by Heather Burns
About ten years ago, I sold everything I owned and set off around the world with only a one-way plane ticket and what would fit into a backpack. I was young, naive and full of hope about what the world had to offer. I bounced around from Athens to Malaysia to Laos to Cambodia, and finally settled on a 21-square kilometer island. There, I completed Dive Master training and got a job working at a local dive shop.
I logged nearly 300 dives in the saphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand and knew where every grouper and clown fish colony hung out. I also noticed when the coral began to turn white nearly overnight and the fish I'd come to love, disappeared. Little did I know, the dramatic decline in the ecosystems I adored was part of a much larger issue.
Ten years and a few eco-awakenings later, I'm still full of hope - as my belief that the power of the human spirit, when applied collectively and collaboratively, can heal the world - but it will take commitment and action. That's why what activist and actor Ted Danson has to say in his new book, Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them, (released March 15, 2011) is top on my reading list.