Re-envisioning the Anthropocene Ocean

The world is at a critical moment, when humans must grapple with thinking about the planet’s oceans from ecological, physical, social, and legal perspectives. Warming ocean temperatures, changing currents, cultural displacement, Indigenous resilience, melting polar ice, habitat loss, are but a few of the global issues reflected in the planetary ocean as a front line in the unfolding drama of climate change. Re-envisioning the Anthropocene Ocean brings together leading scientists, lawyers, humanists, and Indigenous voices to tell of the ocean’s precarious position in the twenty-first century. The contributors affirm that the planetary ocean is crucial to our well-being and overdue for a positive change in public action to enhance the world’s resilience to climate change, ocean acidification, and other stressors. These essays engage that important work of positively re-imagining the ocean in the Anthropocene.

This volume brings diverse perspectives to the planet’s ocean future. New essays are contextualized with narratives woven by earlier ocean writers, showing readers how past perceptions of the ocean have led us to where we are today in terms of both problems and potential new visions. In this one volume, readers experience both the history of humanity’s multi- and interdisciplinary interactions with the ocean, find new perspectives on that history, and discover ideas for looking forward.

Robin Kundis Craig is the Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Her research areas include climate change adaptation and ocean and coastal law. She has authored, coauthored, or edited twelve books, including The End of Sustainability: Resilience and the Future of Environmental Governance in the Anthropocene and Comparative Ocean Governance: Place-Based Protections in an Era of Climate Change.

Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy is director of the environmental humanities graduate program at the University of Utah and professor in the Honors College. He is the author of three books focusing on environmental literature: Contact: Mountain Climbing and Environmental Thinking; Green Modernism: Nature and the English Novel; and Conrad and Nature.

Contributions by Shaul Bassi, Abigail Benesh, Brenda Bowen, Nathaniel Broadhurst, Taylor Cunningham, Kathryn K. Davies, Christopher Finlayson, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Steve Mentz, Thomas Swensen, and Tierney Thys.

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction: Why Re- envision the Anthropocene Ocean? By Robin Kundis Craig and Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy
Part I. Re- envisioning the Ocean as Connection
Editors’ Introduction to Part I
2. Literary Oceans: Ship, Crew, Climate by Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy
3. Creating Ocean: Planetary Immersion and Premodern Globalization by Steve Mentz
4. Minds Tossing on the Ocean: Venice, the Sea, and the Crisis of Imagination by Shaul Bassi
5. Mobilizing Vessels and Voices: “A Climate Movement in the Pacific, for the Pacific, and with the Pacific” by Taylor Cunningham
Part II. Re- envisioning Ocean Protection
Editors’ Introduction to Part II
6. Humanity’s Changing Relationship with the Ocean by Jeremy B. C. Jackson
7. A Reservation of Water by Thomas Michael Swensen
8. Re-envisioning the Value of Marine Spaces in Law: Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross by Robin Kundis Craig
9. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Reforming the National Ocean Policy for the Twenty- First Century by Nathaniel E. Broadhurst
10. Rights of Nature: The Answer to Our Oceanic Issues? by Abigail Benesh
Part III. Re- envisioning Ocean Action
Editors’ Introduction to Part III
11. Plastic in the Pacific: How to Address an Environmental Catastrophe by Christopher Finlayson
12. Recrafting Narratives to Disrupt the Oceanic Plastic Plague by Brenda B. Bowen
13. Adaptive and Interactive Futures: Developing “Serious Games” for Coastal Community Engagement and Decision-Making by Kathryn K. Davies, Benjamin A. Davies, Paula Blackett, Paula Holland, and Nicholas Cradock- Henry
14. The Human Face of the Ocean: Creative Collaboration for Conservation Tierney Thys
15. Conclusion: Ocean Wildlife Photography as a Metaphor for the Anthropocene Ocean by Robin Kundis Craig
Appendices: Inspiring Ocean Voices
Editors’ Introduction
Appendix A: A Deeper Historical Perspective
1. Excerpt from The Free Sea, by Hugo Grotius
2. “They that Occupy Their Business on Great Waters,” excerpt from Atlantic, by Simon Winchester
3. “From Davy Jones’ Locker to the Foot Locker: The Case of the Floating Nikes,” excerpt from The Social Construction of the Ocean, by Philip E. Steinberg
Appendix B: A Broader Global Perspective
1. “Our Sea of Islands,” by Epeli Hau‘ofa
2. “Just Where Does One Get a License to Kill Indians?,” excerpt from The Sea Is My Country, by Joshua L. Reid
3. “Praise Song for Oceania,” by Craig Santos Perez
4. Excerpt from “Rehabilitation: A Proposal for a Climate Compensation Mechanism for Small Island States,” by Maxine Burkett
Appendix C: A Snapshot of the Last Century of Scientific Calls to Arms
1. “The Encircling Sea,” excerpt from The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson
2. “Summary for Policymakers,” excerpt from Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
About the Contributors

Praise and Reviews:

“The book makes a unique contribution in bringing together thinkers across a wide range of disciplines, from oceanography to law to literary criticism. There are a number of new voices contributing insights into ocean management, ocean protection, and ocean narrative.”
—Anastasia M. Telesetsky, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
“This collection is unique and innovative in coordinating the knowledge of scholars from the sciences and the humanities, as well as notably in highlighting the importance of a legal perspective. The writing is engaging and replete with pithy citations along with memorable, helpful details. Re-envisioning the Anthropocene Ocean is at once enjoyable, sobering, and thought-provoking.”
—Margaret Cohen, Stanford University