Synopses & Reviews
Our oceans are becoming increasingly inhospitable to lifeandmdash;growing toxicity and rising temperatures coupled with overfishing have led many marine species to the brink of collapse. And yet there is one creature that is thriving in this seasick environment: the beautiful, dangerous, and now incredibly numerous jellyfish. As foremost jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin describes in Stung!,
the jellyfish population bloom is highly indicative of the tragic state of the worldandrsquo;s ocean waters, while also revealing the incredible tenacity of these remarkable creatures.and#160;Recent documentaries about swarms of giant jellyfish invading Japanese fishing grounds and summertime headlines about armadas of stinging jellyfish in the Mediterranean and Chesapeake are only the beginningandmdash;jellyfish are truly taking over the oceans. Despite their often dazzling appearance, jellyfish are simple creatures with simple needs: namely, fewer predators and competitors, warmer waters to encourage rapid growth, and more places for their larvae to settle and grow. In general, oceans that are less favorable to fish are more favorable to jellyfish, and these are the very conditions that we are creating through mechanized trawling, habitat degradation, coastal construction, pollution, and climate change.and#160;Despite their role as harbingers of marine destruction, jellyfish are truly enthralling creatures in their own right, and in Stung!
, Gershwin tells stories of jellyfish both attractive and deadly while illuminating many interesting and unusual facts about their behaviors and environmental adaptations. She takes readers back to the Proterozoic era, when jellyfish were the top predator in the marine ecosystemandmdash;at a time when there were no fish, no mammals, and no turtles; and she explores the role jellies have as middlemen of destruction, moving swiftly into vulnerable ecosystems. The story of the jellyfish, as Gershwin makes clear, is also the story of the worldandrsquo;s oceans, and Stung!
provides a unique and urgent look at their inseparable historiesandmdash;and future.
"Mitchell trawls the oxygen-depleted oceanic dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, counts the days after the full moon in Panama to figure out when to search for signs of coral spawn, questions what a souring ocean chemistry holds for the future of marine plankton communities, and recounts the actions that have depleted global fisheries, documenting the toll that one frightening assault after another has taken on our ocean....Faced with the myriad ways humans are changing the ocean, Mitchell admits that giving in to despair would be easy. Instead, she chooses a personal voyage of discovery in an effort to get to the bottom of things—in some instances literally....I found the argument for hope and change that she presents compelling."—Rick MacPherson, American Scientist
"Mitchell takes readers on a maritime journey to learn about the effects of higher temperatures, salinity, acidity, and volume on marine animals and plants. The author travels to the Great Barrier Reef, the Gulf of Mexico, China, and Spain, among other places, interviews scientists, goes on marine research vessels and a diving expedition, describes the current destruction of coral reefs and declining fish populations, and explains why we should care....[Seasick] presents a strong case for urgency in solving the problem of global warming."—Library Journal
“Seasick is a travelog of sorts in which Mitchell takes her readers around the world to investigate the signs and causes of an unhealthy ocean…For many of us, the stories told in this book will not be new. But those stories are well worth listening to agaig, if only to remind ourselves to ask and be able to answer the question, ‘So what?”—Kiho Kim, Oceanography
"Mitchell is a writer at ease explaining scientific fact and research, and at the same time writing lush evocations of great beauty on her travels around the world, as well as describing fear, insecurity and tragedy."
and#8220;A comprehensive summary of the irresistible rise of an arguably unstoppable creature.and#8221;
and#8220;Gershwin is a scientist who can write.and#160; She is a scientist, a conservationist, a public conscience, and a prophet.and#160; and#8216;Prophetand#8217; is a mantle which nobody dons willingly because part of the definition of 'prophet' is that nobody listens to the warning until it is too late. It is probably not too late yet.and#160; So read Stung!. Then start making noise.and#8221;
and#8220;Vivid, lively, and enthralling! The world of jellyfish is brought alive as you never imagined it could be by Lisa-ann Gershwin in this engaging, gripping, and often funny book. Stung!
