Also in this issue is a Q&A with author Mark Kurlansky, whose 1997 international bestseller Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World is a seminal work of non-fiction about overfishing.
I spoke to him about his new book, The World Without Fish: How Kids Can Help Save the Oceans, which explains the current crisis in the oceans in easy-to-digest language and graphics, and outlines how kids can help.
What inspired you to write The World Without Fish?
MK: Iâ€™ve been writing about fish for many years. I talk to kids about it a lot and I noticed a few things. They are tremendously interested, partly because kids just really like fish. Weâ€™re raising a generation with a great sense of environmental urgency; they want to know about these things. Itâ€™s a very complicated thing, much more complicated than itâ€™s often presented. Consequently, kids are perplexed about whatâ€™s going on. So I thought I would explain it.
Has your daughter read the book? Is she interested in ocean issues?
MK: Yes, she has. Itâ€™s a very ambitious book for kids, and I wanted to know about anything she found difficult or hard to understand. Sheâ€™s really into it. Sheâ€™s my fishing buddy. We spend our summers in Gloucester fishing for striper.
What do you hope kids (and adults) take from your book?
Iâ€™d like them to appreciate the complexity of the issue to understand that itâ€™s not that people arenâ€™t doing anything -- a lotâ€™s being done, but theyâ€™re still struggling to figure out what works. I wouldnâ€™t mind them coming away with a little respect for fishermen and their struggles with the issue. This all can be turned around and if it isnâ€™t, it will be a huge disaster.
This is the eleventh in a series of posts about this yearâ€™s Ocean Hero finalists.
Todayâ€™s featured junior ocean hero finalist is 12-year-old Dylan Vecchione, who was nominated for his commitment to coral reef conservation.
This is the tenth in a series of posts about this yearâ€™s Ocean Hero finalists.
Todayâ€™s featured junior Ocean Hero finalist is shy eight-year-old Sophi Bromenshenkel, who has been working from her hometown of Richfield, Minnesota to protect sharks.
Sophiâ€™s interest in the oceans started on a fishing trip with her uncle in the Florida Keys four years ago. Last year, when she saw a pregnant bull shark left for dead on a beach near her uncleâ€™s home, she decided she had to take action.
By selling lemonade and hot chocolate, shark cookies and wristbands, and through email campaigns and local fliers, Sophi has raised more than $3,500 for sharks. She has partnered with the University of Miamiâ€™s RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, where her funds pay for satellite tags on sharks.
This is the ninth in a series of posts about this yearâ€™s Ocean Hero finalists.
Todayâ€™s featured junior ocean hero finalist is eight-year-old Wyatt Workman, who may be familiar to some of you since we have written about his activism and artwork before.
But in case you donâ€™t know Wyatt, he is quite a special young ocean lover. A talented artist, he has dedicated himself to getting the word out about the plastic pollution fouling our oceans. Through his artistic endeavors, including a book, clay figures, and a claymation movie, â€śSave the Sea from the Trash Monster!â€ť, Wyatt has raised nearly $4,000 for Oceana.
In late 2010, more than 300 people attended Wyattâ€™s art show, where he sold out of all 70 art pieces he made. He now has a waiting list for his art and he gets about 10-20 people a day signing his website pledge to make changes in their lives to keep trash - particularly plastic - out of the ocean.
He was also recently honored by the Pacific Aquarium in Long Beach, CA as their Young Hero of the Year, his book has been named "Book of the Month" by A&I Books in Los Angeles, and he has been featured in Time Magazine for Kids.
Whew! Impressive for an eight-year-old, huh?
Have you voted yet? Check out the other finalists, cast your vote and spread the word! And stay tuned for more spotlighted finalists in the coming days!
Itâ€™s the most wonderful time of the year - time to vote for this yearâ€™s Ocean Heroes! The contest is back for the third year and the nominees are more inspiring than ever.
After carefully reviewing more than 500 excellent nominations (thanks to all the nominators!), our expert panel selected a group of six adult finalists and six junior finalists from around the country.
Weâ€™re really excited about this yearâ€™s crop of finalists, which include an inner-city scuba teacher, a deep-sea engineer, a young artist, plus shark, sea turtle and anti-oil drilling activists, and thatâ€™s just a start -- you wonâ€™t be disappointed by their stories.
