The Ocean of Life

Author(s): Callum Roberts

Natural History | Environment

In this revelatory book, Callum Roberts uses his lifetime's experience working with the oceans to show why they are the most mysterious places on earth, their depths still largely unexplored.


In The Ocean of Life we get a panoramic tour beneath the seas: Why do currents circulate the way do? Where exactly do they go? How has the chemistry of the oceans changed? And, how polluted are we making them? Above all, Roberts reveals the richness of their life and how it has altered over the centuries. The oceans are now under unprecedented threat. Not only does Roberts show how we are fishing our oceans to extinction, crucially, he explains how this directly affects our lives on land. Ninety-five percent of habitable space on earth lies in the oceans, and marine plants produce half the world's oxygen, and the oceans themselves absorb vast quantities of carbon dioxide. The life they support is now in the balance. The Ocean of Life should galvanise debate worldwide. Roberts shows how we can arrest and reverse the damage we are doing. Tantalisingly, it is within our grasp to restore the life of the oceans. There is still time.

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Those of us who worry about the future of our oceans could do a lot worse than take up this single refrain, "Listen to Callum Roberts!". Shouted in the ears of the world's leaders, it might just make a difference. Meanwhile we should all read Ocean of Life, a thrilling narrative of oceanic natural history and a vital call to action - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The urgency of Callum Roberts' message - that we have very little time to save the oceanic environment on which our existence depends - is in no way undermined by the entertaining and brilliantly-written nature of his writing. This is simply a fascinating book, taking in everything from the elemental formations of the oceans to the denizens that inhabit them; from minute plankton to the great whales - and everything that threatens them, and us. Roberts imparts his vast knowledge with a consummate talent for colourful narrative and devastating facts. His book will be required reading for anyone who cares about the oceans - not least because, as well as underlining the scale of the problems, he offers us the hope of real solutions - Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan or The Whale 

Callum Roberts has done it again. From showing us the past with the wisdom of a Dickens character in his earlier book, he now leads us toward the future in The Ocean of Life. It's a book so fine, I wish I'd written it! - Carl Safina, author of Song For The Blue Ocean and The View From Lazy Point 

An engrossing survey of the relationship between man and the sea for readers living through the greatest environmental changes in 65 million years ... Roberts's meditation will have readers gasping aloud with wonder, even as the sobering truth of humans' profound interdependence with the sea provokes concern - Starred Review Publisher's Weekly

Callum Roberts is professor of marine conservation at the University of York. For the last 10 years he has campaigned for stronger protection for the sea at national and international levels, including advising the United Nations, European Commission and the European Parliament. He was on the WWF-US National Council for six years and currently serves as a Council Member of Fauna and Flora International, a Board Member of Seaweb and a WWF-UK Ambassador. Callum's first book The Unnatural History of the Sea won the Rachel Carson Environment Book Prize and was named by The Washington Post as one of the Best 10 Books of the Year.

General Fields

  • : 9781846143946
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Allen Lane
  • : May 2012
  • : 240mm X 162mm X 37mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : June 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Callum Roberts
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : 551.46
  • : 400