A powerful polemic calling for action to save our blue planet
When it comes to saving the planet, forget green – the colour we should be rallying around is blue. As every self-respecting diver knows, the oceans cover seven-tenths of the planet’s surface. Chris Armstrong, in this forceful manifesto, throws in a few more basic facts: phytoplankton generate 70 per cent of the world’s oxygen; the oceans store 50 times more carbon than our atmosphere and, most crucially, only seven per cent of our seas are in any way protected and less than three per cent adequately.
Armstrong takes us through the depressing history of our ever-confident plundering of the sea’s bounty. Today, for example, only one blue whale exists for every hundred that lived before industrial whaling.
He is far from despondent, though, and argues that the oceans have a remarkable ability to bounce back far more quickly than terrestrial environments. However, our seas need determined and urgent action. He calls for 80 per cent of our oceans to be placed under marine protection, and for the setting up of a global body with teeth to police our blue planet. Simply put, without healthy oceans, there will be no other life left on earth to protect.
A Blue New Deal by Chris Armstrong, Yale University Press, £20
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