Between 1949 and 1955, the State Department pushed for an international fisheries policy grounded in maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The concept is based on a confidence that scientists can predict, theoretically, the largest catch that can be taken from a species’ stock over an indefinite period. And while it was modified in 1996 with passage of the Sustained Fisheries Act, MSY is still at the heart of modern American fisheries management. As fish populations continue to crash, however, it is clear that MSY is itself not sustainable. Indeed, the concept has been widely criticized by scientists for ignoring several key factors in fisheries management and has led to the devastating collapse of many fisheries.
Carmel Finley reveals that the fallibility of MSY lies at its very inception—as a tool of government rather than science. The foundational doctrine of MSY emerged at a time when the US government was using science to promote and transfer Western knowledge and technology, and to ensure that American ships and planes would have free passage through the world’s seas and skies. Finley charts the history of US fisheries science using MSY as her focus, and in particular its application to halibut, tuna, and salmon fisheries. Fish populations the world over are threatened, and All the Fish in the Sea helps to sound warnings of the effect of any management policies divested from science itself.
The ocean and its inhabitants sketch and stretch our understandings of law in unexpected ways. Inspired by the blue turn in the social sciences and humanities, Blue Legalities explores how regulatory frameworks and governmental infrastructures are made, reworked, and contested in the oceans. Its interdisciplinary contributors analyze topics that range from militarization and Maori cosmologies to island building in the South China Sea and underwater robotics. Throughout, Blue Legalities illuminates the vast and unusual challenges associated with regulating the turbulent materialities and lives of the sea. Offering much more than an analysis of legal frameworks, the chapters in this volume show how the more-than-human ocean is central to the construction of terrestrial institutions and modes of governance. By thinking with the more-than-human ocean, Blue Legalities questions what we think we know—and what we don’t know—about oceans, our earthly planet, and ourselves.
Contributors. Stacy Alaimo, Amy Braun, Irus Braverman, Holly Jean Buck, Jennifer L. Gaynor, Stefan Helmreich, Elizabeth R. Johnson, Stephanie Jones, Zsofia Korosy, Berit Kristoffersen, Jessica Lehman, Astrida Neimanis, Susan Reid, Alison Rieser, Katherine G. Sammler, Astrid Schrader, Kristen L. Shake, Phil Steinberg
What would it mean to live in cities designed to foster feelings of connectedness to the ocean? As coastal cities begin planning for climate change and rising sea levels, author Timothy Beatley sees opportunities for rethinking the relationship between urban development and the ocean. Modern society is more dependent upon ocean resources than people are commonly aware of—from oil and gas extraction to wind energy, to the vast amounts of fish harvested globally, to medicinal compounds derived from sea creatures, and more. In Blue Urbanism, Beatley argues that, given all we’ve gained from the sea, city policies, plans, and daily urban life should acknowledge and support a healthy ocean environment.
The book explores issues ranging from urban design and land use, to resource extraction and renewable energy, to educating urbanites about the wonders of marine life. Beatley looks at how emerging practices like “community supported fisheries” and aquaponics can provide a sustainable alternative to industrial fishing practices. Other chapters delve into incentives for increasing use of wind and tidal energy as renewable options to oil and gas extraction that damages ocean life, and how the shipping industry is becoming more “green.” Additionally, urban citizens, he explains, have many opportunities to interact meaningfully with the ocean, from beach cleanups to helping scientists gather data.
While no one city “has it all figured out,” Beatley finds evidence of a changing ethic in cities around the world: a marine biodiversity census in Singapore, decreasing support for shark-finning in Hong Kong, “water plazas” in Rotterdam, a new protected area along the rocky shore of Wellington, New Zealand, “bluebelt” planning in Staten Island, and more. Ultimately he explains we must create a culture of “ocean literacy” using a variety of approaches, from building design and art installations that draw inspiration from marine forms, to encouraging citizen volunteerism related to oceans, to city-sponsored research, and support for new laws that protect marine health.
Equal parts inspiration and practical advice for urban planners, ocean activists, and policymakers, Blue Urbanism offers a comprehensive look at the challenges and great potential for urban areas to integrate ocean health into their policy and planning goals.
To the average office-dweller, marine scientists seem to have the good life: cruising at sea for weeks at a time, swimming in warm coastal waters, living in tropical paradises. But ocean scientists who go to sea will tell you that it is no vacation. Creature comforts are few and the obstacles seemingly insurmountable, yet an abundance of wonder and discovery still awaits those who take to the ocean. Chasing Science at Sea immerses readers in the world of those who regularly go to sea—aquanauts living underwater, marine biologists seeking unseen life in the deep ocean, and the tall-ship captains at the helm, among others—and tells the fascinating tale of what life—and science—is like at the mercy of Mother Nature.
