Our Blue Machine is changing, but we are not helpless

Quoting the final chapter of Helen Czerski’s Blue Machine:

While doing the research for almost every story in this book, I found that the latest scientific research papers on each topic started by discussing how those systems are changing. The giant ocean engine will keep turning, but its delicate equilibrium and the ways life is woven through it are not fixed. It must turn, but it doesn’t have to turn like this in every detail. And yet this is a system of huge richness, and physical oceanography and evolution would take a long time to replace that bounty if we lost it. We don’t understand everything about the global ocean, but we certainly do understand enough to know how valuable it is and the most obvious ways in which to protect it. The primary reason for setting out the damage we have inflicted on the blue machine is not to shock. It’s to lift us out of helplessness. As we acquire knowledge, we also acquire the grounds for optimism.

There’s so much to love about the book, as there is so much to love about the earth’s Blue Machine. The bulk of the book comprises stories that explain how the ocean works – from the physics and chemistry of seawater through to oceanic messengers, passengers, and voyagers. One quote from the book doesn’t do it justice – just go read it yourself.


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