What the Wild Sea Can Be

The future of the world's ocean

2024 sees the release of What the Wild Sea Can Be. This book was sparked by a question I found myself being asked often, during radio interviews and by audience members at public talks:

Am I hopeful for the future of the ocean?

I decided to write the book to give myself a chance to think deeply about that question. Am I an optimist or a pessimist? It turns out, I’m a bit of both.

The book draws on more than 20 years of exploring and studying the ocean, and witnessing the changing seas for myself, and two years of thinking about my hopes and fears for the future.

While I was writing it I decided not to fly anywhere and instead took a few trips by land and sea to visit parts of the ocean closer to home, including my first visit to the Shetland Islands and the northernmost point of the UK. I went there to see for myself some of the most abundant and healthy ocean ecosystems in the country, and when I got there I encountered a scene that unexpected showed me how to think about the changing seas.

This book will, I hope, be an antidote to the rising tide of eco-anxiety, as well as a call to arms.

I set out to tread a path that combines pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will. In other words, I don’t want to shy away from the troubles, and at the same time I want readers to hope for, and demand, a better future.

What the Wild Sea Can Be is my second book with Grove Atlantic, following on from The Brilliant Abyss, and my first time publishing on the east side of the Atlantic with the London team at Grove Press.

The front cover is an original piece by Max Naylor.

Interior illustrations by Aaron John Gregory.