With passion and wit, well-known marine scientist Ellen Prager shares her stories as well as those of her colleagues, revealing that in the field ingenuity and a good sense of humor are as essential as water, sunblock, and GPS. Serendipity is invaluable, and while collecting data is the goal, sometimes just getting back to shore means success. But despite the physical hardship and emotional duress that come with the work, optimism and adventure prompt a particularly hardy species of scientist to return again and again to the sea.
Filled with firsthand accounts of the challenges and triumphs of dealing with the extreme forces of nature and the unpredictable world of the ocean, Chasing Science at Sea is a unique glimpse below the water line at what it is like and why it is important to study, explore, and spend time in one of our planet’s most fascinating and foreign environments.
Richard Burroughs Island Press, 2010 Library of Congress HT392.B88 2010 | Dewey Decimal 333.9170973
Coastal Governance provides a clear overview of how U.S. coasts are currently managed and explores new approaches that could make our shores healthier. Drawing on recent national assessments, Professor Richard Burroughs explains why traditional management techniques have ultimately proved inadequate, leading to polluted waters, declining fisheries, and damaged habitat. He then introduces students to governance frameworks that seek to address these shortcomings by considering natural and human systems holistically.
The book considers the ability of sector-based management, spatial management, and ecosystem-based management to solve critical environmental problems. Evaluating governance successes and failures, Burroughs covers topics including sewage disposal, dredging, wetlands, watersheds, and fisheries. He shows that at times sector-based management, which focuses on separate, individual uses of the coasts, has been implemented effectively. But he also illustrates examples of conflict, such as the incompatibility of waste disposal and fishing in the same waters. Burroughs assesses spatial and ecosystem-based management’s potential to address these conflicts.
The book familiarizes students not only with current management techniques but with the policy process. By focusing on policy development, Coastal Governance prepares readers with the knowledge to participate effectively in a governance system that is constantly evolving. This understanding will be critical as students become managers, policymakers, and citizens who shape the future of the coasts.
From vividly colored underwater photographs of Australia's Great Barrier Reef to life-size dioramas re-creating coral reefs and the bounty of life they sustained, the work of early twentieth-century explorers and photographers fed the public's fascination with reefs. In the 1920s John Ernest Williamson in the Bahamas and Frank Hurley in Australia produced mass-circulated and often highly staged photographs and films that cast corals as industrious, colonizing creatures, and the undersea as a virgin, unexplored, and fantastical territory. In Coral Empire Ann Elias traces the visual and social history of Williamson and Hurley and how their modern media spectacles yoked the tropics and coral reefs to colonialism, racism, and the human domination of nature. Using the labor and knowledge of indigenous peoples while exoticizing and racializing them as inferior Others, Williamson and Hurley sustained colonial fantasies about people of color and the environment as endless resources to be plundered. As Elias demonstrates, their reckless treatment of the sea prefigured attitudes that caused the environmental crises that the oceans and reefs now face.
The Corps and the Shore
Orrin H. Pilkey and Katharine L. Dixon Island Press, 1996 Library of Congress TC223.P55 1996 | Dewey Decimal 353.0086
For more than a century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been building fortifications along the American coastline in an effort to protect our vulnerable shores. With the prospect of seaborne invasion becoming increasingly unlikely, the Corps has turned its attention to a more subtle but no less dangerous threat: the insidious effects of coastal erosion.In The Corps and the Shore, Orrin H. Pilkey, the nation's most outspoken coastal geologist, and Katharine L. Dixon, an educator and activist for national coastal policy reform, provide a comprehensive examination of the impact of coastal processes on developed areas and the ways in which the Corps of Engineers has attempted to manage erosion along America's coastline.Through detailed case studies of large-scale projects in Texas, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the authors demonstrate the shortcomings of the Corps's underlying assumptions and methodology. As they discuss the role of local citizens in the project process, they highlight the interaction between local Corps offices and community officials and residents. By focusing on different types of problems in various regions of the country, Pilkey and Dixon clearly show how the Corps has repeatedly failed to act in the best interest of those most affected by the projects. As well as criticizing Corps practices, the authors provide numerous suggestions for reforming the Corps and making it both more scientifically accountable and more accountable to the citizens it is intended to serve.The Corps and the Shore is essential reading for coastal residents, environmentalists, planners, and coastal city officials as well as geologists, civil engineers, marine scientists, and anyone concerned with the impact of human society on our shorelines.
Anyone who has ever stood on the shores of Monterey Bay, watching the rolling ocean waves and frolicking otters, knows it is a unique place. But even residents on this idyllic California coast may not realize its full history. Monterey began as a natural paradise, but became the poster child for industrial devastation in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row,and is now one of the most celebrated shorelines in the world.
