Wu: It is easy to distance ourselves from the ocean because, at a casual glance, it does seem like a distant place. But it impacts us all, on large and small fronts. The oceans regulate the earth's weather. Corals secrete calcium carbonate - limestone - on a scale so massive it affects carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and the very health of the planet. The ancient Greeks believed that the ocean flowed around the earth and into eternity. Before it does, the ocean flows into all our lives.

American Way: What can people do to help?
Wu: A simple and good place to start is being aware of what you should and shouldn't eat. If you want to promote wise, conservation-oriented fishing practices, the best way to do so is to think about what's going in your mouth. Consumer demand for dolphin-safe tuna reduced direct dolphin deaths in tuna nets by 99 percent. (See Good Fish, Bad Fish on page 40 for more information.)

American Way: The oceans are still a beautiful place. What are some of the most unspoiled and beautiful oceans you have seen?
Wu: My new book [Diving the World, Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Fall 2003] features some of the world's unspoiled ocean locations: Papua New Guinea, the Revillagigedos Islands, Palau, the Galapagos Islands, McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. The thing about the ocean is that its surface hides great beauty and problems. It's difficult to tell from a glance if there's something going on under the ocean's surface. You could be on a gorgeous reef in the Philippines and suddenly realize that there are almost no fish. There's no place in this world where man has not had an impact.

American Way: Tourism can be a powerful force. How can folks use ecologically minded vacations to benefit the world's oceans and perhaps promote positive change in the way countries treat their local oceans?