Tag Archives: Book reviews

Moby-Duck

canards jaunes
Photo source: ©© EJP Photo


Moby-Duck

A Book by Donovan Hohn. Viking, 2011.

Excerpts;

On Jan. 10, 1992, a container ship traveling south of the Aleutians, in the region once quaintly known as the Graveyard of the Pacific, en route from Hong Kong to Tacoma, Wash., took a steep roll and lost part of its cargo.

The incident had near-mythical repercussions. Among the lost merchandise were 7,200 packs of bathtub toys. Each four-piece set included a blue turtle, a green frog, a red beaver and a yellow duck.

This came to be erroneously understood as the story of 29,000 rubber duckies set adrift and washing up all over the globe…

Read Full Review, The New York Times

Moby-Duck, is “The true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea and of the beachcombers, oceanographers, environmentalists, and fools, including the author, who went in search of them.”

A book “Entertaining as well as philosophic… A metaphysical quest, an encyclopedic rummage through the mysteries of the ocean and the history of plastics, and a close-up look at what we are doing to our planet…”

Moby-Duck: The Book

Lost at sea: On the trail of Moby-Duck, Independent UK
The fate of a shipment of bath toys missing since 1992 has led to greater knowledge of the world’s oceans.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Friendly Flooties, Wikipedia

Plastic Ocean : By Captain Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips

child and sea
Child facing the ocean. Photo source: ©© jurvetson


Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans

A Book by Captain Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips

Excerpts; By Algalita Marine Research Foundation

“A prominent seafaring environmentalist and researcher shares his maritime encounters with the shocking amount of plastic debris in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, now commonly referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Follow Captain Charles Moore research into this startling discovery, his hard-won scientific credibility, and his indomitable, game-changing efforts to get the world to pay attention to a looming plastic peril. PLASTIC OCEAN inspires a fundamental rethinking of the plastic age and a growing global health crisis…”

PLASTIC OCEAN: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans, by Capt. Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips, published by Avery;

Release Date: October 27, 2011.

About the author:

Captain Charles Moore is one of the main drivers of our awareness of plastic pollution; PLASTIC OCEAN reminds readers that the cleanliness of our water is of utmost importance to our survival, the survival of other species both animal and plant on this planet, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of what happens when you throw away that plastic bag or bottle and where it ultimately ends up.” ( Plastic Ocean: The Book)

Read Original Article, Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Plastic Ocean: The Book

Seashells of Georgia and the Carolinas

A Book by Blair and Dawn Witherington



Published by Pineapple Press Publishing

Seashells of Georgia and the Carolinas is a beachcomber’s guide to the seashells and living mollusks of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

This book displays the diversity of seashells that can be found along the 600 miles of Atlantic beaches in Georgia and North and South Carolina. They are pictured in the way they come to us on beaches. Knowing the names, stories, and varied appearances of seashells can sharpen a beachcomber’s eyes to their beauty and rarity. This guide includes species common to the southeastern United States.

Descriptive accounts, maps, and color photos describe 100 species of mollusk shells as beachcombers are likely to find them.

Includes glimpses of each seashell’s former life and secrets for finding seashell treasures that many beach visitors miss.

About the authors:

Blair and Dawn Witherington are professional naturalists.
Blair is a research scientist with the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. He has a B.A. and Masters degree in biology from the University of Central Florida and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Florida. He has contributed numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sea turtle biology and conservation. His books include an edited volume on the loggerhead sea turtle and a popular book on sea turtles.

Dawn is a graphic design artist and scientific illustrator trained at the Art Institutes of Colorado and Ft. Lauderdale. Her art and design are prominent in natural history books, posters, exhibits, and a line of sea-themed greeting cards. Together, Blair and Dawn have merged their art, writing, photography, and design in a number of projects.

Living Beaches Of Georgia And The Carolinas, By Blair and Dawn Witherington

Shorelines, Sandy or Otherwise, That May Not Last

The World's Beaches, book
If sea levels rise just a few feet, New South Wales would lose this sliver of beach. © Caption and photograph from The World’s Beaches

By Cornelia Dean, The New York Times

If you like a day at the beach, and who does not?, you can find lots of books that will enhance your experience by telling you about the birds, the fish, the plants and even the bugs you will encounter there.