It is a remarkable story of life, death, and revival—told here for the first time in all its stunning color and bleak grays. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay begins in the eighteenth century when Spanish and French explorers encountered a rocky shoreline brimming with life—raucous sea birds, abundant sea otters, barking sea lions, halibut the size of wagon wheels,waters thick with whales. A century and a half later, many of the sea creatures had disappeared, replaced by sardine canneries that sickened residents with their stench but kept the money flowing. When the fish ran out and the climate turned,the factories emptied and the community crumbled. But today,both Monterey’s economy and wildlife are resplendent. How did it happen?
The answer is deceptively simple: through the extraordinary acts of ordinary people. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay is the biography of a place, but also of the residents who reclaimed it. Monterey is thriving because of an eccentric mayor who wasn’t afraid to use pistols, axes, or the force of law to protect her coasts. It is because of fishermen who love their livelihood, scientists who are fascinated by the sea’s mysteries, and philanthropists and community leaders willing to invest in a world-class aquarium. The shores of Monterey Bay revived because of human passion—passion that enlivens every page of this hopeful book.
If humankind were given a mandate to do everything in our power to undermine the earth's functioning, we could hardly do a better job than we have in the past thirty years on the world's oceans, both by what we are putting into it-millions of tons of trash and toxic materials-and by what we are taking out of it-millions of tons of wildlife. Yet only recently have we begun to understand the scale of those impacts.
Defying Ocean's End is the result of an unprecedented effort among the world's largest environmental organizations, scientists, the business community, media, and international governments to address these marine issues. In June 2003, in the culmination of a year-long effort, they met specifically to develop a comprehensive and achievable agenda to reverse the decline in health of the world's oceans.
As conservation organizations begin to expand their focus from land issues to include a major focus on preservation of the sea, it is increasingly apparent that we have to approach marine conservation differently and at much larger scale than we have to date. What's also clear is the magnitude and immediacy of the growing ocean concerns are such that no one organization can handle the job alone.
Defying Ocean's End is a bold step in bringing the resources needed to bear on this vast problem before it is too late. It offers a broad strategy, a practical plan with priorities and costs, aimed at mobilizing the forces needed to bring about a "sea change" of favorable attitudes, actions, and outcomes for the oceans-and for all of us.
How Japanese coastal residents and transnational conservationists collaborated to foster relationships between humans and sea life
Drawing the Sea Near opens a new window to our understanding of transnational conservation by investigating projects in Okinawa shaped by a “conservation-near” approach—which draws on the senses, the body, and memory to collapse the distance between people and their surroundings and to foster collaboration and equity between coastal residents and transnational conservation organizations. This approach contrasts with the traditional Western “conservation-far” model premised on the separation of humans from the environment.
Based on twenty months of participant observation and interviews, this richly detailed, engagingly written ethnography focuses on Okinawa’s coral reefs to explore an unusually inclusive, experiential, and socially just approach to conservation. In doing so, C. Anne Claus challenges orthodox assumptions about nature, wilderness, and the future of environmentalism within transnational organizations. She provides a compelling look at how transnational conservation organizations—in this case a field office of the World Wide Fund for Nature in Okinawa—negotiate institutional expectations for conservation with localized approaches to caring for ocean life.
In pursuing how particular projects off the coast of Japan unfolded, Drawing the Sea Near illuminates the real challenges and possibilities of work within the multifaceted transnational structures of global conservation organizations. Uniquely, it focuses on the conservationists themselves: why and how has their approach to project work changed, and how have they themselves been transformed in the process?
Conventional management approaches cannot meet the challenges faced by ocean and coastal ecosystems today. Consequently, national and international bodies have called for a shift toward more comprehensive ecosystem-based marine management. Synthesizing a vast amount of current knowledge, Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans is a comprehensive guide to utilizing this promising new approach.
At its core, ecosystem-based management (EBM) is about acknowledging connections. Instead of focusing on the impacts of single activities on the delivery of individual ecosystem services, EBM focuses on the array of services that we receive from marine systems, the interactive and cumulative effects of multiple human activities on these coupled ecological and social systems, and the importance of working towards common goals across sectors. Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans provides a conceptual framework for students and professionals who want to understand and utilize this powerful approach. And it employs case studies that draw on the experiences of EBM practitioners to demonstrate how EBM principles can be applied to real-world problems.
The book emphasizes the importance of understanding the factors that contribute to social and ecological resilience —the extent to which a system can maintain its structure, function, and identity in the face of disturbance. Utilizing the resilience framework, professionals can better predict how systems will respond to a variety of disturbances, as well as to a range of management alternatives. Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans presents the latest science of resilience, while it provides tools for the design and implementation of responsive EBM solutions.
