You Can Help Stop Ocean Acidification
We can stop ocean acidification by cutting carbon pollution drastically and immediately. We are exerting a massive influence in the oceans with unpredictable and potentially catastrophic consequences if we continue to pollute.
The following is what needs to happen:
Make it Public Enemy #1
Ocean acidification is likely the most important environmental issue on the planet today, yet most of us don’t know about it. It’s time to change the conversation. Raise your voice and get this message heard! Everyone needs to know about ocean acidification and the threat to ocean life. Environmental organizations, governments, the media, and all of us need to make ocean acidification part of the environmental conversation. Up until now, we’ve been missing a huge part of the puzzle.
We need to change the discussion from carbon emissions to carbon pollution – the carbon we put into the atmosphere is making the oceans more acidic, which could precipitate a mass extinction! This is huge – carbon pollution must be addressed aggressively and immediately.
Making ocean acidification understood as the most pressing and irreversible consequence of our carbon pollution means banding together, sharing resources, and helping put this issue on the agenda.
Groups that are concerned about acidification need to collaborate to battle Carbon and get this issue into the media:
- Shellfish industries – which have already lost jobs and business from ocean acidification.
- Island nations – who rely on reefs for food, to shelter their coastlines, and because their islands are built on coral.
- Youth who want a future.
- Renewable energy companies – including solar, wind, and hydro.
- The whole climate change movement – as carbon pollution is the enemy in both acidification and climate change.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Eat less meat. Livestock farming produces more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transport combined. This is the biggest cause of climate change, and therefore ocean acidification. The lower on the food chain you eat, the less energy is used. Grain production to feed the livestock we eat requires significant quantities of fertilizer, fuel, pesticides, water and land. Fertilizer applied to soil generates nitrous oxide (N20), which has 300 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide. Animal waste releases nitrogen and methane and pollutes our water and air, especially when it is concentrated. Finding healthy, protein-packed veggie sources of nutrition – like beans and lentils – saves water, land, energy, and reduces greenhouse gases. This also limits animal suffering, is typically healthier and it reduces your environmental footprint. Do your research. Want to learn more about the impacts associated with meat production? Check out UNEP’s article. Also try Meatless Mondays.
Use less energy at home. Make sure your home is well insulated, especially in the roof and around windows. Use ENERGY STAR® qualified products for appliances, light bulbs, etc. that conserve energy and save money. Turn off the lights, unplug power sources not in use, and use shorter cycles on your dishwasher and washing machine. Switch to green power such as Bullfrog Power, a Canadian company which provides power to the grid using more sustainable sources of natural gas and green energy like wind power. Compost your waste; grow some of your own food and recycle.
Conserve water. It takes lots of energy to pump, treat and heat water so saving water reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Watch what you pour down the drain and use eco-friendly products that break down. Remember often what goes down the drain ends up in rivers and lakes, which all filter into our oceans.
Reduce your plastic addiction. Don’t use bottled water. Refuse straws when you eat out. Bring your own reusable containers around with you. Drink from the tap, filter it and use water canteens to refill. Don’t use single use plastic bags.
Drive and fly less, carpool, ride bikes and take public transit.
Buy less stuff. Manufacturing products and the transportation required to get it to you burns a lot of carbon. Stop the buying madness! If you’ve got to buy something, buy smarter, local and more environmentally friendly products that are good for your body (toxic-free/organic) and safe for the environment.
Reduce, reuse, recycle and refuse! This helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal.
Assess your life, career and lifestyle choices. Is the industry you’re in destructive, carbon intensive, polluting or unsustainable? Suggest changes in the work place, and do what feels right for you and the environment.
Calculate your carbon footprint. Liv Clean is just one of the many online calculators available.
Shout it from the rooftops! Now that you know, tell ten other people about ocean acidification today. Does your best friend know? Your family? Your teachers?
At your next Earth Day or environmental event, make sure ocean acidification is on the agenda. Call organizers before to ask, so they bring it up during question period and spread the word!
Ask your employer about their carbon footprint and if they have any plans to reduce it, assess it, etc.
Here’s classroom-ready, reliable material for studying ocean acidification. Make your next school project about this!
- Use our Revolution Educator Guide – click here
- Classroom resources from Stanford University
- Curriculum and class activities from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
- Classroom projects from NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program marineos.pdf
- OCEANA & Ocean Ark Alliance science background sheet on acidification Acid%20Test%20-%20Second%20Edition_June2009.pdf
Join a Campaign and Support Organizations
Here’s work already being done to stop ocean acidification. How can you help?
- Australian Institute of Marine Sciences
- Earth Policy Institute
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Heal the Bay
- Indigenous Environmental Network
- International Conservation Union
- Ocean Ark Alliance
- The Ocean Project
Influence Government Policy
Get ocean acidification on the agenda:
- Use this email template from Living Oceans to send a letter to the federal government of Canada.
- Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, news show, or your favourite magazine asking them to tell their audience about ocean acidification. Make sure to tell them why it’s important to you, and to our survival.
Make Smart Consumer Choices
Check out all the great tips by thankyouocean.org.
- Refuse to use single-use plastic bags and campaign to ban single use plastics in your community.
- Learn about what else we are dumping into our oceans that destroy ecosystems. Plastic pollution is a global travesty for sea life, and is a growing source of chemical pollution in the ocean. Plastic never goes away. There’s plastic creating its own continent in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, catastrophic oil spills, untreated feces from open-net fish farms… the list goes on. Remember that everything you do has a consequence for our environment.
- Never buy coral products, even if the producer says it’s vintage or farmed. That’s just not good enough—we’re losing coral reefs too fast as it is.