No matter how far inland we live, a single kind of blue-green algae in the ocean (Prochlorococcus) produces the oxygen in one of every five breaths we take. The World Is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s Are One is full of similar facts, illustrating the oceans’ critical importance to human survival and making their protection a very personal matter indeed.
Author Sylvia Earle is one of the world’s most renowned marine scientists, and her efforts to make ocean health personal are provoked by the rapid decline in marine ecosystems that she’s witnessed over the past decades: 90 percent of once-common fish stocks are now depleted to the point of commercial extinction; 50 percent of the planet’s coral reefs have been destroyed; and offshore drilling, mining and pollution have destroyed immeasurable ocean habitat. That’s the bad news, Earle says, but there’s still hope: She explains several key strategies for restoring the seas, like expanding protected reserves, reforming fishing practices and improving ocean research.
This wealth of marine science is woven with stories from Earle’s decades of exploration that inspire a deep appreciation for the underwater world. An important read on the necessity of treating our oceans with respect, sooner rather than later.