Book Review: Oceans: The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide

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Last week, in celebration of Earth Day, Disney and National Geographic released a ground breaking new film called Oceans. Directed by Jacques Perrin, the visionary filmmaker who brought us the acclaimed nature films Microcosmos and Winged Migration. Oceans has been years in planning and production, and by all accounts, it is stunning to behold on the big screen. I say this, because as of this writing, I have yet to see the film, due to the fact that I couldn’t find a cineplex in Kathmandu.

On the other hand, while traveling abroad I did have the opportunity to read Oceans: The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide. The book, which is edited by Jon Bowermaster, is meant to serve as a companion of sorts to the film. It is a compilation of 31 different essays from as many authors, on a number of different topics centered around our seas, and the threats to their health, which will have wide ranging consequences for the future of the entire planet.

Some of the essays are sentimental in nature, such as Carl Safina’s “Caught in the Same Net” and “Remembering the Ocean” by Celine Cousteau. Others offer up warnings about the Oceans’ future, such as “Coral Reefs in Crisis”, written by Abigail Alling or Richard Ellis’ “The Bluefin’s Uncertain Future”. All of the stories are informative, insightful, and fascinating, especially if you have any level of awareness about the impact of global climate change. Other authors contributing to the book include ocean explorer Sylvia Earle, circumnavigator Liz Clarke, Captain of the Plastiki David de Rothchild, and Adventure Blog favorite Roz Savage. Even actor Leonardo DiCaprio submitted a short piece on how important, yet finite, a resource our water supply is. Bowermaster’s own contribution, an essay on the changing state of the ice around Antarctica is also a sobering story about what is happening now, and how it could impact the future.

Whether you’ve seen the new film or not, Oceans makes for engrossing reading. But if you have seen the film, the book opens with an interview with director Perrin, who discusses what it was like to get this film made. It was a huge undertaking, involving camera crews visiting 54 locations around the globe, and on one particular day there were 26 location managers and 19 cameras in the field. A host of new technology was also created for the movie, including specially modified underwater cameras, a remotely controlled helicopter camera, and even a torpedo cam. Fascinating stuff to be sure, and something that will no doubt be on my mind when I get a chance to watch the movie itself.

So, whether you’ve seen the movie or not, be sure to grab a copy of this book. It is a great compilation of insights and thoughts on our oceans from some of the foremost experts on the topic.

Kraig Becker

2 thoughts on “Book Review: <i>Oceans: The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide</i>”

  1. If they visited 54 locations around the world, think about how much CO2 and other pollution they caused by all these jetliner flights.

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