Blue Frontier: Dispatches from America's Ocean Wilderness

David Helvarg, Author
David Helvarg, Author Sierra Club Books $16.95 (319p) ISBN 978-1-57805-157-1
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There have been enormous changes the environmental and political landscape since this book's first edition was published in 2001-among them government and private reports on the state of the oceans and the dangers of global warming, severe hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005, 9/11, the Iraq War, and worldwide marine die-offs. Helvarg has seamlessly updated his immensely readable texts to cover new hurricanes (Katrina among them), rising sea levels, a radical pro-development federal government, growth of an ecological ""Dead Zone"" in the Gulf of Mexico, catastrophic blooms of hazardous organisms in rivers and estuaries, and the collapse of fisheries. Interwoven are useful histories of the offshore oil industry, ocean policy in Congress, and marine research institutes. Each chapter explores the links between the corruption of our political system and the destruction of critically important coastal resources. Helvarg's love for the sea and its natural inhabitants pervades the text, giving his precise catalog of enviornmental horrors an affecting poetic streak and a closing note of optimism, as he discusses marine sanctuaries and ongoing grassroots efforts to rehabilitate damaged coasts and preserve healthy ones. Supported by a hefty bibliography and copious interviews with scientists, policy makers, and ordinary people, this is a thorough examination of the ecological crisis in progress.
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