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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh No!! Save our seas!
This book is written by the man who was the consultant to the BBC series Blue Planet. The book is on the whole really depressing if like me you love the sea - I am an avid scuba diver and this book left me feeling morose - the underwater paradise that I love so much is in even more danger than I feared!

I don't want to put anyone off reading this book because...
Published 23 months ago by FLB

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing subject, bit slow to read in parts
This is clearly very significant issues that are covered in this book, and by a very well qualified writer. The tone of the book leaves you in a slightly panic alert state of mind over the condition of our seas, and perhaps that is what the author wanted. So I would say it was an effective message the book portrays.
However, I did find the book a very difficult read...
Published 21 months ago by zenadox


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh No!! Save our seas!, 16 Aug 2012
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FLB (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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This book is written by the man who was the consultant to the BBC series Blue Planet. The book is on the whole really depressing if like me you love the sea - I am an avid scuba diver and this book left me feeling morose - the underwater paradise that I love so much is in even more danger than I feared!

I don't want to put anyone off reading this book because I have said it is depressing, it is one of those catch 22 situations - we need to read it to understand what is happening, but in doing so the lovely state of ignorance many people bask in will be shattered. There is much we can do to save the seas as you will learn whilst reading the book - a really nice touch I thought was the author listing charitable organisations who work in marine preservation to encourage others to join them.

I hope a lot of people will read this book - we need to take action before it is too late. I would love this to be in my children's school library and covered in Geography lessons!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 27 Sep 2012
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Beanie Luck Spud (Cotswolds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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This book is aimed at the more serious reader i think.

It is very indepth, very detailed, there are no childish illustrations and the text is well written, well placed out and to be honest, really fascinating.

I sat down and read this and learnt so much about the ocean that i didnt realise existed. I also found certain chapters quite intriguing and me and my partner sat down and had some very interesting debates about some of the pieces written.

I think that this would make a brilliant present for any young person that is interested in science at school or is undertaking a science degree at college or university.

I found it thoroughly engaging.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are we going to hell in a rowing boat? It is not too late to change, 11 Oct 2012
This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
A very well written book about a very tough subject.

Roberts manages to convey the crisis of the oceans that is almost on us with sparkling clarity. He doesn't over complicate the subject, but writes with an urgency and a passion.

The chapters are quite gloomy when you consider how bad the seas are. He covers the amount of rubbish, in particular plastics that are in the sea, the steady acidification due to the water absorbing carbon dioxide relentlessly. He covers the scandalous trade in sharks fin, and the devastation that bottom trawling and by catch is having. Grim, very grim.

But in all the bad news, there is some hope. More nations are starting to set aside marine reserves, and he details how even a small reserve can have a massive change to a far wider area.

A must read for those interested in the state of the largest wilderness on the planet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'There is a tide in the affairs of men...', 16 July 2012
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FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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In this book, Callum Roberts sets out to argue the case that man is damaging the oceans of the world in ways that may be irreversible if not addressed quickly and determinedly.

Roberts starts with a history of the oceans since the planet was formed, showing how previous episodes of warming, changes in acidity levels etc. have had huge effects on the animals that live there. He then gives a very detailed account, (perhaps a little over-detailed in parts) of the history of man's interaction with the sea, through fishing, shipping and pollution amongst other things. As he piles detail on detail, his argument that we are causing major and probably irreversible damage is completely convincing and thoroughly depressing. Some of the images he provides, of mass piles of discarded plastic gathering in the ocean gyres, of dead zones caused by chemical pollution, of coral reefs bleaching and dying, of life at the bottom of the seas being destroyed by trawling, are stark and horrifying. Of course we knew all this, but Roberts pulls it all together for us and shows us the consequences, so that no-one reading this book could be left feeling that this is a problem that can continue to be ignored.

