We are clearly in the Age of Man’s Influence on the Planet. I have heard much discussion of the Age of Man since the astmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen (Nobel Prize Winner), made Eugene F. Stoermer’s term anthropocene popular.
Let’s talk about our water resources, for example. Man has depleted aquafirs, overfished our lakes, rivers and oceans, and created at least 5 plastic gyres (some as large as 270,000 sq. miles). The USGS says that 99% of the earth”s water is unusable, and is present in our ocean’s. Of the 1% freshwater remaining, 70% remains in glaciers and ice-caps.
As we approach World Oceans Day on June 8th, let’s examine how our human created carbon dioxide emissions effect our oceans. We’ve all heard that warming of the oceans results in melting glacial ice, rising sea levels, heavy rain in some areas, and drought in others. According to marine biologists,
“Almost half of all the carbon dioxide emitted since industrialization has been absorbed by the ocean. When carbon dioxide reacts with water, it forms carbonic acid, and releases more hydrogen ions into the sea, lowering pH and causing “acidification” of the ocean. Further, these hydrogen ions quickly bind with carbonate ions. This deprives animals like hard corals and certain mollusks and plankton of the raw material for their calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. This may ultimately cause the world’s oceans to become corrosive to such animals, and coral reefs to dissolve.” Environment 360
A healthy ocean contributes to a healthy climate, and a healthy climate is crucial for our ocean life.
5 easy ways to celebrate World Oceans Day (June 8, 2012) while making a difference:
- Donate to a favorite Ocean Advocacy Group (We recommend Oceana, Conservation International, or Save Our Seas, Project Kaisei, find other groups here.)
- Learn more about local marine life by visiting an ocean observatory, zoo, or aquarium, NOAA office ( WOD events today at the New England Aquarium, or Marine Science Sunday)
- Read your children or family an inspired ocean-related story from the library, web and bookstore or see an ocean movie. (Amazon, films linked below)
- Participate in a beach clean-up. (Visit your local watershed association, NOAA, or other water website for events)
- Sign Care2’s petition to help save sharks, an important species in the interconnected ocean system.
Our oceans will benefit from our efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
How can we do this?
- Reducing meat and fish consumption.
- Eating more locally and sustainably grown food.
- Reduce our use of plastics and consumption in general.
The Deep Dive:
A few TED Talks on ocean sustainability:
- Sylvia Earle’s, 18 min. TED Prize “Ask” video on Protect Our Oceans
- Greg Stone: Saving the ocean one island at a time
The Anthropocene: 10,000 years of ecocide, 3 min. video
What Would Happen If Sharks Disappeared?, 2 min. Youtube video
Project Kaisei, marine debris awareness non-profit
Turn the Tide for Our Ocean, 4 min. Youtube Rio+20 UN film on ocean sustainability
Blue Planet, Deep Trouble, 48 min. Youtube video
Wild Ocean IMAX Trailer, 2 min. Youtube video
Oceans Trailer, 3 min. Youtube video
The Cove Movie website, http://www.thecovemovie.com/
How to Save a Dying Ocean, 6 min. Youtube video