by: Davis Yancy Clegg
If there is any one occupational hazard to being a human being that comes at the greatest cost, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship we have with our home planet earth. Or even worse, we ignore it altogether. Most of us are pretty savvy about staying up to date on what’s happening in our own zip codes. That’s a great thing, but it’s a good idea to take in as much knowledge as our eager minds will allow! Then, use it. Ocean acidification is as worthy a recipient of that brain space as any other. The burning of fossil fuels has resulted in the acidification of our oceans. The decrease in the ph level of earths’ largest bodies of water has resulted in countless damaging factors; including the bleaching of the coral reefs along the once beautiful coastlines
Giving new meaning to the phrase, “Out of sight – out of mind,” acidity levels have been running at an alarming rate for quite some time. Basically, it’s global warming that’s taking place underwater. Ranging from the mid 1700’s through the end of the 20th century, the ph level in earths’ ocean waters has decreased from 8.24 to an 8.14. This change shows us that there has been a 30% increase in the acidity of the oceans. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere of our planet are at the highest level they’ve hit in 15 million years. With billions of us walking – make that driving – the earth, our daily lives continue to call for the use and exertion of more and more energy. Everything operating electric and burning fuel brings change to our planet. Around today’s’ coffee table, the term “greenhouse effect” brings about a negative reflex response when brought to conversation. This wasn’t always the case. Greenhouse gases are responsible for trapping the heat and sustaining the warmth necessary for Earth to have the life and color that make’s it such a beautiful home. However, that effect has been compounded by the past 150 years of progressive ambition in the growth of industry. The rapid rise in Earth’s global temperature has put life on Earth off-balance. Our oceans and freshwater areas can’t thwart of the attack of the CO2 levels we are pumping into its’ chemistry. With every tank of gas our cars burn, the environmental outlook gets a little desperate. Corals are having great difficulty growing and shellfish (which need less acidic water to grow) struggling to grow their hard shells. Without the proper adaptation period, many of the planets plant and animal species could go extinct. Our own families and friends could be subject to being pulled from their homes because of the compounded effect of sudden global climate change.
Thankfully, there are ways in which we can find ourselves back on the path to righteousness! Better late than never, an impressive amount of communities have put funding into adding bicycle lanes to a large portion of America’s roads. The addition of biking lanes has been most helpful in tight, metropolitan areas and small communities where commuting by bike is a reasonable concept. Over a quarter of carbon dioxide in the air reaches our ocean waters. While we can’t reverse damage done, we can certainly make an effort to get the wheel spinning in the other direction. If you don’t have turn the keys in the car, leave it in the garage and take in some shine!