague ; Mare incognitum ; Ecosystems at your service
  • pt. 2. Changing course. Farming the sea ; The great cleanup ; Can we cool our warming world? ; A new deal for the oceans ; Life renewed ; Saving the giants of the sea ; Preparing for the worst ; Epilogue : the sea ahead
  • Appendix 1. Seafood with a clear conscience
  • Appendix 2. Conservation charities working to protect ocean life.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Our oceans are changing. As they warm and become acidic, coral reefs die, exposing shores to more violent storms. Rising waters encroach on coastal cities. Algae blooms remove oxygen from the seas, leaving vast zones deadly to fauna and flora. Large populations of marine species crash in the wakes of overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, climate change, and invasive species. Yet vocal public opinion holds that the oceans covering 80 percent of our planet are inexhaustible and immune to abuse, and politicians continue to support industrial harvesting and mining in the ocean. In this follow-up to his acclaimed The Unnatural History of the Sea (2007), passionate marine conservationist Roberts documents the disturbing changes that threaten the future of marine life and proposes a natural course of conservation that may yet save us from economic crash, environmental ruin, and human suffering. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

The ocean has long been viewed as a vast, endless resource--one that could never be exhausted or affected by human activities. Because of these attitudes, it has been used as a dumping ground while being indiscriminately overharvested. Thanks to the efforts of many different environmental groups, the public has become increasingly aware of these problems, but other serious issues have received little notice. This book addresses these concerns, including noise pollution, invasive species, plastic pollution, and the effects of climate change on reefs and sea levels as well as ocean acidification. The latter is potentially the worst of all and one of the furthest from public consciousness. Roberts (Univ. of York, UK; The Unnatural History of the Sea, CH, May'08, 45-4944) skillfully presents all these topics and more and provides very cogent arguments against some of the technological "fixes" some scientists have proposed. Although the last quarter of the book concentrates on positive, realistic steps to slow or reverse these trends, the overwhelmingly gloomy tone of earlier chapters may cause some readers to give up before they reach that point. That would be a shame; this book should be required reading for everyone. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Two-year Technical Program Students; Professionals/Practitioners. G. C. Jensen University of Washington Copyright 2012 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Biologist and conservation activist Roberts (environment, Univ. of York, UK; The Unnatural History of the Sea) examines with clarity the relationships among fossil-fuel use, climate change, rising sea levels and ocean acidity, overfishing, and pollution from toxic chemicals, sewage, and fertilizers. He discusses the origin of the earth, oceans, and atmosphere; considers the effects of ocean currents and ocean circulation in relation to species distribution; describes fishing methods that deplete fisheries for various species; and traces the ecological dangers of offshore oil drilling. Although he paints a bleak picture of the oceans' health, as do Richard Ellis (The Empty Ocean) and Charles Clover (The End of the Line), Roberts offers solutions for preventing further degradation of our ocean planet. These include recognizing the need for change, controlling human population growth, limiting the use of artificial fertilizers, preventing chemical pollution, eliminating the use of plastic garbage bags, and controlling the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. VERDICT Appropriate for the general public as well as high school and college students, this is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of the planet.—Judith B. Barnett, Univ. of Rhode Island, Kingston [Page 99]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

University of York marine conservationist Roberts (The Unnatural History of the Sea) offers an engrossing survey of the relationship between man and the sea for readers living through the greatest environmental changes in 65 million years. From the genesis of life four billion years ago to the increasingly empty dead zones of our planet's waters, Roberts details the interaction between the ocean and human evolution, food supply, cities, art, science, policy, business, and waste. He skillfully intersperses jaw-dropping anecdotes (one two-pint bottle of ocean water contains four billion unique viruses, albatross feed their chicks an average of 70 pieces of plastic per meal) with the concrete effects of man's influence on the ocean's acid levels, species diversity, noise, and food chain. Later prescriptions on how to interact ethically with an ocean at risk walk the fine line between individual accountability and informed policy creation. Roberts's meditation will have readers gasping aloud with wonder, even as the sobering truth of humans' profound interdependence with the sea provokes concern. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville & Walsh. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A vibrant tribute to the sea by a leading conservation biologist traces the human race's relationship to the ocean, identifying the consequences of modern fishing, pollution and climate change on marine life while making urgent recommendations for reversing damage.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Traces the human race's relationship to the ocean, identifying the consequences of modern fishing, pollution, and climate change on marine life while making urgent recommendations for reversing damage.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A Silent Spring for oceans, written by "the Rachel Carson of the fish world" (The New York Times)Who can forget the sense of wonder with which they discovered the creatures of the deep? In this vibrant hymn to the sea, Callum Roberts—one of the world’s foremost conservation biologists—leads readers on a fascinating tour of mankind’s relationship to the sea, from the earliest traces of water on earth to the oceans as we know them today. In the process, Roberts looks at how the taming of the oceans has shaped human civilization and affected marine life.We have always been fish eaters, from the dawn of civilization, but in the last twenty years we have transformed the oceans beyond recognition. Putting our exploitation of the seas into historical context, Roberts offers a devastating account of the impact of modern fishing techniques, pollution, and climate change, and reveals what it would take to steer the right course while there is still time. Like Four Fish and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Ocean of Life takes a long view to tell a story in which each one of us has a role to play.