cover image Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans

Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans

Deborah Rowan Wright. Univ. of Chicago, $22.50 (200p) ISBN 978-0-226-54267-6

In this cautionary if hopeful debut, environmentalist Wright urges society to take responsibility for the fate of the oceans. Despite the threat of climate change, “there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic,” Wright notes, and practical solutions to undertake. An early chapter looks at overfishing, highlighting how one species, orange roughy, was almost driven to extinction by “greedy boom-and-bust fishing” in the 1980s and ’90s; with a more measured approach, Wright points out, the roughy might still be flourishing and “swimming over undamaged ancient corals in the deep seas of the southwest Pacific,” rather than existing at their current depleted state. Wright goes on to school readers in maritime law and legislative action, citing Nobel Prize–winning political economist Elinor Ostrom’s eight principles “for good commons governance.” Perhaps Wright’s best suggestions are those that deal with individual actions and consumer decisions. Her discussion of sunscreen, for instance, urges people to shun the many popular brands containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can “disrupt coral reproduction and growth and exacerbate coral bleaching.” Wright makes a strong case for how choices—big and small, collective and individual—can change the world. (Nov.)