Sea Change

A Message of the Oceans

Posted: 18 October 2000

Author: Sylvia Earle
Constable, London, £18.95

While the discovery of water on the moon makes international headlines, vast tracts of our planet, the deep oceans, remain largely ignored and uncared for.

Sylvia Earle is a scientist of international renown who dedicated her professional and personal life to exploring the depths. Her book is both an odyssey of discovery and an entreaty for a 'sea change' in our attitude to a global life support system.This enthralling account moving from a copper sponge diver's helmet, to experiments in living underwater and the design of vehicles to journey to the abyssal depths is interspersed with natural history, suffused with politics but always anchored in a passionate concern for life in the sea.

The book trawls the Tokyo fish market where more than a million sea creatures are sold each day, challenges our perception of the ocean as a bottomless resource, decries the almost unimaginable proliferation of garbage that has occurred within one generation's memory and draws a hellish portrait of oil pollution from the fires of Kuwait.

Earle's crusade is to banish the ignorance in our land-based society which allows this wanton destruction. Her book encourages a new and wider understanding of our marine heritage.

Reviewer: Maggie Watson

Reviewer Info: Maggie Watson is a research associate with the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management, in the British Virgin Islands.