Journalist, diver and conservation activist David Helvarg reflects on a lifelong appreciation of all things oceanic.
July 15th 2015
Every person has their own reasons for becoming involved in the causes they hold dear. For David Helvarg, the sea—whether the Long Island Sound of his youth, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, or the icy waters around Antarctica—makes up the world’s final blue frontier. After his true love lost her cancer battle, Helvarg renewed his activism for his first love, the sea. Saved by the Sea (New World Library, 2015), is one man’s journey set beside the global environmental movement’s struggles, setbacks and successes. A single life, it shows, sends ripples into the sea we share. Once shipwrecked, nearly drowned, and rammed by a whale in Antarctica, Helvarg appreciates the dangers of the ocean as well as its beauty and history. He calls overfishing “strip-mining,” likens ocean floor trawlers to chainsaws and bulldozers unleashed in old-growth forests, and sees endangered penguins as the canaries in the ecological coalmine—yet still finds hope in the wonders below and the waves above.