The Empty Ocean
Richard Ellis Island Press, 2003 Library of Congress QL121.E5794 2003
In The Empty Ocean, acclaimed author and artist Richard Ellis tells the story of our continued plunder of life in the sea and weighs the chances for its recovery. Through fascinating portraits of a wide array of creatures, he introduces us to the many forms of sea life that humans have fished, hunted, and collected over the centuries, from charismatic whales and dolphins to the lowly menhaden, from sea turtles to cod, tuna, and coral.
Rich in history, anecdote, and surprising fact, Richard Ellis’s descriptions bring to life the natural history of the various species, the threats they face, and the losses they have suffered. Killing has occurred on a truly stunning scale, with extinction all too often the result, leaving a once-teeming ocean greatly depleted. But the author also finds instances of hope and resilience, of species that have begun to make remarkable comebacks when given the opportunity.
Written with passion and grace, and illustrated with Richard Ellis’s own drawings, The Empty Ocean brings to a wide audience a compelling view of the damage we have caused to life in the sea and what we can do about it. "
The Last Beach
Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper Duke University Press, 2014 Library of Congress GB451.2.P55 2014
The Last Beach is an urgent call to save the world's beaches while there is still time. The geologists Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper sound the alarm in this frank assessment of our current relationship with beaches and their grim future if we do not change the way we understand and treat our irreplaceable shores. Combining case studies and anecdotes from around the world, they argue that many of the world's developed beaches, including some in Florida and in Spain, are virtually doomed and that we must act immediately to save imperiled beaches.
After explaining beaches as dynamic ecosystems, Pilkey and Cooper assess the harm done by dense oceanfront development accompanied by the construction of massive seawalls to protect new buildings from a shoreline that encroaches as sea levels rise. They discuss the toll taken by sand mining, trash that washes up on beaches, and pollution, which has contaminated not only the water but also, surprisingly, the sand. Acknowledging the challenge of reconciling our actions with our love of beaches, the geologists offer suggestions for reversing course, insisting that given the space, beaches can take care of themselves and provide us with multiple benefits.
Humans are terrestrial animals, and our capacity to see and understand the importance and vulnerability of life in the sea has trailed our growing ability to harm it. While conservation biologists are working to address environmental problems humans have created on land, loss of marine biodiversity, including extinctions and habitat degradation, has received much less attention. At the same time, marine sciences such as oceanography and fisheries biology have largely ignored issues of conservation. Marine Conservation Biology brings together for the first time in a single volume leading experts from around the world to apply the lessons and thinking of conservation biology to marine issues. Contributors including James M. Acheson, Louis W. Botsford, James T. Carlton, Kristina Gjerde, Selina S. Heppell, Ransom A. Myers, Julia K. Parrish, Stephen R. Palumbi, and Daniel Pauly offer penetrating insights on the nature of marine biodiversity, what threatens it, and what humans can and must do to recover the biological integrity of the world's estuaries, coastal seas, and oceans. Sections examine: distinctive aspects of marine populations and ecosystems; threats to marine biological diversity, singly and in combination; place-based management of marine ecosystems; the often-neglected human dimensions of marine conservation. Marine Conservation Biology breaks new ground by creating the conceptual framework for the new field of marine conservation biology -- the science of protecting, recovering, and sustainably using the living sea. It synthesizes the latest knowledge and ideas from leading thinkers in disciplines ranging from larval biology to sociology, making it a must-read for research and teaching faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and advanced undergraduate students (who share an interest in bringing conservation biology to marine issues). Likewise, its lucid scientific examinations illuminate key issues facing environmental managers, policymakers, advocates, and funders concerned with the health of our oceans.
The Mortal Sea
W. Jeffrey Bolster Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress SH213.5.B65 2012 | Dewey Decimal 639.2091631
Since the time of the Vikings, the Atlantic has shaped the lives of people who depend on it for survival, and people have shaped the Atlantic. In his account of this interdependency, Bolster, a historian and professional seafarer, takes us through a millennium-long environmental history of our impact on one of the largest ecosystems in the world.
A new environmental movement is emerging to help combat threats to America's oceans and coasts, with hundreds of local and regional groups as well as dozens of national and international organizations being formed. The Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide represents a comprehensive guide to this new "Blue Movement."
This one-of-a-kind new reference details more than 2,000 organizations and institutions that are working to understand, protect, and restore our ocean and coastal areas. For each entry, the book gives contact information including phone and fax numbers, email addresses, web addresses and a brief description of program areas of interest. Along with the state-by-state listings of groups, the directory includes three detailed sections that identify relevant government agencies, academic marine programs, and marine and coastal parks and protected areas.
To be published biennially, The Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide is a vital new resource for anyone interested in the growing community of people working to protect and restore our coastal lands and waters.
