The ocean is on fire, and 170 countries are meeting in Paris between November 30 and December 11 to try and stop it.
… Coral reefs are dying, crippling the food chain for fish who depend on them.
… Our melting Polar caps are already wreaking havoc for polar bears and other wildlife not to mention island and coastal nations whose populations will be devastated in the not too distant future.
… Over-fishing is decimating fish populations with disastrous consequences for nations whose livelihood depends on fishing. In particular is the wanton slaughter of sharks which keep the food chain of the seas in balance.
… Add to these woes habitat loss for a wide variety of marine life, and pollution through garbage and oil spills, and things seem like they can’t get much bleaker, but they can.
… Our oceans are growing more acidic daily. In fact, acidification has become the cancer of our seas, deadly and silent as it grows unchecked.
Acidification occurs naturally in the ocean on a routine basis. What makes it so horrendous is that the PH balance is occurring at an alarming rate. Treehugger.com does a great job explaining the process. When the PH balance of the sea is changed, the skeleton formations of many species of shellfish and other sea life is destroyed. Think of it as osteoporosis for the creatures of the sea.
And why is the PH level dropping? Because the tons of fossil fuel which we’re burning around the world is absorbed by the oceans once it falls from the atmosphere.
Planetearthherald.com warns us that the 30% increase of acidity we’ve seen in our oceans so far is nothing compared to the 150% increase we’re going to witness over the next hundred years. What a legacy to leave our grandchildren and their grandchildren!
If we learned nothing else about the ecosystems of our planet, it’s that everything is interconnected. Alter one part of the equation, and you affect everything else. Global warming, for example, contributes to coral bleaching big time. When coral bleaching occurs, the algae living in their tissue turn white. Though not dead, the coral become so stressed they have a hard time coping, and without a reprieve, they die. Of course, temperature, light, and nutrients affect the health of coral as well.
And if you think the interconnection you have with the sea is minimal, think about that tuna on your dinner plate. Eat the fish, consume the mercury. What you may not know is that the problem is getting far worse. I’m not going to be popular with a large segment of the energy producers of the world for saying this, but the number one producer of mercury is coal plants. The EPA admits coal-fired plants are the largest source of mercury pollution… and it’s everywhere including every state of the Union.
So what is a person to do? We all say we love Mother Ocean. Millions of us flock to beaches and bays and lakes around the world to vacation, fish, boat, and renew our spirits. What human isn’t touched by a poignant sunset over the sea? But who among us is willing to take action?
These are very real problems that require a very real response. The worse thing to do is sit it out, hoping the problems won’t get much worse. That would be like sitting in your living room when your house is on fire and turning up the volume on your TV, hoping the problem will go away. Our oceans are on fire, and our fate is tied to them.
Let your lawmakers know that you demand action. Demand better technology. Insist on cleaner alternate energy sources, and choose them when they’re available. Keep abreast of what’s going on not just while the nations of the world are in Paris. These problems won’t go away after December 11. Let’s not pretend the problems are solved once our world leaders fly home. Do what you can where you live. It sounds corny, but it’s true. Recycle, reuse, and reconsider the role you play as a consumer. Do you really need a lot of that stuff you buy?
Follow one or two environmental groups. I mentioned several worthwhile ones in November’s blog at https://billhegerichsr.wordpress.com/2015/11/ The Natural Resources Defense Council is also a great place to visit at http://www.nrdc.org/. Check out the other two sites I mentioned here. No doubt you have some ideas of your own on helping Mother Ocean back to health. Share them here. I would be more than willing to post them.
Finally, remember that the 170 countries attending the Paris conference are said to be responsible for 90% of the world’s pollution. That’s not really true. Do you want to know who is really responsible for the pollution of our land and seas? Not countries. Not politicians. People. You and me and those we share this globe with. The good news is we can do something about it. What are you willing to do? Where will you begin?