Ask Me Anything: How can we educate people about the dangers of a warming ocean? Aside from ocean animals, it is humans who will bear the brunt of climate change.

Tam Warner Minton
Feb 11, 2018

One of my ideas about educating people about climate change and the ocean has been to try and educate children. Children of any age! I wrote a book, ALL FISH FACES, to humanize the underwater world and give tips about how we can easily help preserve our oceans in our every day lives. The documentary, CHASING CORAL, on Netflix, was absolutely devastating in revealing the state of damage on our reefs all over the world. I want to hear your ideas on how we can spread the news!


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What organizations should one look for if he/she wants to get involved in ocean conservation or animal rights?

Feb 18, 12:03AM EST0

According to you what will be the top 5 "big things" in the environment sector in next two decades?

Feb 17, 10:08PM EST0

What percentage of deep-ocean animals do humans know yet?

Feb 16, 5:28PM EST0

Not nearly enough! New species are being discovered every day. It is just amazing that so much life can exist in the deep ocean. Have you been watching Blue Planet II? It is fantastic, I don't know how they mangaged to get such footage! We know more about space than we do about the deep ocean. What we do know is how very important our coral reefs are, and how our warming oceans are a problem for life on earth as well as in the ocean.

Feb 16, 6:31PM EST0

Why do you think that people are not caring about this particular issue?

Feb 13, 11:50PM EST0

I believe that people basically don't care about things that they think doesn't affect them directly. And that is fundamentally wrong, and what we need to educate people about. Climate change is going to affect, if not them, then their children or grandchildren. Can you imagine a world where the ocean is dead, without enough food or resources to feed us, and weather becomes even more erratic and violent, and our population doubles? Even in a world where we could feed everyone on the planet (and don't) human nature can be pretty nasty. I can't imagine what it would be like with few resources. I don't even want to imagine it!

Feb 16, 5:51PM EST0

When did you realize that this problem was seirous enough to talk about it and to start raising people's awareness?

Feb 13, 5:14PM EST0

I've known it for quite a while, and I've talked about it, contributed to the research of it, for years. The major reason I am redoubling all efforts to educate people about it is because of the election of an administration with no respect for science, and no concern or care for our planet. These are people who conveniently do not "believe" in climate change for their own financial gain. When the USA pulled out of the Paris Accords I just could not believe it. I think most of us cannot believe what has been going on for the last year, and there are other issues than the environment, but if we destroy the ocean, nothing else will be of any importance. I look at the future, if we continue on this path, with a doubled planetary population and a drastically reduced food supply because of ocean die off. It won't be pretty. I have committed myself to campaigning for candidates in all future elections who realize the seriousness of climate change. Early voting for the primaries start feb 20 in Texas, and I will be there. 

Feb 13, 9:22PM EST0

What is exactly the impact that ocean life has in our lives?

Feb 13, 12:53PM EST0

The ocean supports all life on earth. It provides oxygen, every second breath we take comes from photosynthesis taking place in the ocean. The ocean temperature regulates climate. We get food and 70% of our economy from ocean products, not just fish for consumption, but ocean plants and animals are used for medicines, the ocean is used for shipping goods. The ocean absorbs 93% of the heat in the atmosphere, protecting us from what otherwise would be average land temps of 122 F. Life itself began in the ocean. Life on earth would be very difficult without the ocean, and as our populations increase and food and medicine decreases...it would be catastrophe.

Feb 13, 2:54PM EST0

What is your dream for All Fish Faces? Do you dream of one day releasing it to the worldwide market?

Feb 13, 10:33AM EST0

That would be a dream come true! Of course I would love it to be in schools and libraries, and in brick and mortar stores. This is my first book, and I plan to pursue a publisher for the next several books in the series. Trying to get the word out, as an individual first time author, has been very, very difficult.

Feb 13, 12:10PM EST0

Do you also organize or join fundraising events to help save the ocean? What do you believe is the best way to raise funds for this cause?

Feb 12, 8:21PM EST0

I haven't organized a fundraiser other than on Facebook or Crowdrise, it is really not my strength. I am a donor to many ocean conservationists, like Marine Megafauna Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, REEF.org, Meet the Ocean, National Geographic, WWF, etc. 10% of the profits from book are going to Marine Megafauna Foundation to assist in their research. I also participate in citizen science dive trips, I've been all over the world doing fish surveys, Identification shots of megafauna, doing observation. I'm always so excited to be in the field, and even when I am diving on my own, I am taking photographs and reporting any and everything I see. The best way to raise money? I think the best way to help this cause is to make sure our government does not cut funding for the EPA, NOAA, and to participate in the Paris Accords. At this point, I also donate money to candidates who respect scientific findings and do not deny climate change. Our government right now is shortsighted, superstitious, and interested more in money than in saving our natural resources. We need leaders who are practical, smart, and proactive about making the changes that must be made.