From prehistoric times to the present, the Ocean has been used as a highway for trade, a source of food and resources, and a space for recreation and military conquest, as well as an inspiration for religion, culture, and the arts. The Ocean Reader charts humans' relationship to the Ocean, which has often been seen as a changeless space without a history. It collects familiar, forgotten, and previously unpublished texts from all corners of the world. Spanning antiquity to the present, the volume's selections cover myriad topics including the slave trade, explorers from China and the Middle East, shipwrecks and castaways, Caribbean and Somali pirates, battles and U-boats, narratives of the Ocean's origins, and the devastating effects of climate change. Containing gems of maritime writing ranging from myth, memoir, poetry, and scientific research to journalism, song lyrics, and scholarly writing, The Ocean Reader is the essential guide for all those wanting to understand the complex and long history of the Ocean that covers over 70 percent of the planet.
Four billion years old, the oceans formed as the Earth's scorching surface cooled, the primordial atmosphere condensed, and torrential rains fell. Their color is the unique signature of our blue planet, their composition a chemical cocktail of remarkable variety, their waters a theater of constant change.
Oceans: An Illustrated Reference tells the story of this last great frontier. With hundreds of beautiful full-color photographs and explanatory diagrams, charts, and maps, Oceans combines the visual splendor of ocean life with up-to-date scientific information to provide an invaluable and fascinating resource on this vital realm. Covering all major areas of oceanographic knowledge and research, Oceans is divided into two parts. The first, "Ocean Systems," examines the physical nature of the oceans, including plate tectonics, temperature and climate, waves and tides, natural resources and much more. The second, "Ocean Life,"explores biodiversity, evolution and adaptation, marine ecosystems and complex communities, and the preservation of fragile marine environments.
Oceans also offers readers a host of tools to better understand the magnificent world of the sea. A special section of bathymetric maps-made possible by satellite observation, deep-towed surveying craft, and remotely operated submarine vessels-provides a view of the depth and texture of ocean floors around the globe, giving us a glimpse of worlds rarely seen. And throughout the book, engagingly written special features delve into specific marine environments and phenomena such as the lost Tethys Ocean, from which the Himalayas were born. Cross-references and a detailed index help readers navigate this multifaceted volume, and a glossary provides clear definitions of scientific vocabulary.
Although the oceans are vast, their resources are finite. Oceans clearly presents the future challenge to us all-that of ensuring that our common ocean heritage is duly respected, wisely managed, and carefully harnessed for the benefit of the whole planet. Lavishly illustrated and filled with current research, Oceans is a step in that direction: a rich, magnificent, and illuminating volume for anyone who has ever heard the siren song of the sea.
The oceans are an important foundation of our lives - they regulate our climate and are an invaluable source of food. However, we threaten their health by heating up the planet, over-fishing and polluting these waters.
Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever.
Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experience—an elaborate but hidden world truly opens up before your eyes. Through hundreds of close-up photographs, Plankton transports readers into the currents, where jeweled chains hang next to phosphorescent chandeliers, spidery claws jut out from sinuous bodies, and gelatinous barrels protect microscopic hearts. The creatures’ vibrant colors pop against the black pages, allowing readers to examine every eye and follow every tentacle. Jellyfish, tadpoles, and bacteria all find a place in the book, representing the broad scope of organisms dependent on drifting currents.
Christian Sardet’s enlightening text explains the biological underpinnings of each species while connecting them to the larger living world. He begins with plankton’s origins and history, then dives into each group, covering ctenophores and cnidarians, crustaceans and mollusks, and worms and tadpoles. He also demonstrates the indisputable impact of plankton in our lives. Plankton drift through our world mostly unseen, yet they are diverse organisms that form ninety-five percent of ocean life. Biologically, they are the foundation of the aquatic food web and consume as much carbon dioxide as land-based plants. Culturally, they have driven new industries and captured artists’ imaginations.
While scientists and entrepreneurs are just starting to tap the potential of this undersea forest, for most people these pages will represent uncharted waters. Plankton is a spectacular journey that will leave readers seeing the ocean in ways they never imagined.
Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and magnitude of coastal storms around the globe, and the anticipated rise of sea levels will have enormous impact on fragile and vulnerable coastal regions. In the U.S., more than 50% of the population inhabits coastal areas. In Planning for Coastal Resilience, Tim Beatley argues that, in the face of such threats, all future coastal planning and management must reflect a commitment to the concept of resilience. In this timely book, he writes that coastal resilience must become the primary design and planning principle to guide all future development and all future infrastructure decisions.