is an enthusiastic guide to the extraordinary story of jellyfish, a group that dominated the world oceans of half a billion years ago, and in present form, may come to do so again if we donand#8217;t curb the rising tide of human damage to the sea.and#8221;
andldquo;Reading this book should inspire heightened respect for these typically translucent creatures, some notable for their sophisticated stinging apparatus, some for their rainbow-colored bands of iridescent cilia, some for their ability to flash, sparkle or glow with their own living lightandmdash;all, in a sense, andlsquo;living fossils,andrsquo; considering their ancient lineage. . . . By picking out jellyfish and telling their stories, Lisa-ann Gershwin masterfully shows how they and we are hitched togetherandmdash;and to everything else in the universe.andrdquo;
andldquo;Read this book!and#160; You know that the oceans are in trouble, but this is the most comprehensive and clear explanation of why.and#160;and#160;Stung!
and#160;is more than just a book about jellyfish; itand#160;is undoubtedlyand#160;one of the best books detailing the stresses on our oceanand#160;ecosystems. It is a much needed and spectacular achievement.andrdquo;
and#8220;This well-researched book is not just about jellyfish, but rather about the current and future state of the worldand#8217;s oceans. Gershwin has done a superb job of summarizing all of the various indignities people have inflicted on the marine world, from pollution, overfishing, acidification, and invasive species, to the problem of eutrophication and dead zones. As she guides readers through the basics of jellyfish biology, she shows how the characteristics of these animals make them ideally suited to over stressed environments and gives examples of how they have already done just that.and#160; . . . Highly recommended.and#8221;
and#8220;and#8217;Jellyfish populations are exploding into superabundances and exploiting these changes in ways that we could never have imaginedand#8230; and in some cases driving them,and#8217; explains biologist Gershwin in her brilliant book Stung!, a fascinating read.and#8221;
and#8220;The Australian jellyfish expert, Gershwin, tells the story of jellyfish and human plunder of the oceans in Stung!.Stung! evokes the danger of jellyfish blooms but, even more fundamentally, it is about the real stung effect of the collapsing oceans. Stung! is extremely important, well written and well documented.and#8221;
and#8220;A fascinating book.and#8221;
"A serious monograph disguised as a monster movie."
We have long lorded over the ocean. But only recently have we become aware of the myriad life-forms beneath its waves. We now know that this delicate ecosystem is our life-support system; it regulates the earths temperatures and climate and comprises 99 percent of living space on earth. So when we change the chemistry of the whole ocean system, as we are now, life as we know it is threatened.
In Seasick, veteran science journalist Alanna Mitchell dives beneath the surface of the worlds oceans to give readers a sense of how this watery realm can be managed and preserved, and with it life on earth. Each chapter features a different group of researchers who introduce readers to the importance of ocean currents, the building of coral structures, or the effects of acidification. With Mitchell at the helm, readers submerge 3,000 feet to gather sea sponges that may contribute to cancer care, see firsthand the lava lamp-like dead zone covering 17,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico, and witness the simultaneous spawning of corals under a full moon in Panama.
The first book to look at the planetary environmental crisis through the lens of the global ocean, Seasick takes the reader on an emotional journey through a hidden realm of the planet and urges conservation and reverence for the fount from which all life on earth sprang.
A vast amount of plastic waste - twice the size of the United States - is floating in the Pacific Ocean. Welcome to the Great Pacific Garbage Path: the Plastic Soup. Plastic is an incredible material we can't do without, but it also creates the biggest pollution problem imaginable. This is something Jesse Goossens discovers during her travels and conversations across the United States and Europe. Her blogs and interviews are shocking, fascinating and dismaying. In this full-color book, she uncovers the effects of plastic waste on our health and on the environment, not only in the Pacific Ocean, but everywhere on earth.
Jesse Goossens\\\\\\\' work includes travel novels, a detective novel, works on theatre, a young adult novel and several interview collections on topics of social justice. She also worked for a considerable time as a radio host and cultural journalist, and acted and sang for ten years in a small theatre company. Her work is characterized by a fervent search for what moves people - their passions, their motivations, their lives. For her book, Plastic Soup, Jesse traveled to the United States and several European countries to interview people who are involved with the issue of plastic waste: from Captain Moore - the discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - to recyclers, from representatives of the plastic industry to delegates of environmental organizations, and from the Dutch Secretary for Environment to the director of UNEP New York. During her travels Jesse kept a blog (www.plasticsoep.nl and www.plasticsoup.org), entries for which are in Plastic Soup.
