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Sea Sick

Climate change and the oceans

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Having reported on issues related to climate change for many years, I thought I understood the gravity of the situation, the scale of the challenges we face and the urgency of avoiding the cataclysmic tipping point of two degrees Celsius. But when a review copy of Alanna Mitchell’s new book, Sea Sick, showed up on my desk, I discovered that all these years I’ve only been looking at a small slice of the problem.

Mitchell, the former environmental reporter for the Globe and Mail, spent three years researching the book, interviewing and accompanying scientists studying the seas (the marine biologists at Dalhousie University are the subject of an entire chapter). Through their work, Mitchell makes a compelling case that the terrestrial effects of climate change, as bad as they are, are merely an aside to the real story---increased greenhouse gas emissions are killing the seas.

Even more frightening, climate change may be fundamentally altering the basic chemistry of the oceans, such that their oxygen-making capability ---which accounts for about half the atmospheric oxygen that humans and other land creatures breath---is threatened. We are quite literally risking extinction of most life on Earth.

Mitchell is speaking tonight, Thursday, at 7pm in Alumni Hall at King’s College.

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