But what about the beach itself?

What is it made of? (The answer is not always “sand.”) How did it form? How does it change? Can it be preserved? Unless you want to pack your beach bag with a geology text or a manual of coastal engineering, your options for answering these questions are not so good. Four coastal scientists, three from the United States and one from Northern Ireland, have come to the aid of the beach curious with “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” a comprehensive, readable guide to the physical features of many kinds of beaches and some of the threats they face.

A beach, simply, is the end product of sediment (sand or gravel or even pebbles or cobbles), wave energy to move it around and a place where it can accumulate. But beaches, as one might expect, are far from simple. In a section called “How to Read a Beach,” we learn why sand, for example, accumulates in particular ways, how ripple action turns some flat stretches of sand into corrugations, the way swash and backwash shape the beach slope, how even a few strands of sea oats can trap enough sand to start building a dune and why foam piles up at the high water line.

The explanations are accompanied by photographs — too small, but beautiful — and clear graphical illustrations. Though the authors occasionally lapse into jargon (their barnacles cling to “substrate” until the animals die and their six-plate shells “become disarticulated”), on the whole, their writing is plain and clear. For the times when it is not, the book comes with a helpful glossary.

Unfortunately, the future holds many threats to the world’s beaches, the worst from human activity, intentional and accidental. People “groom” beaches with rakes or even tractors, destroying the homes and food supplies of tiny crabs, sea birds and other animals that rely on beach habitat. Pollution — everything from giant oil spills to shorefront septic tanks — mars many beaches. But those problems are minor compared with sea level rise, induced by global warming, and the efforts people make to fight its effects.

If experts are correct and seas rise by two or even three feet by the end of the century, they write, cities like Miami, New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Lagos, Tel Aviv and places like the Gold Coast on Australia’s eastern coast will suffer significant, chronic flooding. Island nations already feeling the effects of rising water may literally disappear.

Around the world people eager to protect valuable hotels, condos and other infrastructure respond to the threat of rising seas by building concrete walls or rock revetments. When rising water reaches this armor, as it inevitably does, the beach is drowned.

The World's Beaches, Orrin Pilkey
A red sandstone cliff in southern Portugal (with a resort on top) would be easily erodible and prone to collapse if sea levels were to rise. © Caption and photograph from The World’s Beaches

Two of the authors’ many examples are Waikiki, Hawaii, where skyscraper hotels march right up to the shoreline (and where one hotel, its beach lost to armor, built what is, in effect, a giant, elevated sandbox for its guests), and Cannes, France, where the beach is so narrow that sun-worshippers pile up practically on top of one another other in arrays of rented chairs.

Pumping sand onto eroding beaches can also preserve beachfront buildings from destruction but, as the authors note, it comes at huge cost — environmental and financial.

Beaches that are unfettered by human infrastructure do not disappear when sea level rises. They simply move inland. When sand on a barrier island is washed into the lagoon behind it, or when the base of a beachfront cliff erodes and the bluff slumps down to the water’s edge, the beach, is, in effect, moving to higher ground inland.

But, the authors conclude, unless society chooses beaches over buildings the result will be a world in which parks like the National Seashores retain natural beaches, but beach resorts elsewhere are “heavily walled and beachless.” Rising seas will make sand-pumping operations “untenable,” they predict, and tourists will amuse themselves by “promenading on top of a seawall”, already the principal activity in too many coastal resorts.

If they are right, by then the beaches this book describes will be a nostalgic memory.

Original Article, The new York Times

The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide To The Science Of The Shoreline
A Book by Orrin H. Pilkey, William J. Neal, James Andrew Graham Cooper And Joseph T. Kelley.

” Beaches are the most dynamic features on Earth, constantly changing shape and providing vital ecological functions and a home to environments of amazing biodiversity. Understanding the importance of the beach’s role vis-a-vis the land, the nearshore and the ocean and its biodiversity is crucial to its protection and preservation.”
– Santa Aguila Foundation

“Take this book to the beach; it will open up a whole new world…”

The Rising Sea

A Book by Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young



Published by Island Press

On Shishmaref Island in Alaska, homes are being washed into the sea. In the South Pacific, small island nations face annihilation by encroaching waters. In coastal Louisiana, an area the size of a football field disappears every day. For these communities, sea level rise isn’t a distant, abstract fear: it’s happening now and it’s threatening their way of life.

