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This book is full immersion “J” Nichols!
Nichols is hands down one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial, and passionate champions for the ocean. He argues forcefully that humans have a strong tie to water that dates from our early evolutionary history. In this volume Nichols, a marine ecologist, takes a deep dive into neurobiology, psychology, and evolutionary biology to probe the linkages, physical and mental, that humans have to the sea, rivers, lakes, and even puddles.
As a member of the Blue Mind myself, this explains a lot about my childhood which always involved treks to the nearest water and always coming home wet.
Thanks “J” for providing the justification—I only wish my Mom were here to read it!
Nichols makes a heartfelt case for all that communion with the watery world can provide from preventing dehydration, to reducing stress, to deep feelings of peace and fulfillment. His personal journey is a strong one in Blue Mind, but in a feat of masterful story-telling he takes us from complex scientific explanations to personal encounters with real people in all walks of life who live Blue Mind.
When “J” first told me about his plan for the book several years ago I doubted the connections he was proposing to make, but now my eyes are wide open underwater—so much of this book resonates with my experience including the alienation of people from the ocean, and more widely nature.
Some view the ocean as dangerous, “without form and void”, but as Nichols shows so forcefully nothing could be further from the truth.
People with a Blue Mind have special places and activities in the sea that restore their souls. Some fortunate few of us work and live in constant contact with the ocean, but the rest of humanity can’t stay away from the beach, boats, aquariums and most anything that connects them to their roots in the sea. Nichols’ view of life is one of compassion, gratefulness, and love. He proposes emphasizing hope over despair about the oceans—solutions over problems.
Nichols has written a delightful book that is a compelling but easy read. So rush right out and buy it, take it to the shore of your favorite part of the world aquatic and drink deeply. There is so much here to fathom and to enjoy!
Larry B. Crowder, Ed Ricketts Professor of Marine Biology and Science Director
Hopkins Marine Station and Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University
Monterey, CA 93940
Larry Crowder is the science director at the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS). He is also a professor of biology at Hopkins Marine Station and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, both part of Stanford University. Previously, he was the Stephen Toth Professor of Marine Biology at Duke University.
Dr. Crowder's research centers on predation and food web interactions, mechanisms underlying recruitment variation in fishes, population and food web modeling in conservation biology, and interdisciplinary approaches to marine conservation. He has studied food web processes in both freshwater and marine ecosystems, and has used observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to understand these interactions in an effort to improve management.
He was principal investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary research projects including the South Atlantic Bight Recruitment Experiment (SABRE), OBIS SEAMAP (Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Animal Populations), and Project GLOBAL (Global Bycatch Assessment of Long-Lived Species). He has also directed and participated in a number of research, analysis, and synthesis groups at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and for the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board.
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