About the Author
"Jesse Goossens\\\\\\\' important book dramatically illustrates the effect we have had...We need to understand that we are part of a grand ecosystem which we share with all other life on Earth.
From the Preface- H R H Princess Irene\\\'\''
Table of Contents
Interview: Captain Charles Moore-discoverer of the plastic soup- A plastic graveyard in the ocean 14
Blog: THE BEGINNING 26
Interview: Jackie Caddick-Liverpool Water Witch- on clenaing up waste from the water- A little magic and a whole lot of work 28
Blog: "YOU CAN UNDERSTAND IT, ONCE YOU GET IT" 32
Interview: Rinus van den Berg - DSM- on the magic of plastic- Plastic? Fantastic! 34
Blog: A GREEN POINT 38
Interview: Nortbert Völl & Michael Heyde - Duales System Deutschland - over de kringloop van verpakkingsmateriaal, Der Gurne Punkt- Waste is not a problem 40
Blog: THE LAW OF THE SEA 46
Interview: Peter Prows - lawyer - on who should clean up the plastic soup - Nobody is responsible -so we all are 48
Blog: THE OCEAN AS MONUMENT 52
Interview: Rudolph Eilander - architect - on a plastic island in the plastic soup -Not an illusion but a dream 54
Blog: WALKING ON WATER 58
Interview: Michael Biddle - MBA Polymers - on plastic recycling - Plastic becomes...plastic 60
Blog: A COLORFUL PLAN 66
Interview: Jay Golden - Gorilla in the Greenhouse - on the Internet as a means of raising awareness- Not finger-pointing, but inspiring 68
Blog: PIMP IT UP! 72
Interview: Ross Mirkarimi - Superivisor District 5 San Francisco - on the ban of plastic bags - Something small with big consequences 74
Blog: ANGELS 78
Interview: Hidde van Kersen - Waddenvereniging - on plastic pollution in the Wadden sea - Nature Can\\\\\\\'t stand up for herself, wo we do it for her 80
Blog: A GRAND VIEW 84
Interview: Jack O\\\\\\\'Neill & Dan Haifley - O\\\\\\\'Neill Sea Odyssey - on educating kids- At sea everyone is equal 86
Blog: BACK ON EARTH 90
Interview: John Bouterse - Envosmart - on plastic recycling - Plastic becomes...diesel 92
Blog: ROAD TRIP 96
Interview: Marcus Eriksen & Anna Cummins - Algalita & Bring your Own - on the struggle against plastic waste - Never give up hope 98
Blog: PLASTIC MAFIA 108
Interview: Anthony Zolezzi - entrepreneur-activist - on cooperation with the plastics industry - A worldwide embrace 110
Blog: LOSER 118
Interview: Sarah Abramson - Heal the Bay - on the need for pressure groups - There\\\\\\\'s no simple solution 120
Blog: SICK OF PLASTIC 126
Interview: Jacques Joosten - DPI - on the versatility of plastic - We are only at the beginning 128
Blog: ON THE DAY OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT 134
Interview: Juanita Castaño - UNEP - on the role of the United Nations - Appeal to the plastics industry 136
Blog: FRESH SNOW 140
Interview: Albert de Hoop - KIMO - on plastic pollution in the North Sea - And I thought I knew something about the oceans.. 142
Blog: AN ACID SEA 148
Interview: Jacqueline Cramer - VROM - on legislation addressing plastic pollutin - Let\\\\\\\'s really go for it! 150
Blog: FIRST EXPLORATION 154
Interview: Michael Braungart - chemicus - Cradle to Cradle - We\\\\\\\'ve talked about problems for long enough now. It\\\\\\\'s time for solutions 160
About ACT - A Convenient Truths 170
Photo rights 172