Resilience, Beatley explains, is a profoundly new way of viewing coastal infrastructure—an approach that values smaller, decentralized kinds of energy, water, and transport more suited to the serious physical conditions coastal communities will likely face. Implicit in the notion is an emphasis on taking steps to build adaptive capacity, to be ready ahead of a crisis or disaster. It is anticipatory, conscious, and intentional in its outlook.
After defining and explaining coastal resilience, Beatley focuses on what it means in practice. Resilience goes beyond reactive steps to prevent or handle a disaster. It takes a holistic approach to what makes a community resilient, including such factors as social capital and sense of place. Beatley provides case studies of five U.S. coastal communities, and “resilience profiles” of six North American communities, to suggest best practices and to propose guidelines for increasing resilience in threatened communities.
Plastics have transformed every aspect of our lives. Yet the very properties that make them attractive—they are cheap to make, light, and durable—spell disaster when trash makes its way into the environment. Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution is a beautifully-illustrated survey of the plastics clogging our seas, their impacts on wildlife and people around the world, and inspirational initiatives designed to tackle the problem.
In Plastic Soup, Michiel Roscam Abbing of the Plastic Soup Foundation reveals the scope of the issue: plastic trash now lurks on every corner of the planet. With striking photography and graphics, Plastic Soup brings this challenge to brilliant life for readers. Yet it also sends a message of hope; although the scale of the problem is massive, so is the dedication of activists working to check it. Plastic Soup highlights a diverse array of projects to curb plastic waste and raise awareness, from plastic-free grocery stores to innovative laws and art installations.
According to some estimates, if we continue on our current path, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050. Created to inform and inspire readers, Plastic Soup is a critical tool in the fight to reverse this trend.
The Rising Sea
Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young Island Press, 2011 Library of Congress GC89.P48 2009 | Dewey Decimal 363.3493
On Shishmaref Island in Alaska, homes are being washed into the sea. In the South Pacific, small island nations face annihilation by encroaching waters. In coastal Louisiana, an area the size of a football field disappears every day. For these communities, sea level rise isn’t a distant, abstract fear: it’s happening now and it’s threatening their way of life.
In The Rising Sea, Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young warn that many other coastal areas may be close behind. Prominent scientists predict that the oceans may rise by as much as seven feet in the next hundred years. That means coastal cities will be forced to construct dikes and seawalls or to move buildings, roads, pipelines, and railroads to avert inundation and destruction.
The question is no longer whether climate change is causing the oceans to swell, but by how much and how quickly. Pilkey and Young deftly guide readers through the science, explaining the facts and debunking the claims of industry-sponsored “skeptics.” They also explore the consequences for fish, wildlife—and people.
While rising seas are now inevitable, we are far from helpless. By making hard choices—including uprooting citizens, changing where and how we build, and developing a coordinated national response—we can save property, and ultimately lives. With unassailable research and practical insights, The Rising Sea is a critical first step in understanding the threat and keeping our heads above water.
“Every day is an anxiety in my ways of getting to the water. . . . I’ve become so attuned to it, so scared of it, so in love with it that sometimes I can only think by the sea. It is the only place I feel at home.”
Many of us visit the sea. Admire it. Even profess to love it. But very few of us live it. Philip Hoare does. He swims in the sea every day, either off the coast of his native Southampton or his adopted Cape Cod. He watches its daily and seasonal changes. He collects and communes with the wrack—both dead and never living—that it throws up on the shingle. He thinks with, at, through the sea.
All of which should prepare readers: RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR is no ordinary book. It mounts no straight-ahead argument. It hews to no single genre. Instead, like the sea itself, it moves, flows, absorbs, transforms. In its pages we find passages of beautiful nature and travel writing, lyrical memoir, seams of American and English history and much more. We find Thoreau and Melville, Bowie and Byron, John Waters and Virginia Woolf, all linked through a certain refusal to be contained, to be strictly defined—an openness to discovery and change. Running throughout is an air of elegy, a reminder that the sea is an ending, a repository of lost ships, lost people, lost ways of being. It is where we came from; for Hoare, it is where he is going.
“Every swim is a little death,” Hoare writes, “but it is also a reminder that you are alive.” Few books have ever made that knife’s edge so palpable. Read RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR. Let it settle into the seabed of your soul. You’ll never forget it.
An Antarctic adventure of solo kayaking—an inspirational and wondrous real-life story.
A record of an intrepid woman’s solo kayaking expedition around the South Georgia Island, Antarctica, to raise awareness for the magnificent Albatross who are perishing by the thousands in the baited long lines of commercial ocean fishing. Augmented with forty-five glorious photographs that capture the sheer beauty and dangers of Antarctica.
“You have seen the albatross in full flight like few have
witnessed, with salt in your teeth . . . I cannot think of a better spokesperson for all things wild, because, you Hayley, in your own intimate way, have flown with the Albatross.”