Feb 12, 9:43PM EST0

How many more books do you plan to release in the All Fish Faces series? Will it revolve around the same topic?

Feb 12, 10:08AM EST0

I'm planning at least 5 more. It will introduce other creatures in the ocean, not fish. There are endless creatures to introduce though! Crustaceans, mollusks, rays, sharks, corals, ocean giants....and yes, they will revolve around how we can help keep our oceans healthy and preserve them for future generations.

Feb 12, 2:51PM EST0

If corals get damaged due to ocean warming, do you believe that one day this could cause fish to die too and in effect increase seafood prices in the market due to lack of availability?

Feb 12, 2:35AM EST0

If we lose our coral reefs, we will lose the nurseries where baby fish grow, we lose oxygen in our atmosphere as plants die in the ocean, and eventually, there may be no more fish. Our fisheries are already hard hit. The answer is absolutely yes, as reefs bleach and die, fish populations will go down, and therfore prices will increase.

Feb 12, 2:49PM EST0

Have you been a writer ever since? Does a writer need formal education to be able to write a book?

Feb 11, 3:51PM EST0

Not at all. What you must have is good grammar and spelling, and the ability to write in an entertaining fashion. I self-published this first book, All Fish Faces. I am looking for a publisher for the rest of the series. Between my blog, social media, photography, diving, citizen science trips and other travel, oh, and my family! it has been very difficult for me to market it. I have been on quite a few radio shows and many publications have reviewed the book or published my articles. Take a look at my author page on http://travelswithtam.com/tam-warner-minton-author-page/.  Check out my blog at www.travelswithtam.com!

Feb 11, 3:59PM EST0

Do you ever have writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Feb 11, 12:39PM EST0

Not very often, but occasionally. I just wait until I have something to say. I try to write as I speak, so I don't suffer too much from writers block as I usually have something to say!

Feb 11, 12:41PM EST0

What is the best thing about being a travel writer? Do you get to travel for free?

Feb 11, 9:44AM EST0

Sometimes! The really big travel writers do. I'm an up and comer (I hope!). I work hard at building my social media (@travelswithtam on instagram; @travelwithtam on Twitter; Travels with Tam on FB and Pinterest, come and see me!) which creates a wider reach. I have gotten perks, definitely; but it is work, as well. It isn't easy to keep coming up with fresh ideas or even interesting ideas! I try on my blog, www.travelswithtam.com. 

Feb 11, 12:08PM EST0

How do you market and/or promote your book so that it can reach a wider audience?

Feb 11, 6:56AM EST0

I have come to realize that it is very difficult to do this! I target ads, I send the book out for reviews, I use my social media. I'm doing a book proposal for a publisher to finish out the series, their distribution methods cannot be matched. I plan on a series of OCEAN FRIENDS, All Fish Faces, Cool Crustaceans, Righteous Rays, etc. 

Feb 11, 12:06PM EST0

What do you personally do to help clean out our oceans?

Feb 10, 6:05PM EST0

In every day life, I don't use plastic straws, I carry bamboo cutlery instead of using plastic, I don't buy single use bottled water. I don't buy plastic containers, I clean out my glass jars and use them for leftovers. At restaurants I ask for my leftovers in foil, not styrofoam. I went on a citizen science trip to Ecuador partially to clean up fishing line...that was an eye opening trip. Seeing turtles and sharks and valuable fish dead, wrapped in plastic or in nets was just horrific. I will never get those pictures out of my head. When I dive, I pick up trash as much as possible. Sometimes you cannot because there are animals living inside the plastic bottles...what are your choices? Kill the animals we are trying to save? I do what I can, and a lot of it isn't that difficult. All those tips are in the book. ALL FISH FACES. It's at Amazon!

Feb 11, 12:03PM EST0

What made you interested in climate change?

Feb 10, 4:46PM EST0

The changes I saw on the reefs. The numbers of animals that are endangered. It's not just climate change, it is overfishing, it is plastics, shark finning our ocean predators. Without even stating the belief that our ecosystems should remain intact not because of any reason, but because they should have the right to live. Aside from that, 70% of our economy is in the ocean, food supply, I could go on and on. Humans depend upon the ocean for oxygen, for food, for their livings. If we destroy it, it will hurt us. What kind of world are we going to leave for our grandchildren?

Feb 11, 11:59AM EST0

What do you believe is the best way to educate adults about climate change?

