Are you aware that every day, 22 million tons of carbon dioxide are absorbed by the world’s oceans? Because of this, the oceans have become 30% more acidic. Ocean acidification, though different from global warming – is closely linked through the emissions of carbon dioxide created from human activity. The reduction in our output of greenhouse gas emissions is a critical aspect in reducing ocean acidification.
Ocean acidification occurs when CO2 reacts with seawater to produce an acid. The faster the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, the faster the acidification of the ocean. Two ecosystems that are highly affected by the acidification crisis are polar regions and coral reefs. Coral reefs are critical to the health of the ocean and the coastlines they support. By reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we can reduce the acidification of the ocean.
Benefits of Education
- Business as usual scenarios for CO2 emissions could make the ocean up to 150% more acidic by 2100.
- Each year, the ocean absorbs approximately 25% of all the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities.
- If CO2 emissions continue to grow, the rate of acidification will rapidly accelerate in the coming decades.
- Numerous animals and plants in the sea have calcium carbonate skeletons or shells. Because of this, they are sensitive to small changes in acidity – particularly at young life stages. Studies show there is evidence that some of these species may already have been affected; with the change in acidity causing a slowing of calcification.
- Physiological processes and behavior also show sensitivity to ocean acidification in other species.
- The ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere is being degraded by ocean acidification, which could worsen its impact on climate change.
How can I make an impact?
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Significantly reducing your CO2 emissions (by monitoring your individual greenhouse gas emissions) is imperative for the health of our oceans.
- Some ways to reduce your impact are to consume less, eat less animal protein, use less energy at home, conserve water, and reduce your use of plastics.
- Promote research and build our capacity to better understand the impacts of Ocean Acidification on marine ecosystems. Go to: https://oceanacidification.noaa.gov/ to learn more.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1.
- Give the ocean a break. If you live by an ocean or sea, monitor your coastlines for plastics and other chemical leaks. The less that is being added to the oceans, the more it can process the CO2 load it is receiving.
- Support causes working to reduce ocean acidification. Go to: https://oceana.org or https://www.oceanfdn.org/ to learn more.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Actions 1 & 2.
- Get Involved. Write your local Congressmen (and women) to demand that the EPA make the necessary GHG emissions reduction changes to combat ocean acidification.
- Choose to be an Ambassador for Change, and always Spread Love and Spread Light.