By Cynthia Barnett
W.W. Norton & Company 417 p., 2021
Barnett believes we are again poised at the edge on an ecological disaster. Research shows that in the last 50 years, the ocean has absorbed 90 percent of the excessive heat in the atmosphere, which is killing mollusks, or causing them to produce thinner shells, or migrate to cooler waters to survive, but they’re moving at a snail’s pace. As more and more succumb to the heat-related ocean acidification, fewer animals mean fewer seashells to store carbon dioxide and an inevitable dead zone in the marine food chain. Barnett’s book details the world-shaping history of the humble mollusk and the fascinating people who studied them. This book will be of interest to anyone who seeks to understand climate change and the critical role the oceans play in regulating our weather.
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