By David Hevarg

Inner Ocean Publishing

David Helvarg left the surf ghetto of Ocean Beach, San Diego over 20 years ago to pursue a career as a freelance journalist. During that time he’s covered civil wars in Central America, unrest in Ireland, slaughter in Bosnia, and Operation Desert Storm. However, the war correspondent-turned-environmental journalist readily admits that his latest assignment is a pretty hairy one.

Helvarg believes we need to look no further than current events to be spurred into action. Instability in the Middle East, rising oil prices, the toxic tide brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, the increasing intensity of storms like Hurricane Katrina – all of them should be seen as wake-up calls.

Alarmingly Helvarg believes that, “the scientists are now more concerned than the general public,” says Hevarg.

Three years ago Helvarg formed the Blue Frontier Campaign, a nonprofi t organization intended to raise awareness among the public and policy-makers about the poor shape our oceans are in. And since every group needs a manifesto, his book, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, might be considered a useful handbook for citizens and politicians alike.

The book offers plenty of positive steps that ordinary people can take in order to restore the balance between man and sea. Each chapter focuses on the daily choices we make that affect the ocean’s health, from supporting sustainable fi sheries to limiting the use of pesticides in your garden.

Some simple steps: adapted from 50 Ways:

Fuel the stoke. Immerse yourself in ocean media. Read Herman Melville, watch Riding Giants. Be media savvy – it increases ocean awareness.

Preserve the stoke. Learn your local maritime history. Old guys rule for a reason, they know the ocean from a lifetime of water experience.

Get wet. Become part of an ocean expedition research project. Nonprofi t groups such as Earthwatch match volunteers (for a fee) with fi eld scientists.

There’s plenty more in this wide-ranging, positive look at one of the most serious problems facing the planet in our time. – Enrique Gili