Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2011
Important read -- Ted does a great job of letting us know about the crisis in our oceans and what we can do about it. And, the pictures, graphics make it easy to flip around. It is really something to learn that Ted has been working on this issue for 20 years. Share with your family and friends.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2011
Oceana is a very beautiful and informative book. I always knew things were bad in our oceans (the big plastic "island" in the pacific, coral bleaching, ocean warming, overfishing, etc), but I really didn't know how bad. The pollution issues aside, we're basically strip-mining our oceans, acting like they're a never ending source of resources. Not so much...

The book is very plainly written and the facts are laid out well and free of most jargon. This is good... this book is easily accessible to most readers. There are lots of beautiful pictures as well as scary ones. The information is laid out in a very clean fashion with stuff like charts to help the average person understand the science / figures behind everything presented.

I'd recommend this book for everyone who cares about the environment, the oceans, or just eating fish. Ted Danson does a good job in his advocacy and presents solutions for the average person to take on. I went through this book in days and often had a hard time putting it down.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2011
This book warns of the dangers to our oceans. Offshore drilling is threatening oceanic species, including many of the fish we consume. 90% of "big fish" species have disappeared over the last 60 years.

Of all of the living space on Earth, 1% is one land and 99% is in water. Aquatic life is threatened by human activities. For example, chemical runoff into Lake Erie has made is such aquatic life can't survive. Despite famous oil spills, such as the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 and the 171 million gallon spill in 2010 into the Gulf of Mexico, we have been slow to have a sustained reaction that creates better protections of our waters.

The U.S. is the largest petroleum consumer, urging (in 2008) 19.5 million barrels of petroleum daily, followed by China at 7.8 million barrels.

"Minor" mishaps spill 15 million gallons of oil annually in North America. In addition, toxic chemicals used in the drilling process place 90,000 tons of toxins in the lifetime of a rig into the water, as measured by rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

The book recommends decreasing fossil fuel consumption, less vehicle driving, more mass transit use, more electric or hybrid vehicles, and fewer petroleum based cosmetics.

Oxygen levels, required for aquatic life, are decreasing in oceans. The levels besides southern California have fallen almost 20% over the past quarter century. A fifth of the oceans are oxygen dead zones.

The ocean's ability to process carbonic acidity is decreasing. This is killing aquatic life. Almost 30% of all tropical reefs have disappeared in the last three decades. This upsets the ecosystem as about a quarter of all marine life relies on the coral reefs.

Overfishing is occurring. It is feared we could lose many of the fish species we consume within decades. The numbers of sharks have decreased by 90% and cod 70%. The authors call for an end to high seas fishing by bottom trawling which captures more than intended.

The damaged ecosystem is seen to be afflicted with more diseases, infections, and parasites affecting aquatic life. The author call for scientifically determined fishing limits, ending fisheries subsidies, and penalizing catching the wrong fish species.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
XXXXX

"The fact is--and this is the fundamental reason I've written this book--all are lives are intertwined with and, in the end dependent upon the health of the seas that surround us...And the health of those seas is declining, rapidly...In the pages that follow, I'd like to share what I've learned over the course of the past twenty-some years, and to introduce you to a number of gifted, deeply intelligent people who have devoted their lives to the cause of saving our oceans."

The above comes from this revealing book authored by Ted Danson (the main author) and Michael D'Orso. Danson is an actor perhaps best known for the television comedy series "Cheers" while D'Orso is a journalist and the author of several bestselling books.

In a nutshell, all the chapters (except the last one) looks at the many problems that face our oceans. The last chapter considers the possible solutions to these problems.

What can I say about this book? That's easy. This is THE book to read if you what to know what has been happening to the Earth's oceans in the past half-century.

(The Earth's oceans comprise about 71% of the Earth's surface. Even though the oceans are named individually, they really comprise a continuous body of water.)

The prose of this book is vivid and easy to read, and yes, at times, personal. It is accompanied by graphics, charts, and stunning, colour photographs.

Throughout this book, certain important statements found in the main narrative are also isolated from the main narrative. Here are some of these::

(1) "Technology to get at oil has outraced our knowledge and abilities to deal with mishaps like [the BP oil spill]"
(2) "Close to 30 percent of the world's tropical reefs have vanished since 1980"
(3) "Experts say we're within a century--possibly even less--of inhabiting a world where the only viable seafood left in the oceans will be jellyfish"
(4) "We're eating [fish from the oceans] today what our grandparents used as bait."
(5) "To the scientists, every one of these deep-sea creatures is worth a lifetime of study [but] to the fishing industry, the one feature that matters is the creatures' marketability"
(6) "Seafood fraud is remarkably easy to pull off, and unfortunately, it happens all the time"
(7) "To protect them from disease, even the eggs in a fish farm`s hatchery are treated with a fungicide called Formalin, which is listed as a human carcinogen"
(8) "For every threat that faces our oceans, we possess the knowledge and the means to remedy it"

At the end of each chapter is a "What You Can Do" section. These are practical things that can be done right now by most people.

Finally, I noticed only one small error in an otherwise perfect book. In the table of contents, chapter two is entitled "The Silent Tsunami" but chapter two's cover page has the title "The Quiet Tsunami."

In conclusion, this is THE book to read if you want to know exactly what's going on in our oceans!!

