All life—whether on land or in the sea— depends on the oceans for two things:
— Oxygen. Most of Earth’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton in the sea. These humble, one-celled organisms, rather than the spectacular rain forests, are the true lungs of the planet.
— Climate control. Our climate is regulated by the ocean’s currents, winds, and water-cycle activity.
Sea Sick is the first book to examine the current state of the world’s oceans —the great unexamined ecological crisis of the planet—and the fact that we are altering everything about them; temperature, salinity, acidity, ice cover, volume, circulation, and, of course, the life within them.
Alanna Mitchell joins the crews of leading scientists in nine of the global ocean’s hotspots to see firsthand what is really happening around the world. Whether it’s the impact of coral reef bleaching, the puzzle of the oxygen-less dead zones such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico, or the shocking implications of the changing Ph balance of the sea, Mitchell explains the science behind the story to create an engaging, accessible yet authoritative account.
Winner of the 2010 Grantham Prize
An Amazon Best Book of the Year (so far)
A 2009 The Globe 100 selection, The Globe & Mail
Finalist for the Lane Anderson Award
“Sea Sick is an adventure tale with scientists as the heroes. With wit, style and a powerful sense of history it takes us on a wonderful fact-finding tour beneath the surface of Earth’s largest habitat. It could help change the way we think about our relationship with the seas.” —Roger Harrabin, BBC Focus Magazine
“Don't be seduced by Mitchell’s easy style. This is an important book about the state of two-thirds of our planet.” —New Scientist
“…[Alanna Mitchell] writes intelligently and passionately. You need to read it too.” —The Globe & Mail
“Keeping the ocean’s life switch turned on will require all of us to, like Mitchell, choose hope and to do something about it. Reading this book is a good first step.” —Montreal Gazette
“A strong examination of degraded global ocean health based on years of research with top world scientists.” —Vancouver Province
“Each chapter in the book blends lucid, factual explanation of complex subjects with engaging chronicles of the author’s travels to far-flung parts of the globe.” —Quill & Quire
“This book is spectacularly good and will be an important contribution to the publicly accessible literature on the environmental changes being wrought
on our fragile oceans.” —The Quarterly Review of Biology
“A riveting book of revelations about Earth’s largest and most important habitat.” —Tim Flannery, author of The Weathermakers
“Sea Sick is the most comprehensive book to date on the state of our oceans. With a writer’s eye for detail and a reporter’s expertise in pulling in disparate information, Mitchell has woven a powerful and deeply unsettling story about our collective abuse of the cradle of all life. Fortunately, she also gives us hope and a path forward if we have the wisdom to act.” —Maude Barlow
“Alanna Mitchell has brilliantly woven together the threads of science taking place all over the world pointing to an accelerating crisis in the world’s oceans. She makes the case compellingly that the declining health of the planet's oceans — the place where life began, larger than our atmosphere and where 99% of life exists — is an imminent threat to survival on land. I thought I was sufficiently well-informed and alert to the risks of planetary collapse before reading this book. Turns out I was wrong. The climate crisis is more an ocean crisis. That she still finds reasons to hope is one reason you must read this book.” —Elizabeth May
“Humanity is visiting a desolation upon the world. We already bear primary responsibility for the extermination of more than 100,000 fellow species/fellow travelers. During the next few decades, that colossal massacre may well be doubled or trebled. Death is running amok on the earth, but especially in the sea. If you would know how and why, read Sea Sick . . . although it may make you heartsick.” —Farley Mowat
Length: 320 pp
Genre/Category: Nature - Ecology, Environment
Australian/NZ rights, Murdoch Books
Canadian rights, McClelland & Stewart
Serbian rights, Geopoetika
UK rights, Oneworld
US rights, University of Chicago Press
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Alanna Mitchell is a strategic communications expert who specializes in translating science into narrative.
She was a journalist at The Globe and Mail for 14 years. Her areas of expertise were earth sciences, the environment, social statistics and behavioural trends. In 2000, the IUCN and the Reuters Foundation named her the best environmental reporter in the world for her report on the vanishing forests of Madagascar.