Really Seeing the Sea
By Justine Seligson
Being in or on the water is often a huge part of travel, especially in the summer. Whether it’s waterskiing on a lake in Maine or snorkeling in Hawaii, you can’t help but appreciate how much of our world is water.
After reading “Going Blue,” I have a whole new understanding though, that water is not something we can take for granted.
The sub-title of the book is “A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands.” It was co-authored by Philippe Cousteau, grandson of the great ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau.
Throughout its 147 pages, the reader learns not only a slew of truly interesting facts about the earth’s water and water supply (most surprising to me: that Antarctica has as much ice as the ocean has water) but frankly, ourselves (did you know that our bodies are 70 percent water?). With charts and annotated photographs, we learn everything from how many gallons of water we use to brush our teeth (note to self: turn off the faucet when brushing) to which are the world’s 10 most endangered rivers (threats include too many damns, over-fishing, and pollution).
“Going Blue” really drives home the fact that water is so important for our existence and we can’t live without it. It talks about water crises in the past and present, about how some people have too much water and some not enough (floods and droughts). In many countries, safe drinking water is almost impossible to find.
Perhaps the most interesting part of “Going Blue” however, is that it tells us what other teens are doing to help protect the world’s water supply. Kids my age and older are getting involved in so many ways, from planting seeds on riverbeds to help with erosion to organizing community efforts to conserve water. Students at one school in Nova Scotia, Canada, collected plastic bottles from recycling bins, filled them with water and pebbles and put two bottles in every toilet tank, reducing the amount of water being flushed. This is something we could all do at home.
As a traveler, I’d like to do my part in helping to protect our world’s water. That’s not just about being careful myself, but about looking around and asking…what can I do or what should I NOT do to help conserve our water.
After reading the book, I feel very empowered. Philippe Cousteau says it simply and powerfully: “Everything you do makes a difference.”
Editor’s Note: This book is published by Free Spirit Publishing and is available at . It was co-authored by Cathryn Berger Kaye, a nationally recognized expert on service learning. Philippe Cousteau is continuing the work of his father through EarthEcho International (), a non-profit organization that he founded with his sister.
Just-Teens Travel is written by Justine Seligson, who at the time of this writing, was a middle school student.