—Brian Keating, noted Canadian naturalist, in the Foreword
Winner of the 2017 Paul Sweezy Marxist Sociology Book Award from the American Sociological Association
Although humans have long depended on oceans and aquatic ecosystems for sustenance and trade, only recently has human influence on these resources dramatically increased, transforming and undermining oceanic environments throughout the world. Marine ecosystems are in a crisis that is global in scope, rapid in pace, and colossal in scale. In The Tragedy of the Commodity, sociologists Stefano B. Longo, Rebecca Clausen, and Brett Clark explore the role human influence plays in this crisis, highlighting the social and economic forces that are at the heart of this looming ecological problem.
In a critique of the classic theory “the tragedy of the commons” by ecologist Garrett Hardin, the authors move beyond simplistic explanations—such as unrestrained self-interest or population growth—to argue that it is the commodification of aquatic resources that leads to the depletion of fisheries and the development of environmentally suspect means of aquaculture. To illustrate this argument, the book features two fascinating case studies—the thousand-year history of the bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean and the massive Pacific salmon fishery. Longo, Clausen, and Clark describe how new fishing technologies, transformations in ships and storage capacities, and the expansion of seafood markets combined to alter radically and permanently these crucial ecosystems. In doing so, the authors underscore how the particular organization of social production contributes to ecological degradation and an increase in the pressures placed upon the ocean. The authors highlight the historical, political, economic, and cultural forces that shape how we interact with the larger biophysical world.
A path-breaking analysis of overfishing, The Tragedy of the Commodity yields insight into issues such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.
“It was the first time I’d seen what the ocean may have looked like thousands of years ago.” That’s conservation scientist Gregory S. Stone talking about his initial dive among the corals and sea life surrounding the Phoenix Islands in the South Pacific. Worldwide, the oceans are suffering. Corals are dying off at an alarming rate, victims of ocean warming and acidification—and their loss threatens more than 25 percent of all fish species, who depend on the food and shelter found in coral habitats. Yet in the waters off the Phoenix Islands, the corals were healthy, the fish populations pristine and abundant—and Stone and his companion on the dive, coral expert David Obura, determined that they were going to try their best to keep it that way.
Underwater Eden tells the story of how they succeeded, against great odds, in making that dream come true, with the establishment in 2008 of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA). It’s a story of cutting-edge science, fierce commitment, and innovative partnerships rooted in a determination to find common ground among conservationists, business interests, and governments—all backed up by hard-headed economic analysis.
Creating the world’s largest (and deepest) UNESCO World Heritage Site was by no means easy or straightforward. Underwater Eden takes us from the initial dive, through four major scientific expeditions and planning meetings over the course of a decade, to high-level negotiations with the government of Kiribati—a small island nation dependent on the revenue from the surrounding fisheries. How could the people of Kiribati, and the fishing industry its waters supported, be compensated for the substantial income they would be giving up in favor of posterity? And how could this previously little-known wilderness be transformed into one of the highest-profile international conservation priorities?
Step by step, conservation and its priorities won over the doubters, and Underwater Eden is the stunningly illustrated record of what was saved. Each chapter reveals—with eye-popping photographs—a different aspect of the science and conservation of the underwater and terrestrial life found in and around the Phoenix Islands’ coral reefs. Written by scientists, politicians, and journalists who have been involved in the conservation efforts since the beginning, the chapters brim with excitement, wonder, and confidence—tempered with realism and full of lessons that the success of PIPA offers for other ambitious conservation projects worldwide.
Simultaneously a valentine to the diversity, resilience, and importance of the oceans and a riveting account of how conservation really can succeed against the toughest obstacles, Underwater Eden is sure to enchant any ocean lover, whether ecotourist or armchair scuba diver.
Humanity can make short work of the oceans’ creatures. In 1741, hungry explorers discovered herds of Steller’s sea cow in the Bering Strait, and in less than thirty years, the amiable beast had been harpooned into extinction. It’s a classic story, but a key fact is often omitted. Bering Island was the last redoubt of a species that had been decimated by hunting and habitat loss years before the explorers set sail.
As Callum M. Roberts reveals in The Unnatural History of the Sea, the oceans’ bounty didn’t disappear overnight. While today’s fishing industry is ruthlessly efficient, intense exploitation began not in the modern era, or even with the dawn of industrialization, but in the eleventh century in medieval Europe. Roberts explores this long and colorful history of commercial fishing, taking readers around the world and through the centuries to witness the transformation of the seas.
Drawing on firsthand accounts of early explorers, pirates, merchants, fishers, and travelers, the book recreates the oceans of the past: waters teeming with whales, sea lions, sea otters, turtles, and giant fish. The abundance of marine life described by fifteenth century seafarers is almost unimaginable today, but Roberts both brings it alive and artfully traces its depletion. Collapsing fisheries, he shows, are simply the latest chapter in a long history of unfettered commercialization of the seas.