Feb 10, 1:52PM EST0

Ah, that is the hard one, isn't it? It is unfathomable to me that in the year 2018 there is some doubt about science being real. WHAT???? What has brought about the industrial and technological ages? Science. My opinion is that education in our country has not had a decent investment in so long that we have fallen way behind other countries who now lead in science innovations, and their students are light years ahead of ours in Science, Tech, and Math. The USA is now relegated to the back of the line due to our administrations "not smart" denials of evolution and scientific proofs. Unbelievable! Our citizens don't read. They believe what they read on Facebook. It's a travesty, and one of the reasons I am trying to reach the younger generation...and their parents and grandparents.

Feb 11, 11:55AM EST0

As far as you know, which of the world’s coral reefs have experienced the most damage?

Feb 10, 11:26AM EST0

Right off the top of my head I'd say the Great Barrier Reef. Check out this article at Scientic American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bleaching-hits-93-percent-of-the-great-barrier-reef/. Aerial surveys show that 93% of the Great Barrier Reef is bleached or bleaching. This is devastating for biodiversity. The northern reefs are the worst, and I can tell you from my own experience (I spent time diving the northern barrier reef in 2016) that it is horrifying to dive among the skeletons of coral. The heat in that area of the ocean is "cooking" the life out of the corals. The coral reefs are the foundation for reef biodiversity. I recommend watching Chasing Coral, the documentary that netflix has on. It is excellent.

Feb 11, 11:51AM EST0

How do you deal with criticisms and negative feedback when it comes to your writing?

Feb 10, 9:46AM EST0

How do you deal with criticisms and negative feedback when it comes to your writing?

Feb 10, 8:40AM EST0

It hurts my feelings a little, but that's okay. We all like different things, and I'm aware that being my first book, and self published, it isn't perfect. But the message is there, and I believe reading the book encourages those who read it to appreciate the animals, and hopefully take at least one piece of advice about changing little things in our every day lives to help preserve the ocean.

Feb 11, 11:42AM EST0

Did you also photograph and/or do the illustrations for your book?

Feb 10, 7:31AM EST0

Yes, I did. ALL FISH FACES is all my own work. I've been photographing fish faces for 20 years or so!

Feb 11, 11:40AM EST0

When you say warming ocean, does this mean that the ocean’s temperature is literally increasing?

Feb 10, 6:03AM EST0

Yes. It's measured in degrees centigrade. The ocean absorbs around 90% of the heat from global warming. Without the ocean, our land temps would average around 122 F. Ocean temps are different all over the world, obviously the Arctic and Antarctic waters are colder than the ocean toward the middle of the planet. Check out www.chasingcoral.com or NOAA.gov for more info. But I can say, having been a diver for over 30 years, I can see the warming in places I dive frequently. Mexican Caribbean 30 years ago was about 80F in the summer, now I reguarly get readings of 83 or 84. Huge ice shelves have broken off in Antarctica which is a major concern since the Antarctic current is what keeps our climate intact.  The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the most important current in the southern ocean, and it is the only current that flows completely around the globe. It connects the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic basins. Basically, it cools the other oceans. West Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate, while other parts of the continent are adding ice. Changes in Antarctica are alarming, and is being studied. Take a look at the ocean temp charts at NOAA, the simple answer is yes, the ocean's temperature is literally increasing in temp.

Feb 11, 11:38AM EST0

Is your book self-published or did you get assistance from publishers?

Feb 9, 7:11PM EST0

I self-published this one, but I plan on looking for a publisher for the rest of the series.

Feb 11, 11:24AM EST0

As a photographer, what type of camera do you use?

Feb 9, 11:39AM EST0

I use an Olympus OMD EM5 Markii, a mirrorless camera, with a Nauticam Housing. Prior to this, I used a Canon G15 which was an awesome point and shoot with manual options. I am thrilled with my new Olympus, it is an amazing camera. I just need to learn how to use it better!

Feb 9, 3:42PM EST0

Does a writer need formal education to be able to write a book?

Feb 9, 3:13AM EST0

Not at all. What you must have is good grammar and spelling, and the ability to write in an entertaining fashion. I self-published this first book, All Fish Faces. I am looking for a publisher for the rest of the series. Between my blog, social media, photography, diving, citizen science trips and other travel, oh, and my family! it has been very difficult for me to market it. I have been on quite a few radio shows and many publications have reviewed the book or published my articles. Take a look at my author page on http://travelswithtam.com/tam-warner-minton-author-page/

Feb 9, 11:14AM EST0

How does one become a social media influencer? Do you need to have plenty of social media followers to call yourself an influencer?

Feb 8, 8:07PM EST0

You have to have a bit of a following. I have thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, my Blog, and many relationships with other travel bloggers. I am working very hard to increase my numbers, and right now I am putting a lot of energy toward Instagram. I love visuals, and my blog has a lot of photographs. I love photos! My reach is in the millions, meaning that with other communities I belong to I have the potential to reach a lot of people. I certainly want to enlarge my influence.

