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Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction
Jules Howard

Captain Paul Watson

Captain Paul Watson: Interview with a Pirate - Paul Watson, Lamya Essemlali I appreciate all that Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson have accomplished and this book covers these deeds rather well. While there are far too many issues impacting the world's species on land and at sea to cover thoroughly, there was a good range of coverage by Watson and the interviewer. While I agree with the sentiments expressed in the book I feel as though it is likely more of a "preaching to the choir" sort of book rather than one that will appeal to a broad audience. I would love to think it would convert individuals to the environmental/non-human cause but humans are a selfish lot and I find it unlikely.

The actual content and message the book conveys is great, but I do have some grievances with the way in which it was put forth. First of all, the interview style made the subjects feel a bit forced. But my absolute biggest issue with the book was the editing or lack thereof. Due to the issues at hand there are many people and organizations seeking to discredit Sea Shepherd and especially Watson, therefore I feel they should have been more careful with their stats and statements. There are enough instances of conservationists being accused of exacerbating numbers to promote their cause, Watson does not want to add to it. I am referring to the bluefin tuna debate on page 222. The figures indicated are painfully mathematically incorrect. I find it difficult to understand how they were looked past by an editor, did no one with math skills look at this? They state that 12,900 tons of tuna is 1.29 million tuna based on an average of 100kg per fish (a shaky figure itself as Sea Shepherd's website even has the weight as 600lbs, not the 220 lbs used here). This is exponentially wrong, it is closer to 129,000 tuna not 1.29 million. The figures continue to be wrong the entire page and even their own math conflicts at times. I found this baffling and I wish they had been more careful so as to not discredit the push to stop bluefin tuna fishing/poaching.

p214 They wrongly indicate that decreased seal numbers increases cod numbers via predator fish elimination. They meant to convey that seals eliminate predator fish and help boost cod numbers, yet another painful editing error.

p55 "Our body consists of 1,012 cells, on average, and we live in symbiosis with 1,214 microorganisms. Therefore, there are one hundred times more bacteria than cells in our bodies."

I don't know if this is scientific lack of knowledge, yet another example of terrible math or just poor typing skills. There is no exact number for the cells found in our bodies but they are thought to be in the TRILLIONS. Also, bacteria outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1 not 100 to 1. I found errors like these to be quite painful, especially knowing how easily they could be used to discredit.

But to end on a good note, I loved the quote at the beginning:

"True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being