It is only in the last couple of chapters that Roberts offers solutions and not unsurprisingly these are fairly straightforward - to set up protection zones, to reduce the flow of chemicals and rubbish into the seas, to combat global warming. Straightforward but not easy, though Roberts also gives examples of some major advances that have been made over the last decade or so. (Who would have expected George Dubya to come out of a book like this as one of the heroes? Apparently he set up huge protected zones before he left office.) Roberts finishes the book by listing some of the many organisations working towards marine preservation and giving an idea of the approach each organisation is taking.

I did not find this an easy or enjoyable read. It was hard work in places as Roberts piled on more and more evidence to back his arguments, sometimes with greater detail than I felt necessary. However, the message of the book is a vitally important one and Roberts has succeeded in getting that message across. I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in environmental matters - and that should really be everyone, shouldn't it?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book about the THREATS TO THE OCEANS, 5 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
This is an important book because of its message. Written by Callum Roberts, Professor of marine conservation at the University of York, it's a plea to take notice of the huge risks and damage to the oceans, to realise that threats to them are threats to our way of life ... and to do something about it.

Roberts starts by reminding us of "shifting baseline syndrome" - the fact each generation can be unaware it is witnessing an impoverished environment vis-a-vis the past. Roberts cites e.g., how the fish landed at Key West reduced in size during the 1950's-1980's, and how the catch landed from the North Sea has plummeted since 1890 in spite of huge technological advances.

Some of the analysis is complicated, but, briefly Roberts talks of the 5 horsemen of the on-going apocalypse i.e., climate change, pollution, overkill (by fishing), invasive species, and habitat loss. For example, climate change brings temperature changes at a speed species may have difficulty adjusting to ... and increased CO2 levels that acidify the ocean. Pollution results inter alia in enormous plankton blooms, huge areas of floating debris trapped in oceanic gyres, and e.g., plastics entering the food chain. Fishing is on a scale, using methods, which have devastated and continue to devastate fish stocks and the submarine web of life. I was stunned by the atrocious statistics the author gives of collateral damage from long line fishing for mahi-mahi (near Costa Rica); to capture 211 mahi-mahi cost the lives of 468 olive ridley turtles, 408 pelagic stingrays, 413 silky sharks, 47 devil rays, 24 thresher sharks, 22 blue marlin, 34 striped marlin, etc.,.

Callum Roberts says that though things will get worse for some years he is optimistic e.g., because man is flexible and inventive and because- in an environment where people are increasingly aware of the problems - Roberts has been pleased that it's proved possible to establish some marine reserves. For my money there are good grounds for being very worried. Perhaps it's true that global population will peak in mid-century, but the global economy is using more and more resources and climate change, acidification and pollution are not under control.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and readable account of how important the oceans are, 30 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Kindle Edition)
This is the second book I have read by Callum Roberts (the other was The Unnatural History of the Sea). Both are well-written and have the gravitas of his standing as an academic who specialises in sea, its health, its importance to the planet (including us) and how humans have benefitted from our relationship with it over millennia.
But this book is also a major wake-up call for humanity - we have so abused the seas that if we don't change our habits VERY soon then we will no longer be able to take advantage of its munificent bounty.
It's not too late - but we need to act NOW - and this book is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to be rationally informed about what they can actually DO to make a difference.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ocean of life review, 30 Dec 2013
This review is from: Ocean of Life (Paperback)
Fascinating and thought provoking this book quickly earns your attention and holds it throughout. A must read for everyone and totally recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, 4 July 2013
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Everyone must read "The Ocean of Life" to learn how we are killing the life in the oceans by over-fishing, pollution and climate change. But Callum Roberts says that he is an optimist, and that it is not too late yet for us to stop our destructive practices, seeing encouraging trends among some activists.

Gordon Spence
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but depressing, 8 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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This is an excellent book about the ecology of the oceans, covering everything. It is not heavy going, and I followed all the arguments and science with no difficulty, but it never dumbed down. There are so many more ways than I ever imagined in which we are destroying the ocean, and so much of it will happen in our lifetimes. Well written, thoroughly researched, and exhaustive in scope. I wish this book had a happy ending, but being real life it doesn't
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 23 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
Great read, very easy to read and bursting with information. Lots of depth, although a lot of mentions of Mrs Roberts.
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Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts
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