Feb 9, 11:10AM EST0

Do you work with a team or are you a solo freelancer?

Feb 8, 4:56PM EST0

I'm solo. I have a large group of blogger/writer/photographer colleagues and friends, and I have relationships with Marine Megafauna Foundation, to whom I dedicated 10% from the book. Dr Andrea Marshall's Ray of Hope Expeditions are incredible. I cannot say it enough! Going on an expedition with scientists is amazing, and you learn so much. It feels so good to know that my observations and my photos have added to the scientific databases on all kinds of animals! REEF.org and All Out Africa are also great organizations. I collarborate with other bloggers, but not to a huge degree, and I would love to find some others to work with. I have my eyes open, and I am seeking out opportunities.

Feb 9, 11:06AM EST0

What is the best feedback you have received from readers of All Fish Faces?

Feb 8, 2:48PM EST0

The best feedback has been from people who send me photos of their children enjoying the book! Even adults contact me and tell me that they never knew so much of the information in the book. What better way to learn than being fascinated and entertained by close up photos of amazing fish? Zack Rago, of Chasing Coral, has said that all elementary classrooms should have this book, Dr Andrea Marshall says it is a testament to what a person with passion can be. I'd be thrilled for you to read the reviews on Amazon!

Feb 9, 11:02AM EST0

What do you believe is the worst effect of climate change that should be on top of the list of priorities that the world must address?

Feb 8, 12:23PM EST0

The warming of the ocean could be a catastrophe. It has already done untold harm. The United States has really dropped the ball by leaving the Paris Climate Agreement. This administration is putting the world in a terrible position, opening the coasts to oil drilling, allowing test mining to go on in pristine Bristol Bay which is our last healthy salmon area, the list goes on and on. Without people of science in important positions the USA is losing vital time. We must stop emitting so much carbon. It has to be done, or we all lose in the long run.

Feb 9, 10:59AM EST0

Have you also considered creating a documentary of your own?

Feb 8, 9:30AM EST0

I have. I would love to, but I really don't know where to start. I've also thought about doing youtube videos about the ocean and its creatures, or a podcast. Do you think YouTube videos might be a good idea?

Feb 9, 10:55AM EST0

Is this your only book so far? Do you plan on writing and publishing more children’s books after All Fish Faces?

Feb 8, 6:14AM EST0

ALL FISH FACES is the first of a planned series called OCEAN FRIENDS. If we can get the next generation (and this generation) to care about these animals, they will want to protect the places where they live. That is the hope! Most people will never, ever get to take a look under the waves and see the world that supports us. Corals make medicines, fish supply food, photosynthesis in the plants create oxygen. The ocean supplies us with life, every second breath comes from the ocean. I really would like to continue writing and photographing animals, to get my books into the hands of students, children, parents and grandparents so they can appreciate the beauty and the necessity of healthy oceans and healthy ocean animals. There are so many animals! I plan books on crustaceans, mollusks, rays, sharks...I want to introduce all of them to everyone so they can appreciate them. The books also will contain, like All Fish Faces, tips on how to help preserve the ocean by making easy changes in our daily lives, like don't use plastic straws! They kill sea creatures. Plastics are a huge problem. Children, JFK said, are the world's most valuable resource. We have to educate them and get them excited by preserving the planet for our own survival.

Feb 8, 4:27PM EST0

What is your ultimate goal or dream as an author?

Feb 8, 5:48AM EST0

To be able to make a living from it, and spend my time researching and photographing animals, contributing to science, trying to make a difference. That is the ultimate goal.

Feb 8, 4:18PM EST0

In the case of a warming ocean, what types of underwater creatures suffer the most?

Feb 8, 4:25AM EST0

CORAL. And coral is the building block and foundation of the reef system. If you watch CHASING CORAL, Sundance Film Festival Winner and Netflix Documentary, you can see how the warming oceans are putting us in danger. http://www.chasingcoral.com/. They are still having screenings all over the world. Corals are the nursery for so many species, and the knowledge that 29% of the Great Barrier Reef DIED IN 2016 (yes, died!) is really frightening. There are some locations where coral is able to fight back, areas where cold currents come in and supply nutrients and cooler temps, but I cannot think of a place in which coral is not in a precarious situation.

Feb 8, 4:17PM EST0
You seem to be doing quite a lot all at the same time; how do you manage your time effectively?
Feb 7, 10:58PM EST0

Ha! I don't think I do! I am so ADHD, I can barely remember where I put my car keys! I know I could do a lot better, and I really wish I knew how to do it more effectively. Thanks for asking (and reminding me that I'm a tornado!)

Feb 8, 4:10PM EST0