(first published 2011; preface; 8 chapters; main narrative 290 pages; recommended reading; acknowledgements; index; photo credits)

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

XXXXX
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2011
What a great book! Exceeded my expectations. Ted Danson have done a good job inspiring the conservation of our oceans. The book is packed with good information on overfishing, oil drilling, dumping trash and plastic in the oceans, acidification, destroying the bottom of the oceans, etc. And talking about plastics, here is note from personal experience. As commercial fisherman I witness the damage done by plastics to the oceans, it all became clear four decades ago when I caught a ballyhoo (Hemiramphus Brasiliensis) with a rubber band inserted from side to side of its body; how this ballyhoo managed to get inside the rubber band is a big mystery. And now let's get back to the book review. Ted Danson is no Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, but he did an outstanding job describing what is happening to our oceans and what we can do RIGHT NOW to protect what we have left. At the end of each chapter you will find the "What You Can Do" listing. Some of the items on the what you can do listing are very simple, for example (this one is dealing with the senseless practice of cashing sharks just to remove their fins) to help ending shark finning, just don't eat the shark fin soup. The book is full of stunning photos, it is informative, packed with graphics, facts, sidebars written by subject matter experts and friends. Chapter Seven (Blue Revolution) dealing with fish farming, was an eye opener. Over fifty percent of all the seafood consumed worldwide in 2009 was farmed. For the salmon lovers (this writer included), I was not aware that it takes from three to five pounds of feed (that is, fish caught in the wild) to produce one pound of farmed salmon. I recommend this book to those who care for our oceans (and for our planet). Perfect gift for friends and family members.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is a very informative and disturbing look at how we are damaging our beautiful oceans that at times almost brought tears to my eyes. As a nature lover and daily beach goer, it inspired me to do more to take care of our waters and our coastal resources. I can no longer pass a piece of plastic on the beach without putting it in my trash bag. Kudos to Ted Danson for using his celebrity to help the planet.
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on December 6, 2014
This book warns of the dangers to our oceans. Offshore drilling is threatening oceanic species, including many of the fish we consume. 90% of "big fish" species have disappeared over the last 60 years.

Of all of the living space on Earth, 1% is one land and 99% is in water. Aquatic life is threatened by human activities. For example, chemical runoff into Lake Erie has made is such aquatic life can't survive. Despite famous oil spills, such as the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 and the 171 million gallon spill in 2010 into the Gulf of Mexico, we have been slow to have a sustained reaction that creates better protections of our waters.

The U.S. is the largest petroleum consumer, urging (in 2008) 19.5 million barrels of petroleum daily, followed by China at 7.8 million barrels.

"Minor" mishaps spill 15 million gallons of oil annually in North America. In addition, toxic chemicals used in the drilling process place 90,000 tons of toxins in the lifetime of a rig into the water, as measured by rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

The book recommends decreasing fossil fuel consumption, less vehicle driving, more mass transit use, more electric or hybrid vehicles, and fewer petroleum based cosmetics.

Oxygen levels, required for aquatic life, are decreasing in oceans. The levels besides southern California have fallen almost 20% over the past quarter century. A fifth of the oceans are oxygen dead zones.

The ocean's ability to process carbonic acidity is decreasing. This is killing aquatic life. Almost 30% of all tropical reefs have disappeared in the last three decades. This upsets the ecosystem as about a quarter of all marine life relies on the coral reefs.

Overfishing is occurring. It is feared we could lose many of the fish species we consume within decades. The numbers of sharks have decreased by 90% and cod 70%. The authors call for an end to high seas fishing by bottom trawling which captures more than intended.

The damaged ecosystem is seen to be afflicted with more diseases, infections, and parasites affecting aquatic life. The author call for scientifically determined fishing limits, ending fisheries subsidies, and penalizing catching the wrong fish species.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2011
I was really captivated by this book. First of all, the photographs, layout, and graphics are stunning. And the way the authors set forth the major challenges facing our world's oceans today, it is easy to follow. Major topics include oil contamination from offshore drilling; ocean acidification from fossil fuel emissions and the effect on wildlife and coral reefs; the devastation (to marine life and smaller-scale fishermen) caused by industrial fishing and trawling; the many deceptive ways industrial fishing companies avoid environmental laws; the destructive effects of government-subsidized industrial fishing; and the problems with fish farming. Many of our fish populations are crashing, up and down the food web, and the projections if we do not change things are alarming. We in the U.S. have an illusion of abundance, but it is just that--an illusion. I learned so much, and the references to other books, movies, articles, and studies was also really helpful. Ted ends each chapter, and the end of the book, with several resources and ways to get involved. He is hopeful, and I am too. But it's also time to take action! I'm so grateful for what Ted and Oceana have been doing the past 20+ years to protect this often overlooked critical resource and treasure of our planet.
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on May 15, 2015
If you are looking for an up-to-date review of the status of the world's oceans, you should read "Oceana" by Ted Danson and Michael D'Orso. The oceans produce huge amounts of nutritious foods depended upon by millions of people, as well as large numbers of marine organisms. Although not covered in this book, the oceans, along with the forests, literally are the life's breath of the earth. Without phytoplankton we would most certainly have significantly less oxygen to breath. In "Oceana" the authors concentrate on the food web, climate change and pollution, which are certainly complicated enough to take up a library, let alone a relatively short book, so I have no problem in recommending it as a excellent overview of these problems. While oceans cover the larger part of the earth we tend to ignore them or use them as dumping grounds. If we are ever to develop a sustainable world society we need to pay attention to what is happening in the worlds oceans, as well as on land. Reading this book will help the reader at least understand what's at risk when we overfish and trash the sea! A true "tragedy of the commons."
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on July 4, 2014
A well-written and beautifully designed book that emphasizes the precarious state of not just life in the oceans, but life on planet Earth! Humankind, having ignored the protections necessary to maintain this vast resource in a healthy condition, can no longer use the oceans as a dumping ground for trash and pollutants. The fragile nature of life in the seas has become obvious as corporations and governments have chosen to reap the last remaining forms of life as harvest, without concerns for the value of the biodiversity that sustains life in the waters of the planet. Highly recommended for all to read to give factual information and suggestions on what is needed to return balance to the oceans.
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