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Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis Hardcover – 3 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mcclelland & Stewart Ltd (3 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771061161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771061165
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,848,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The lure of Mitchell's curiosity draws you to look, and not turn away. You follow her around, hanging on her questions to oceanographers, fisherfolk, or deep-sea submersible crews. What she finds is far worse than global warming. These changes in the oceans are so disturbing that facing the evidence can turn your stomach over. In exploring this beautiful but deeply endangered undersea universe, Mitchell assumes a vocation far beyond journalism. She quietly accepts being what none of us can escape being--one of the pilots of the whole starship, trying to see what survival requires.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Big Trouble 20 May 2009
By Stephen Balbach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis (US title: Seasick: Ocean Change and the Extinction of Life on Earth) is written by Alanna Mitchell who is a Canadian journalist by profession. She travels to environmental hot-spots around the world interviewing key scientists and decoding the latest research and findings about the state of the oceans: pH imbalance from CO2, coral reef destruction, oxygen dead zones, plankton reduction. I suppose this is an important book. It is a "We're in big trouble" book, one of many. Most of the big ideas could have been distilled into a single magazine article (for the amount of coverage given) - the rest of the book is travel writing and human interest story, each chapter a sort of mini adventure and expose of scientists at work. The science is not explored in too much depth before concluding we're in big trouble and moving on to the next exotic locale. I had hoped for something more substantial. The books strongest parts are the chapters about the pH imbalance of the ocean due to increased CO2, and the chapter or two about coral reefs. Clearly, we're in big trouble.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"CHANGES to the ATMOSPHERE are SERIOUS...but CHANGES to the OCEAN are MORE SO" 1 July 2009
By Stephen Pletko - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
XXXXX

"The ocean is impossibly complicated, interconnected, turbulent, and non-linear, and it touches every part of life. Humans can only understand it by trying to grasp far simpler proxies. Such as: every tear you cry ends up back in the ocean system. Every third molecule of carbon dioxide you exhale is absorbed into the ocean. Every second breath you take comes from the oxygen produced by [the global ocean`s] plankton."

The above comes from the prologue of this stunningly informative book by newspaper journalist and environmental reporter Alanna Mitchell. (In the United States, this book is entitled"Seasick.")

Mitchell has written a book about the ocean. So! What's the big deal? Well, she has discovered that "the global ocean [is] in crisis" or is "sick." What's causing it to be sick? Answer: human activity.

If all life on land were to die, the ocean and all life in it would still thrive. But the reverse is not true. If all ocean life dies, life on land would die also.

Mitchell researched this book across five continents and over two and a half years. She "travelled from country to country, topic to topic, research boat to research boat" talking with many key scientists along the way. This book is a record of her adventures, observations, and what she has learned. It is well-written and easy to follow.

Mitchell joins the crews of leading scientists in nine of these global ocean`s hotspots:

(1) The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
(2) Gulf of Mexico, U.S.
(3) Puerto Rico, Caribbean
(4) Plymouth, England
(5) Panama, Central America
(6) Halifax, Canada
(7) Spain, Europe
(8) Hainan Province, China
(9) Zanzibar, Tanzania

When a person is sick, his or her vital signs are checked. Vital signs are indicators of the efficient functioning of the body (like pulse, temperature, and respiration). Mitchell checks on the following vital signs of the global ocean:

(1) temperature
(2) oxygen level
(3) pH (amount of acidity)
(4) metabolism (energy utilization)
(5) fecundity (fertility)
(6) life force
(7) medical history
(8) future excess
(9) adaptability

What did I learn after reading this book? Answer: the climate crisis seems to be more of an ocean crisis.

What impressed me about this book is the number of numerical facts Mitchell presents. For example:

"It took humans roughly 50,000 years to deplete the planet's large land animals, 5000 years to exhaust most of the planet's coastal environments, 500 years to fish out the continental shelf, 50 years to impoverish the open ocean, and about 5 years to run through the creatures of the deep ocean."

Finally, after reading Mitchell's book, I was amazed that she is still optimistic. Her last chapter is entitled "Finding hope."

In conclusion, this is an important book revealing facts and predictions about Earth's largest and most important habitat, the life-blood of planet Earth--the global ocean!!!

(first published 2009; prologue; 10 chapters; epilogue; main narrative 200 pages; select bibliography; acknowledgements; index)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

XXXXX
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sheds Light on a Serious Problem 5 July 2009
By Vern Buchholz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a well written summary of the problems in the world's ocean by a Canadian environmental reporter. Mitchell is not a scientist, but has the ability to put the science in easy to understand language. This book does for the ocean's problems what Tim Flannery's and Al Gore's works have done to bring to the public the serious problems in the atmosphere.
Mitchell writes of her personal travels to various areas and scientific institutions, and relates her time with working scientists. She explains what is going on in the ocean environment and how humans are the primary cause of the problems. In separate chapters she covers ocean acidification, oxygen depletion, the importance of plankton, the loss of species, and aquatic plant and animal reproduction. Although she does not underestimate the concerns, she ends on a note of hope and promise. She provides a detailed, 25 page bibliography, covering all the topics, which is extremely helpful for further investigation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Seasick - required reading 15 Nov 2009
By Don Bent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seasick should be required reading for anyone planning on breathing for the rest of their life. Your member of parliament, your grandchildren and your neighbours will benefit from receiving a copy. This is a book worth reading twice; the first time to get over the "Oh my God" reaction, and second for the details.
Looking out for her whole starship 12 April 2012
By Brian Griffith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The lure of Mitchell's curiosity draws you to look, and not turn away. You follow her around, hanging on her questions to oceanographers, fisherfolk, or deep-sea submersible crews. What she finds is far worse than global warming. These changes in the oceans are so disturbing that facing the evidence can turn your stomach over. In exploring this beautiful but deeply endangered undersea universe, Mitchell assumes a vocation far beyond journalism. She quietly accepts being what none of us can escape being--one of the pilots of the whole starship, trying to see what survival requires.
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