In The Rising Sea, Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young warn that many other coastal areas may be close behind. Prominent scientists predict that the oceans may rise by as much as seven feet in the next hundred years. That means coastal cities will be forced to construct dikes and seawalls or to move buildings, roads, pipelines, and railroads to avert inundation and destruction.

The question is no longer whether climate change is causing the oceans to swell, but by how much and how quickly. Pilkey and Young deftly guide readers through the science, explaining the facts and debunking the claims of industry-sponsored “skeptics.” They also explore the consequences for fish, wildlife—and people.

While rising seas are now inevitable, we are far from helpless. By making hard choices—including uprooting citizens, changing where and how we build, and developing a coordinated national response—we can save property, and ultimately lives. With unassailable research and practical insights, The Rising Sea is a critical first step in understanding the threat and keeping our heads above water.

About The Authors

Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He authored and edited many books, including, most recently, “Global Climate Change: A Primer” and “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide To The Science Of The Shoreline”

Rob Young is the director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines and professor of geosciences at Western Carolina University.

The World’s Beaches : A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline

A book by Orrin H. Pilkey, William J. Neal, James Andrew Graham Cooper and Joseph T. Kelley


Published by University Of California Press

” Beaches are the most dynamic features on Earth, constantly changing shape and providing vital ecological functions and a home to environments of amazing biodiversity. Understanding the importance of the beach’s role vis-a-vis the land, the nearshore and the ocean and its biodiversity is crucial to its protection and preservation.”
—Santa Aguila Foundation

” We, the authors of this book, often think we are the luckiest people in the world. We have walked on and looked at beaches all over the world, on all seven continents. With our feets and eyes we study one of the world’s most dynamic natural environments. Best of all, the work is part of our job: we study the present as geologists in order to understand the past, and as educators to pass on our global experience to students”
– Orrin H. Pilkey, William J. Neal, James Andrew Graham Cooper and Joseph T. Kelley.

Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, based at Western Carolina University.

William J. Neal , is Professor Emeritus of Geology, Department of Geology, at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI.

James Andrew Graham Cooper, PhD, is Professor of Coastal Studies, at the University of Ulster.

Joseph T. Kelley is Professor of Geology and Oceanography, at Lehigh University.

Pre-order available now on Amazon.com


REVIEWS


“Take this book to the beach; it will open up a whole new world…
Illustrated throughout with color photographs, maps, and graphics,”The World’s Beaches” explores one of the planet’s most dynamic environments, from tourist beaches to Arctic beaches strewn with ice chunks to steaming hot tropical shores…This fascinating, comprehensive guide also considers the future of beaches, and explains how extensively people have affected them, from coastal engineering to pollution, oil spills, and rising sea levels.” Guardian, Culture, Book Review.


“The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” By Orrin H. Pilkey, William J. Neal, James Andrew Graham Cooper and Joseph T. Kelley.
Best Sellers: Geology, March 1, 2012.
Library Journals list of Best Sellers in Geology, Book Review.


“The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” a comprehensive, readable guide to the physical features of many kinds of beaches and some of the threats they face.” The New York Times


The World’s Beaches, A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline, by Orrin H. Pilkey, William J. Neal, Joseph T. Kelley, and J. Andrew G. Cooper.
Illustrated throughout with color photographs, maps, and graphics, The World’s Beaches tells how beaches work, explains why they vary so much, and shows how dramatic changes can occur on them in a matter of hours – from tourist beaches to Arctic beaches strewn with ice chunks to steaming hot tropical shores. This fascinating, comprehensive guide also considers the future of beaches, and explains how extensively people have affected them. Patagonia


The authors of “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” explain what kinds of changes late-season beachgoers can expect in the wake of Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene. Metro Focus


Made possible by the Santa Aguila Foundation (a non-profit dedicated to coastline preservation around the world), “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” has wide appeal. The aim is not to dazzle, but to inform, and in this way encourage preservation efforts worldwide. Written in an engaging style, the text covers classifications of beaches; the action of waves, currents, and tides; and how to “read” a beach through a close look at surfaces, wind action, beach creatures, and shells. Review, Reference & Research Book News / SCITECH Book News, October Issue


