Celebrate World Oceans Day, June 8, 2009

Guest Blog | June 8, 2009 | Climate Change


Did you know that one-third of all the carbon dioxide that spews out from our coal-fired power plants and car exhausts dissolves directly into the ocean?  Through this natural chemical reaction carbonic acid is formed making the surface ocean slightly acidic.  This is called ocean acidification.

naturemagcoralbleachingShell-forming organisms such as clams, plankton and coral reefs have evolved to tolerate very specific oceanic conditions including light, temperature and pH.  Acidity in the ocean is increasing 10 times faster than predicted – creating conditions that can make shell production very slow, difficult and in extreme cases literally dissolving pits into living shelled creatures.  Coral bleaching and coral mortality is partially caused by increases in ocean acidification, which sends ripple effects throughout the entire food chain from plankton to whales to humans.

If we want to preserve our oceans and the creatures that call it home – we must stabilize carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere.  Currently CO2 levels in our atmosphere are 389 ppm and scientists say that the tipping point for our oceans will be reached when we hit 450 ppm.  This is forecasted to be happen by 2030.  Scientists like Dr. Ben McNeil, a Senior Fellow at the University of New South Wales say that if carbon dioxide levels go unchecked and reach 550 ppm, then “we can’t go back unless we literally suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere”.   He and others say that there will be large scale and irreversible impacts to the health and vitality of our oceans if we don’t act now.handsholdingearth

The only real and tangible solution to prevent the worst-case scenario from happening to our oceans is to regulate CO2 – through sound climate legislation in the United States and international climate treaties.  It is up to us to make this happen.  Southern leadership in both the House and Senate have historically (and are currently) stumbling blocks for real progress that will ultimately help stabilize our planet’s climate and save our oceans as well as the health and well being for all beings who depend on the ocean for survival.

pickupphoneTake this opportunity on World Ocean’s Day, June 8th, 2009 contact your elected officials to voice your concerns about ocean acidification and the need for strong climate legislation to save our oceans!

If you’d like to become involved with SACE’s Coastal Climate Campaigns or stay up to date on issues such as this, join the Southeast Coastal Climate Network and/or the Florida Climate Alliance.

Toni Reale authored this blog post. Toni is SACE’s Southeast Coastal Climate Organizer.

Guest Blog
My Profile