The new book "Oceans: Threats to the Sea and What You Can Do To Turn the Tide" is the companion book to the new DisneyNature film of the same name.
The book is an anthology of 30 essays by noted oceanophiles including Sylvia Earle and Carl Safina, activists like Paul Watson and Ric O'Barry, the President of the Maldives, the administrator of NOAA, and seaborne adventurers including David de Rothschild, Lynne Cox and Roz Savage.
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The following is an excerpt from the book "Oceans, The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide," edited by Jon Bowermaster.
Who isn't made blissful sitting at water's edge staring at the horizon, hypnotized by that delicate, nearly imperceptible-yet-somehow-distinct line where blue meets blue? Who among us doesn't count those solitary, sun-washed moments -- whether afloat on a boat or feet dug deep into the sand -- as among the favorites of a lifetime?
Cliché? Perhaps. But if the views off land's edges are not the most soothing, the most renewing on the planet, why do so many of us flock there to live, to work, to rejuvenate. Which raises the issue of why is it that this planet is called Earth, when seventy five percent of it is Ocean? That this is not known as Planet Ocean speaks only to the ego of man, since it has nothing to do with reality. It also raises the question of exactly how many oceans there are. Go get your atlas. Inside you'll find five mildly distinct bodies with labels (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Southern). I, like most whose writing graces these pages, believe there are no real distinctions, that this big body of water encircling the planet is just one ocean.
Put me on the edge, on or in the ocean at sunrise, sunset, under a blazing midday sun or even a small storm and I am content. For the past twenty years I've managed just that countless times. A wide variety of explorations have given me a unique perspective on both the health of the ocean and the lives of people who depend on it, a meandering route leading me from remote Bering Sea and Pacific islands, down the coasts of Vietnam and all of South America, around the various seas that surround Europe, parallel long sandy beaches in Gabon and India and rocky ones in Croatia, Tasmania and Kamchatka. At each stop I have spent time with the people whose days are most defined and shaped by the ocean.
For all the differences each place offers -- from browsing forest elephants and surfing hippos along the beaches of Gabon to eighty-mile-an-hour winds raking the Aleutian Islands, from horrifically-polluted bays off the South China Sea to centuries-old ritual celebrations still practiced on remote South Pacific atolls -- similarities link them all. The same is true for ocean people.
Though their cultures may differ -- dress, food, religions and more-- the people who live along coastlines have far more in common than they have differences. Instinctively, the very first thing each does in the morning is scan the horizon line, the seascape, checking the morning sky for what it might portend. Increasingly too, each is impacted by a handful of environmental risks now impacting the ocean, its coastlines and both its marine and human populations.
As the human population grows, headed fast towards nine billion, the planet's coastlines grow ever more crowded. Fourteen of the planet's seventeen largest cities are built on the edge of the ocean.