The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” EARTH Magazine, December 1, 2011, Kathryn Hansen, Included in a holiday roundup of the editors’ favorite books from 2011..Earth Magazine


When will we ever learn the lessons of hurricanes? A Special to CNN.
“Orrin Pilkey is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Earth Science at Duke University. His latest co-authored books are “Global Climate Change: A Primer” (Duke) and “The World’s Beaches” (University of California Press).” CNN


The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline (2011),” written by Orrin Pilkey and three fellow scientists from around the world — William J. Neal, James Andrew Graham Cooper and Joseph T. Kelley — is a comprehensive but relatable guide to the science of the shoreline, teaching readers precisely how beaches work and how to read the “character” of any given shoreline…
Dr. Pilkey, professor emeritus of Geology and of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University, is unusual in his willingness to advocate for changes in policies that affect the environment. “Scientists, in my view, have a responsibility to spread the word,” he told Kirkus. While the book may appear academic to the everyday reader, Pilkey warns that beaches remain one of the best indicators of things to come with global warming.
“Part of the purpose of The World’s Beaches is to get people to love and appreciate beaches on a different level. They are the most dynamic geomorphic feature on the surface of the Earth.”— Clayton Moore, The Kirkus Review


Pre-order available now on Amazon.com

Global Climate Change: A Primer

A Book by Orrin H. Pilkey and Keith C. Pilkey, Illustrated with batik art by Mary Edna Fraser



Published by Duke University Press

This timely, informative book is exactly what the public needs to understand the ongoing disruption of the earth’s climate. Orrin H. and Keith C. Pilkey present an excellent summary of what we know, and what we don’t know, about the planet’s climate. They also provide a superb overview of a huge campaign underwritten by corporate dollars and intended to confuse the public and manufacture doubt about climate issues.”
Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth.

An internationally recognized expert on the geology of barrier islands, Orrin H. Pilkey is one of the rare academics who engages in public advocacy about science-related issues. He has written dozens of books and articles explaining coastal processes to lay readers, and he is a frequent and outspoken interviewee in the mainstream media. Here, the colorful scientist takes on climate change deniers in an outstanding and much-needed primer on the science of global change and its effects.

After explaining the greenhouse effect, Pilkey, writing with son Keith C. Pilkey, turns to the damage it is causing: sea level rise, ocean acidification, glacier and sea ice melting, changing habitats, desertification, and the threats to animals, humans, coral reefs, marshes, and mangroves. These explanations are accompanied by Mary Edna Fraser’s stunning batiks depicting the large-scale arenas in which climate change plays out.

The Pilkeys directly confront and rebut arguments typically advanced by global change deniers. Particularly valuable are their discussions of “Climategate,” a manufactured scandal that undermined respect for the scientific community, and the denial campaigns by the fossil fuel industry, which they compare to the tactics used by the tobacco companies a generation ago to obfuscate findings on the harm caused by cigarettes.

About The Authors And Illustrator:

Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, based at Western Carolina University.

Pilkey has written and edited many books, including, most recently, (with Rob Young) The Rising Sea and (with Linda Pilkey-Jarvis) Useless Arithmetic, an indictment of mathematical models used to predict environmental change.

He is the author or co-author of many books in the Living with the Shore book series that he co-edited for Duke University Press.

Pilkey is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Francis Shepard Medal for excellence in Marine Geology, the Priestley Award for distinguished contributions to environmental science, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Carolina Coastal Federation, and the Outstanding Public Service Award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Pilkey lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Pilkey’s son, Keith C. Pilkey, is an attorney with a longstanding interest in geoengineering and corporate influence on science policy. He lives in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Orrin and Keith Pilkey
Orrin H. Pilkey and Keith C. Pilkey. ©SAF

Mary Edna Fraser is an artist who highlights environmental concerns in large silk batiks, which are often based on maps, satellite images, and the photographs that she takes while flying her family’s 1946 propeller plane.

Deemed a “pilot with a palette” by Michael Kilian of the Chicago Tribune, Fraser has exhibited widely, including at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Reviewing that show, Hank Burchard of the Washington Post declared that “the batiks amount to visual poetry.”