The story does not end with an empty ocean. Instead, Roberts describes how we might restore the splendor and prosperity of the seas through smarter management of our resources and some simple restraint. From the coasts of Florida to New Zealand, marine reserves have fostered spectacular recovery of plants and animals to levels not seen in a century. They prove that history need not repeat itself: we can leave the oceans richer than we found them.
How do we understand the lives of nonhuman animals and our relationship with and responsibilities to them? What are the artifacts or things that help configure such perceived responsibility? And what does it mean to practice conservation in the Anthropocene? Amy D. Propen seeks to answer these questions in Visualizing Posthuman Conservation in the Age of the Anthropocene, which brings a visual-material rhetorical approach into conversation with material feminisms and environmental humanities to describe how technologies, environments, bodies, and matter work together to shape and reshape how we coexist with our nonhuman kin.
Through case studies in which visual technologies and science play a prominent role in arguments to protect threatened marine species—from photographs showing the impact of ocean plastics on vulnerable sea birds, to debates about seismic testing and its impact on marine species, to maps created from GPS tracking projects—Propen advances a notion of posthuman environmental conservation that decenters the human enough to consider ideas about the material world from the vantage point of the nonhuman animal. In so bringing together work in environmental humanities, animal studies, human geography, and visual-material rhetoric, Propen further shows how interdisciplinary ways of knowing can further shape and illuminate our various lived and embodied experiences.
In January 2010, the Gemini was moored in the Swinomish Slough on a Native American reservation near Anacortes, Washington. Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the rusted and dilapidated boat was in fact the most famous fishing vessel ever to have sailed: the original Western Flyer, immortalized in John Steinbeck’s nonfiction classic The Log from the Sea of Cortez.
In this book, Kevin M. Bailey resurrects this forgotten witness to the changing tides of Pacific fisheries. He draws on the Steinbeck archives, interviews with family members of crew, and more than three decades of working in Pacific Northwest fisheries to trace the depletion of marine life through the voyages of a single ship. After Steinbeck and his friend Ed Ricketts—a pioneer in the study of the West Coast’s diverse sea life and the inspiration behind “Doc” in Cannery Row—chartered the boat for their now-famous 1940 expedition, the Western Flyer returned to its life as a sardine seiner in California. But when the sardine fishery in Monterey collapsed, the boat moved on: fishing for Pacific ocean perch off Washington, king crab in the Bering Sea off Alaska, and finally wild Pacific salmon—all industries that would also face collapse.
As the Western Flyer herself faces an uncertain future—a businessman has bought her, intending to bring the boat to Salinas, California, and turn it into a restaurant feature just blocks from Steinbeck’s grave—debates about the status of the California sardine, and of West Coast fisheries generally, have resurfaced. A compelling and timely tale of a boat and the people it carried, of fisheries exploited, and of fortunes won and lost, The Western Flyer is environmental history at its best: a journey through time and across the sea, charting the ebb and flow of the cobalt waters of the Pacific coast.
“The Southern Ocean is a wild and elusive place, an ocean like no other. With its waters lying between the Antarctic continent and the southern coastlines of Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa, it is the most remote and inaccessible part of the planetary ocean, the only part that flows around Earth unimpeded by any landmass. It is notorious amongst sailors for its tempestuous winds and hazardous fog and ice. Yet it is a difficult ocean to pin down. Its southern boundary, defined by the icy continent of Antarctica, is constantly moving in a seasonal dance of freeze and thaw. To the north, its waters meet and mingle with those of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans along a fluid boundary that defies the neat lines of a cartographer.”
So begins Joy McCann’s Wild Sea, the remarkable story of the world’s remote Southern, or Antarctic, Ocean. Unlike the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans with their long maritime histories, little is known about the Southern Ocean. This book takes readers beyond the familiar heroic narratives of polar exploration to explore the nature of this stormy circumpolar ocean and its place in Western and Indigenous histories. Drawing from a vast archive of charts and maps, sea captains’ journals, whalers’ log books, missionaries’ correspondence, voyagers’ letters, scientific reports, stories, myths, and her own experiences, McCann embarks on a voyage of discovery across its surfaces and into its depths, revealing its distinctive physical and biological processes as well as the people, species, events, and ideas that have shaped our perceptions of it. The result is both a global story of changing scientific knowledge about oceans and their vulnerability to human actions and a local one, showing how the Southern Ocean has defined and sustained southern environments and people over time.
Beautifully and powerfully written, Wild Sea will raise a broader awareness and appreciation of the natural and cultural history of this little-known ocean and its emerging importance as a barometer of planetary climate change.