Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean

Stung! is the story of what we've done to the oceans, and what that means to us. It's the story of what to expect and why. Not hundreds of years from now, not in some faraway place, but now and tomorrow, in five years or ten, where you are and where I am. Where our kids will only read about because the coral reefs and the Antarctic penguins and the Sushi Train and pristine beaches will only be shadows of their former selves.

Stung! came about through my own journey. As a marine biologist, an ecologist, and a conservationist, I thought I "got it"... but what's going on with our oceans is beyond what just about any of us could have imagined. It is more complex, and interwoven, and bigger than any one stressor, or one place, or one species.

We hear about overfishing and it seems like something that happens in faraway places without sustainable fisheries practices or red lists. But it's us too, you and me, willing to pay top dollar for the fish caught by huge bottom trawls, and willing to overlook the bycatch issues.

We hear about climate change, and it's all so confusing and even the experts can't agree, so we push it off to one side and it gets lost in the noise. But whether we are the cause or not, warming climate is not in our best interest, and denying it and ignoring it and hoping it goes away are poor adaptation strategies, and each day with our head in the sand is one more day farther away from finding solutions.

We hear about pollution and we think it doesn't apply to us, because we wouldn't dream of throwing a Coke bottle out the window or dumping a car-load of debris at the beach. But it is us, it is the incredible amount of plastic we dispose of that never actually breaks down and becomes ingested by some unfortunate animal that had no idea.

Stung! isn't about feeling guilty about those things - we are way past where that can make a difference - Stung! is a pathway to understanding where we are going, how we are getting there, and why. Stung! is an explanation of the connection between the past and the future, and why that connection matters to all of us, rich or poor, young or old, Northern Hemisphere or Southern.

Stung! is not a romance. It is not Sci Fi. It is a raw and honest look at the effects of our actions, and who wins and who loses. It is well supported by the best cutting edge science from the best researchers in the world. The references are all there, so anyone can judge it for themselves and take their own journey. It's all there. The one thing missing, however, is the "everything is gonna be okay" ending. It's up to us how fast we are willing to travel the trajectory that we have put ourselves onto. It's up to us. You and me.


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