Ted Danson, the actor who played bar-tender and former athlete, Sam Malone in 'Cheers', is now performing another role, one that he is just as passionate about and which has inspired him to write a book - 'Oceana', compiling 25 years of environmental activism into its pages.
by Jeni Bone
The book is far from a Hollywood memoir. Instead, Danson wants it positioned more like Al Gore’s 'An Inconvenient Truth', highlighting the plight of the oceans.
He might seem like an unlikely environmental activist, but Danson has been advocating on behalf of oceans for 25 years. He has just released his first book, titled 'Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do To Save Them'. The tome, co-written with Michael D’Orso, is a reflection of his experiences and what he’s learned in the past quarter century.
It covers the perils of offshore drilling, pollution, ocean acidification and overfishing reaching crisis levels at both the top and the bottom of the food chain.
'Oceana' is composed of a thorough and scientifically grounded narrative of how and why our oceans are endangered. It is filled with short asides, beautiful photographs and explanatory charts.
The book points out the quandary of abundance — though swordfish and tuna are readily available to us in stores, their ocean populations have declined 90% since 1950, which was reported by marine biologists in 2003. That small-scale fisheries, which for the most part fish sustainably, employ 25 times more people than industrial fisheries, which use what Danson characterizes as massively destructive practices, often with the help of national subsidies. And that the acidity of the world's oceans has risen almost 30% since the Industrial Revolution, making it harder for small sea creatures to form shells and causing desert-like die-offs of coral.
'There's a lot going on underneath the water that we have no idea about,' Danson says. 'It's very serious, and we're at a real turning point.'
The real message is that we have the power to do something to save our seas. 'We can change this. That's part of what the book talks about,' says Danson, on the promotional circuit to support the book’s launch.
'Ocean conservation is rewarding because you absolutely can make a difference... the oceans are incredibly resilient.'
Each chapter and topic is followed by a practical way to get involved and, more importantly, a sense of hope.
'I believe that if you come at an issue or a problem with a heavy heart, or fear, you either don't do anything because it overwhelms you or you end up doing something that might not be effective.
'By the way, I drive cars, I burn oil, I eat fish I shouldn't be eating,' he continues. 'We’re all in this together. I'm not giving you a lecture on you doing something wrong — hopefully I'm exposing what's happening to our oceans in a way of hey, let's all do something about this, if you choose to, we need your help. The oceans need your help.'
The book's suggestions include signing online petitions, raising awareness and purchasing the right fish at the supermarket and seafood outlet.
'My wife, Mary said the most important thing you can tell people is go to the beach. Go look at a sunset over the water, go have a great fish dinner someplace. And remember how much you love the ocean, how much joy it brings to your life.'
'Oceana' is also the name of an international non-profit organization, which boasts Danson on its board of directors. Proceeds of the book’s sales will go to the Foundation.
More at http://na.oceana.org/en/blog/2011/03/ted-danson-on-his-new-book-oceana
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4:04 AM Tue 26 Apr 2011 GMT
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