Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Review: National Geographic Ocean by Sylvia Earle

I have always loved the water. When I turned 40, my parents offered me the gift of a scuba class. It remains the best gift I've ever been given. There's something about being underwater that feeds my soul in a way that nothing else comes close to. I feel right there. I am at home. More than that, it is my home. And indeed, the ocean is the birthplace of life for all of us. Without it, there would be no life on Earth. In National Geographic Ocean by Sylvia Earle, just how important the ocean and the health of the ocean is to all of us is made crystal clear.

Sylvia Earle is a major figure in the ocean world and she's focused her entire life on the ocean. Who better to write about this vast and amazing place? Her knowledge, combined with the absolutely amazing photographs taken by talented National Geographic photographers, makes for a comprehensive and impressive coffee table sized book. The book, while focused on the ocean as its primary topic, also discusses air/wind, fresh water, land, and more, because on this Earth ecosystem of ours, everything is intimately, inextricably connected and no one system can be divorced from any other. It is, indeed, this enduring balance, one that we humans are endangering, that maintains all of life on this beautiful blue planet.

The book covers the creation and history of the ocean(s), how it functions, the animals and organisms living in it (including a gorgeous fold out section showing some of the amazing creatures that live in the deep blue of the ocean), the technology--high and low--that we humans have used to explore and learn about this ever surprising and still relatively unexplored place, the outsized and terrible impact we are having on its failing health and the climate as a whole, and finishes with atlases of the oceans. The text is important and informative, although it can sometimes read a bit like an introductory class textbook. The photographs are as awe inspiring as you would expect coming from Nat Geo (and they make me want to slip on scuba gear right now). Earle does not hide or sugarcoat the alarming changes in the ocean in recent decades, almost all of which are human driven. She is absolutely an advocate for this stunning, powerful, unbelievably vast, and yet fragile source for sustaining all of life on Earth. This book is a beauty. It is a lesson. And it is visual wake-up call for us to protect and cherish our ocean. As Earle has made clear, we should want to, but we also don't have a choice. We have to.

For more information look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book, and purchase here.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and publisher National Geographic for sending me a copy of this book to review.

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