The World Is Blue:How Our Fates and the Ocean's Are One by Sylvia Earle - 2010- 320
This post is in honour of my Nephew Alan Ulm. Alan just graduated from High School in South West Florida. He received numerous awards for academic achievements as well as for citizenship. He lives very near the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricanes are a seasonal threat. Living so close to the Gulf of Mexico he early on developed a concern for the environment. Like many young people he is rightly very concerned about the disastrous impact of global warming which we are already facing. He was given a special award for his focus on oceanography. Included with his award he was given several books, including a copy of The World Is Blue:How Our Fates and the Ocean's Are One by Sylvia Earle.
Earle shows with great force the dangerous impacts of climate change on the Oceans of the world and the impact of this on humanity. Here are a few of the matters she develops:
"Earth’s life-support system—the ocean—is failing. But who is paying attention? Throughout our history, the mostly blue natural world has been regarded as something to be vanquished, tamed, or otherwise used for purposes that seemed to make sense at the time. Deeply rooted in human culture is the attitude that the ocean is so vast, so resilient, it shouldn’t matter..how much we take out of—or put into—it. But two things changed in the 20th century that may jolt us into a new way of thinking. First, more was discovered about the nature of the ocean and its relevance to the way the world works than during all preceding history. Second, during the same narrow slice of time, human actions caused more destruction to ocean systems than during all preceding history. And the pace is picking up.. it is now clear that well before the start of the 20th century, humans had drastically, altered the fundamental nature ofthe sea by decimating the populations of fish, mammals, birds, turtles, lobsters, oysters, and other ocean wildlife. Further changes were initiated by noxious substances lofted into the atmosphere that eventually made their way into the sea...Ninety percent of many once common fish have been extracted since the 1950s; 95 percent of some species, including bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod, American eel, and certain sharks have been killed. ..
But most of all, it matters that the world is blue because our lives depend on the living ocean—not just the rocks and water, but stable, resilient, diverse living systems that hold the world on a steady course favorable to humankind. The big question is, what can we do to take care of the blue world that takes care of us?"
Earle begins with an account of how she got interested in studying the ocean. She, like Alan, has strong personal connections to Florida. Already in the 12 years since her book was published Hurricanes have increased. South West Florida is listed as among the most vulnerable parts of America to rising sea levels. Red tides are increasing, home owners insurance costs have sky rocketed.
Earle talks a lot about possible solutions. Educating a public that will demand corporations and that politicians make climate change a top priority is, as evidenced by Earle, a top priority.
One beautiful solution Earle thrilling talks about is the World wide expansion of marine sanctuaries.
"marine protected areas were expected to be large enough to accomplish the following objectives: Maintain essential ecological processes and life-support system functions. Preserve genetic diversity. Ensure the sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems..The international version of The Science of Marine Reserves, published by PISCO, the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, defines marine reserves as “ocean areas that are fully protected from activities that remove animals and plants or alter habitats, except as needed for scientific monitoring.” Prohibited activities include fishing, aquaculture, dredging, and mining, while nondestructive swimming, diving, and boating are allowed. In studies of more than 124 marine reserves in temperate and tropical areas, increases were documented in biomass, density—the number in a given area—body size, and species diversity. Even small fully protected areas can make a measurable difference, but the benefits of larger reserves include coverage of more habitat types, greater diversity, and greater insurance against catastrophes, from storms to diseases."
Called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times and a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and named by Time magazine as the first Hero for the Planet, Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, lecturer, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, leader of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, council chair for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, founder and chairman of the Deep Search Foundation, and chair of the Advisory Council for the Ocean in Google Earth.She is a graduate of St. Petersburg College and Florida State University, with an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Duke University, and has received 17 honorary doctorates.She has received more than 100 national and international honors, including the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the Netherlands’ Order of the Golden Ark, Australia’s Banksia Award, Italy’s Premio Artiglio Award, and medals from the Explorers Club and the Society of Women Geographers. In 2009 she received the TED Prize, the Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award, the BLUE Ocean Film Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the International Women’s Forum.
Everyday we are seeing on news programs the increasing impact of climate change. In the last few days, wild fires in Canada, made much worse by global warming,have given New York City the worst air quality in the world. Earle explains how global warming starts in the oceans.
In America politicians financed by petroleum and coal interests try to suggest climate change is a hoax of some sort, just as cigarette companies once claimed that their products did not cause cancer.