Fraser and Orrin H. Pilkey are the co-authors of A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

“An internationally recognized expert on the geology of barrier islands, Orrin H. Pilkey is one of the rare academics who engages in public advocacy about science-related issues. After explaining the greenhouse effect, Pilkey, writing with son Keith, turns to the damage it is causing: sea level rise, ocean acidification, glacier and sea ice melting, changing habitats, desertification, and the threats to animals, humans, coral reefs, marshes, and mangroves. These explanations are accompanied by Mary Edna Fraser’s stunning batiks depicting the large-scale arenas in which climate change plays out.The Pilkeys directly confront and rebut arguments typically advanced by global change deniers. Particularly valuable are their discussions of “Climategate,” a manufactured scandal that undermined respect for the scientific community, and the denial campaigns by the fossil fuel industry…”
Book Review, By Alyce at Athomewithbooks.

“Dr. Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of Geology and of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University, is unusual in his willingness to advocate for changes in policies that affect the environment. “Scientists, in my view, have a responsibility to spread the word,” he told Kirkus. “Part of the problem is that we scientists tend to be dullards when it comes to selling our case. Those who work in science tend to be very unsuited for spreading the word—that’s why they’re scientists. But although we should have opinions about policy, scientists should not determine policy per se, but should provide the basis for policy decisions.” Pilkey warns that beaches remain one of the best indicators of things to come with global warming. “I believe that the first truly global crisis will be sea-level rise and the movement of beaches retreating into cities and other places requiring massive changes of one kind or another,” he says. “Understanding how shorelines work will be critical to our response to sea-level rise…” To the audience for Global Climate Change, Pilkey has a message, especially for those who remain burdened by doubt…
Book Review, By Clayton Moore, The Kirkus Review

Lilly and Minot Visit the New Orleans Oil Spill

A children’s book written by William Sargent, Illustrated by Julia Purinton


Strawberry Hill Press Publishing just released Lilly and Minot Visit the New Orleans Oil Spill ,
a children’s book from the Lilly and Minot series, which provide a whimsical look at the environment.

“Lilly and Minot live at a dairy farm in the little town of Ipswich, north of Boston. They became famous when Lilly taught kids how to ride her bull-friend, Minot.

Their unbounded curiosity and desire to help others have led to great adventures around the world, from marching in the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans to learning about Minot’s Indian bovine counterparts.

In this witty and charming book, Lilly and Minot travel to New Orleans to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of New Mexico.”

william sargent LM

William Sargent is a consultant for the NOVA Science Series and has authored more than a dozen books on environmental science and coastal issues.

Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas

living-beaches-carolinas-cover

Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas, a book by Blair and Dawn Witherington

Excerpts from Pineapple Press Publishing

Georgia and the Carolinas beckon curious beachcombers with over 600 miles of wave-swept Atlantic coastline. These beaches offer more than a sandy stroll amidst stunning scenery, they are alive!

As ever-changing ribbons of sand, these beaches foster unique life forms and accept beguiling castaways from a vast marine wilderness. Mysteries abound. What is this odd creature? Why does the beach look this way? How did this strange item get here?

Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas satisfies a beachcomber’s curiosity within a comprehensive yet easily browsed guide covering beach processes, plants, animals, minerals, and manmade objects. The guide is written in a familiar style and is illustrated with hundreds of distribution maps and over a thousand color photos.

The book follows a previous work on Florida’s Living Beaches, A Guide for the Curious Beachcombers

About the authors:
Blair and Dawn Witherington are professional naturalists. Blair is a research scientist with the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. He has a B.A. and Masters degree in biology from the University of Central Florida and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Florida. He has contributed numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sea turtle biology and conservation. His books include an edited volume on the loggerhead sea turtle and a popular book on sea turtles.

Dawn is a graphic design artist and scientific illustrator trained at the Art Institutes of Colorado and Ft. Lauderdale. Her art and design are prominent in natural history books, posters, exhibits, and a line of sea-themed greeting cards. Together, Blair and Dawn have merged their art, writing, photography, and design in a number of projects.

Witherington,-Dawn-and-Blair