Summary of Chapters in Oceans End Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Colin Woodward's book Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas describes the seas around Belize including those of Caye Caulker. Many of these are tourist areas, but with a low development footprint. As Woodward points out, most people walk and there are no cars anywhere on Caye Caulker. Although the author underestimates the intelligence and geographic awareness of Americans by stating that most of them have "never heard of this little nation," Woodward does do Belize justice in showing that increased rates of tourism to the island are wreaking havoc on the reefs, even though the type of tourism Belize attracts is "ecotourism."

Yet not all is idyllic on this stretch of paradise. As Woodward first points out, Caulker used to have a glut of spiny lobsters, so common that the locals were able to simply coax them ashore using palm fronds (p. 132). Tourism has increased the demand for fresh seafood, and instead of waiting for the lobsters to reach full size, they are being illegally captured at a smaller size and younger age. Not only has the practice diminished the lobster population, it has also had repercussions on the social justice issues associated with ecotourism development. Whereas the locals
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enjoyed a more diverse labor system, now they are tied inextricably to tourism. Interestingly, there are even sadder stories in Belize about overdevelopment causing destruction of coral reefs, ocean species, and the traditional lives of fishermen.

In Chapter 6 of Ocean's End, "Paradise Lost," Woodward proceeds to discuss one of the poster children of climate change, the Marshall Islands. This Pacific Island chain is tiny and completely spread out. They are coral and sand islands, interspersed with volcanic atolls, and only just above sea level. According to the author, the Marshall Islands will not exist in a hundred years because of rising sea levels. In addition to the changes from climate change, Marshall Islanders suffer from high rates of illnesses caused by a poor diet dependent on junk food that has been imported. Garbage is also becoming a problem but ironically, the Marshall Islands has actually agreed to import garbage.

Woodward discusses several marine organisms affected by climate change and tourism. The most important of these organisms is coral. Coral has a unique anatomy. Their basic form is called a "polyp." Polyps are multicellular with highly specialized cells, making corals more complex creatures than they may appear. Corals…

Sources Used in Documents:


NOAA (2015). Coral anatomy and structure. Retrieved online:

Palumbi, et al. (2014). Mechanisms of reef coral resistance to future climate change. Science 344(6186): 895-898

Woodward, C. (2000). Ocean's End. Basic Books.

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