Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World's Oceans

Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World's Oceans

by Deborah Rowan Wright

Hardcover(First Edition)

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The world’s oceans face multiple threats: the effects of climate change, pollution, overfishing, plastic waste, and more. Confronted with the immensity of these challenges and of the oceans themselves, we might wonder what more can be done to stop their decline and better protect the sea and marine life. Such widespread environmental threats call for a simple but significant shift in reasoning to bring about long-overdue, elemental change in the way we use ocean resources. In Future Sea, ocean advocate and marine-policy researcher Deborah Rowan Wright provides the tools for that shift. Questioning the underlying philosophy of established ocean conservation approaches, Rowan Wright lays out a radical alternative: a bold and far-reaching strategy of 100 percent ocean protection that would put an end to destructive industrial activities, better safeguard marine biodiversity, and enable ocean wildlife to return and thrive along coasts and in seas around the globe.
Future Sea is essentially concerned with the solutions and not the problems. Rowan Wright shines a light on existing international laws intended to keep marine environments safe that could underpin this new strategy. She gathers inspiring stories of communities and countries using ocean resources wisely, as well as of successful conservation projects, to build up a cautiously optimistic picture of the future for our oceans—counteracting all-too-prevalent reports of doom and gloom. A passionate, sweeping, and personal account, Future Sea not only argues for systemic change in how we manage what we do in the sea, but also describes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders (or indeed, any reader of the book), can take toward safeguarding the oceans and their extraordinary wildlife.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


In this cautionary if hopeful debut, environmentalist Wright urges society to take responsibility for the fate of the oceans. Despite the threat of climate change, “there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic,” Wright notes, and practical solutions to undertake. An early chapter looks at overfishing, highlighting how one species, orange roughy, was almost driven to extinction by “greedy boom-and-bust fishing” in the 1980s and ’90s; with a more measured approach, Wright points out, the roughy might still be flourishing and “swimming over undamaged ancient corals in the deep seas of the southwest Pacific,” rather than existing at their current depleted state. Wright goes on to school readers in maritime law and legislative action, citing Nobel Prize–winning political economist Elinor Ostrom’s eight principles “for good commons governance.” Perhaps Wright’s best suggestions are those that deal with individual actions and consumer decisions. Her discussion of sunscreen, for instance, urges people to shun the many popular brands containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can “disrupt coral reproduction and growth and exacerbate coral bleaching.” Wright makes a strong case for how choices—big and small, collective and individual—can change the world. (Nov.)

Literary Hub - Amy Brady

"Books about climate change are often rife with doomy predictions, but Future Sea brims with hopeful stories of communities around the world that are working to protect and conserve our oceans. Our seas face many threats, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing, but this book is solutions-oriented. A marine-policy researcher, Rowan Wright puts forth a sweeping—if somewhat radical—plan that offers total protection of all oceans on Earth and all of their living inhabitants. The book also includes actions individuals can take right now to be better stewards of the seas."

Science - Mary Ellen Hannibal

"Our ocean life-support system continues to buckle under human pressures. We have been approaching marine conservation backward, Rowan Wright argues at the outset of her new book, Future Sea. Instead of regulating individual fisheries or putting boundaries around select areas of the ocean, we need to protect the whole thing."

Yale Climate Connections

"A passionate, sweeping, and personal account, Future Sea not only argues for systemic change in how we manage what we do in the sea, but also describes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders (or indeed, any reader of the book), can take toward safeguarding the oceans and their extraordinary wildlife."

David Helvarg

In Future Sea, Rowan Wright makes a convincing call to optimism. From ‘Inky the octopus’ to the Law of the Sea convention she provides a cogent, easy-to-read argument for protecting the whole of our blue marble planet. A fast read on a deep subject, this thoughtful book will leave you feeling empowered to take the plunge, understanding that in saving the natural abundance and diversity of our seas we’re really saving ourselves.

The Biologist - Stephen R. Hoskins CBiol FRSB FLS

"Rowan Wright’s book emits passion and fire coupled with a growing urgency to 'put things right'—to make good our failings to protect the life of seas and oceans. Wright highlights good practice and encourages its dissemination and adaptation where possible, whilst castigating politicians for ignoring the science and aligning themselves with those who would exploit our seas to the point at which they become lifeless. . . . This book is simply too important not to be read by the general public, marine scientists, ecological/environmental conservationists, representatives of marine-based industries and especially politicians; and since most of it is jargon-free there really is no excuse."

New Scientist

Future Sea sets out marine policy researcher Rowan Wright’s ideas about how to end destructive industrial activities at sea and enable ocean wildlife to return and thrive. Luckily, she includes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders, can take."

Mark Avery

". . .a very stimulating and rewarding read. . ."

Chicago Review of Books

"Future Sea delivers not only the promised 'how' but also the reasons why we should safeguard the ocean from human activities. Advocate and researcher Rowan Wright outlines the critical link between the ocean’s health and our ability to mitigate global warming, the tremendous potential of marine renewable energy, and the ocean’s timeless role as a resource to communities around the world. More profoundly, she argues for its intrinsic value, outside of a human context, noting the vastness and richness of coastal and underwater ecosystems, home to millions of species that are yet unclassified, yet unknown. . . . The times when Rowan Wright draws on her own experiences with ocean life and researching her subjects are when the language is liveliest. Her arguments are most convincing when her own voice is clearest—when the frustration, passion, and will for change of an individual emanate in a kind of slow-burning glow of articulate British restraint. The voice of a single rational, concerned woman make the bolder claims and proposals all the more stealthily convincing. . . . It is her sensitivity to both the complex emotional response to environmental destruction and the profound connections human beings have to the natural world that make the book an effective advocacy tool. I certainly didn’t feel emotionally prepared to take in more environmental ‘bad news,’ but found myself changed after reading the book, feeling that understanding, bearing witness, is also part of making a change. The trick is to move past the paralysis. Rowan Wright pinpoints what is perhaps the greatest challenge, our current global leadership vacuum, describing her dream of ‘leaders with compassion and integrity.’ The implicit message is that for good leadership, too, we all bear some responsibility."

Drew Harvell

Rowan Wright’s book is a clear call to action to modernize the Law of the Sea so that it can deal with the changes in society, in the sea, on land, and in the atmosphere that have arisen since it came into force in 1994. This is the freshest, most sensible, and most optimistic perspective I have seen in a long time. I enjoy very much the positive, can-do approach. Very motivating.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226542676
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/27/2020
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 282,766
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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