The winners will be announced on June 8th, World Oceans Day, and will receive a prize package that includes great gifts from our corporate sponsors: a gift card from Nautica, a pair of Revo polarized sunglasses and a copy of For Cod & Country, the new guide to sustainable seafood from acclaimed Washington D.C. chef Barton Seaver.
You can vote for your favorite heroes in both the adult and junior categories until May 31. After voting, please help us spread the word by sharing on Facebook and Twitter!
Well folks, our favorite author and ocean advocate Ted Danson is everywhere these days. Today, a video for you in which Ted tries to teach some kids about the problems plaguing the oceans, with soporific effects. Itâ€™s entertaining, check it out:
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Pick up a copy of Tedâ€™s fantastic new book, â€śOceana:Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them,â€ť if you havenâ€™t already! (Itâ€™s for fish nerds and non-fish nerds alike; we promise itâ€™ll keep you awake.)
As you know, we are now accepting nominations for our third annual Ocean Heroes Contest. Throughout the nomination period, which ends April 27th, Iâ€™ll be featuring a few of the past winners and finalists to get you inspired. First up, the 2010 Junior Ocean Heroes: the Shark Finatics.
To jog your memory, the Shark Finatics are a group of students at Green Chimneys School in Brewster, New York who have raised more than $2,000 for shark research and conservation organizations around the world - and an immeasurable amount of awareness about shark finning.
The Finaticsâ€™ teacher Robin Culler recently wrote to us with an enthusiastic update about her students. They were recently featured in the Southeast Brewster Patch, and Culler says the â€śthe kids were awesome and you couldn't get a word in edgewise! They were so thrilled to teach yet one more person about sharks.â€ť
Update on 1/28/11 -- here's the clip of Wyatt!:
Remember 7-year-old artist and ocean conservationist Wyatt Workman? We spotlighted him back in November when he held an art show that raised $2,400 for Oceana.
Well, he didnâ€™t stop there. His total has now climbed to nearly $3,500 (!), and heâ€™s starting to get noticed in a big way. Today heâ€™ll be appearing on the Nate Berkus Show to talk about his artwork, book, and claymation movie. You can catch the show today at 2 pm PST (5PM EST) on NBC, Wyattâ€™s segment will probably be at the end.
You can learn more about Wyatt and check out his artwork on his website. Oceana and the oceans thank you, Wyatt!
We are inspired and impressed by the efforts of several young sea turtle conservationists, and I just had to share their stories with you:
When she was just 6 years old on a trip to Bali, Indonesia with her parents, Hannah Bywater visited a sea turtle sanctuary and was inspired to contribute to the cause. Now, at age 10, Hannah has already raised $7,000 for sea turtle preservation. Some of that money has funded the construction of an artificial reef â€“ â€śHannahâ€™s Reefâ€ť â€“ off the coast of Pemuturan, Bali, Indonesia. â€śThis artificial reef will provide food and shelter for the very turtles Iâ€™ve been able to release from the sea turtle sanctuary,â€ť Hannah noted.
Hannah has recently expanded her conservation efforts to include the orangutans of Sumatra, Indonesia, and itâ€™s unlikely that sheâ€™ll stop there â€“ â€śMy goal is to help save all the animals that could become extinct,â€ť she asserted. Thereâ€™s no doubt that any endangered species would be lucky to have Hannah on their team.
And now for a sweet story of some young ocean activists in Pennsylvania that we canâ€™t resist sharing:
Earlier this year, the students of Germantown Friends Schoolâ€™s Environmental Action Club had an idea -- they wanted to start a lemonade stand to raise money to fix a machine in the school's greenhouse. Then the gulf oil spill happened, and the greenhouse didnâ€™t seem quite so urgent anymore.
The students decided to give their lemonade funds to organizations helping out with the spill -- including Oceana. They also encouraged members of the community to send letters to Obama and PA congresspeople expressing their opposition to offshore drilling.
Hereâ€™s the kicker: Our CEO, Andy Sharpless, was once himself a student at Germantown Friends School. Needless to say, he was thankful and proud of his early alma mater when he heard the news.
Thanks, Germantown Friends!