In his Ark of the Broken Covenant, Kunich showed that Earth’s species are concentrated in 25 zones of ecological significance known as biodiversity hotspots, and maintained that we’d go a long way toward saving many species from extinction if we’d focus our protective laws and regulations on these zones. In Killing Our Oceans he extends this analysis to the extraordinary pockets of life in the oceans that are similarly threatened.
In his Ark of the Broken Covenant, Kunich showed that Earth’s species are concentrated in 25 zones of ecological significance known as biodiversity hotspots, and that we’d go a long way toward saving many species from extinction if we’d focus our protective laws and regulations on these zones. In Killing Our Oceans he extends this analysis to the extraordinary pockets of life in the oceans that are similarly threatened. From coral reefs to recently discovered hydrothermal vents, the oceans contain vast numbers of endangered species. We are rapidly losing these unique, irreplaceable treasures, due in part to an appalling lack of efficacious safeguards. What’s in it for us if we intervene to halt this mass extinction? Quite possibly the greatest medical, nutritional, and scientific breakthroughs in all of human history, just waiting to be discovered and harnessed—or forever lost along with the dying species that hold the keys to these secrets.
Kunich examines in detail the applicable international laws as well as domestic laws of the nations with key marine resources, and demonstrates the abject failure of these measures to prevent or halt a mass extinction in our oceans. He concludes with a set of legal proposals that could start us down the road to preserving the marine hotspots and, with them, most of Earth’s biodiversity. Legal solutions are not the only answer, but they are a beginning.
Reviews"It's long been known humankind is destroying the oceans, and plenty of titles have surveyed the problem: what makes Killing Our Oceans: Dealing With the Mass Extinction of Marine Life different is an extension of the author's prior analysis of threatened hotspots from land to pockets of ocean life. Here also is a focus on international law and regulations pertaining to the ocean, along with efforts and language of domestic laws of nations with such key marine resources another differentiation which makes Killing Our Oceans a powerful recommendation not just for college-level science holdings, but collections concerned with international legal applications of social issues. It's this dual legal and science approach which makes for a top pick, here."—MBR: California Bookwatch, December 1, 2006
"Kunich argues that the earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of species and that the extinction is perhaps hitting the world's oceans the hardest. Further, the legions of domestic and international laws that are supposed to ensure the health of the oceans have done nothing to address the problem and instead act merely as a dangerous placebo. After detailing this situation, he proposes a new legal paradigm for safeguarding marine life; one that is based on an incentives-based statutory approach similar to the US Congress's Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998."—SciTech Book News, September 1, 2006
"[P]resents an overview of basic oceanography and explains that the current massive extinction of ocean life has one primary cause: humankind. Asking why, if we're responsible for this distruction, we don't take responsibility for it....Kunich believes that individual nations have too narrow a view of the dire situation and that the lack of a world court with enough clout to settle international disputes effectively perpetuates our destruction of marine life. Kunich concludes with thought-provoking proposals for the establishment of worldwide ocean protection and conservation."—Booklist, September 1, 2006
"Professor Kunich's words are as if they escaped from out of the ethos. We have choices. We can listen and act, or we can die with the oceans."—Gerry Spence, Trial lawyer and author of How to Argue and Win Every Time
"Killing Our Oceans: Dealing with the Mass Extinction of Marine Life by John Charles Kunich offers both a valuable perspective on what humans are doing to the oceans and what can be done to help change the devastating course on which we are presently set. Bravo for lending another eloquent voice to the cause every human being should be dedicated to."—Jean-Michel Cousteau, President, Ocean Futures Society
"If you like to think of the oceans as boundless in their bounty of life, an endless, self-sustaining, impervious supply of food, minerals, recreation, and waste disposal for humand, and if you would rather not hear how mistaken and even dangerous this myth of the oceans has become, don't read this book. If, on the other hand, you would like to learn about the threats overfishing, pollution, climate change, and other human-induced effects pose to life in the oceans and, in turn, to humans who depend on the oceans, Professor Kunich's book is a must read. Taking his prior work on hot spots to the marine setting, Kunich offers a compelling account of the rapidly declining condition of our planet's most important resource and a provocative set of proposals for changing course. On second thought, the truth is that those who must read Kunich's account are those who, despite all the evidence, still cling to the myth of oceans. I hope they will."—J.B. Ruhl, Matthews & Hawkins Professor of Property, Florida State University College of Law
"Global marine biodiversity hotspots are disappearing fast yet are afforded scant protection by international law. In this timely book, John Kunich calls for a shake up of the cosy world of international law, riddled as it is with self-defeating caveats and opt-out clauses that give the semblance of protection without the reality. Kunich gives a clear account of present legislation to protect the oceans and its weaknesses, and mounts a compelling case for new binding regimes with real sanctions for non-compliance. Only then can adequate protection be given to the high seas. He also proposes a new mechanism to protect biodiversity hotspots that uses incentives to encourage nations to protect areas within and beyond their jurisdiction for the benefit of all humanity. Kunich's message is one that we must urgently heed if future generations are to enjoy the spectacular diversity of life we see in our oceans today."—Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation, University of York, UK
"Too many view the oceans as the last true wilderness, barely touched by human actions, their species thriving. This is the book to disabuse anyone of such notions. Our oceans are in serious trouble and need our immediate attention. This book deserves to be read widely!"—Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Chair of Conservation Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Extraordinary Professor, Conservation Ecology Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africia
"Kunich makes a forceful case that ocean life is undergoing massive annihilation which current international law cannot avert. In this highly-readable account of the essential facts, Kunich proposes a bold intriguing solution for stopping the gathering wave of ocean extinctions. An indispensable guide for those concerned about the global ocean commons."—Ellen K. Pikitch, Professor and Executive Director, Pew Institute for Ocean Science, University of Miami Rosensteil School, Author of A Gathering Wave of Ocean Extinctions