What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Monday, 15 February 2010

Shooting our foot while ankle deep in acidic seas

There are so many ways we are destroying the sustainability of our modern convenient lifestyles with the addiction to our modern convenient lifestyles. Whether it's industrial agriculture that most of us depend on to keep our oversized overpowered fridges full of foodstuffs that require 10 calories of global warming fossil fuel for every calorie of edible substance, or the thousands of miles of superfluous driving we do every year, or the tens of thousands of miles we fly every year, or the energy we use to wage war, or the construction of our houses which pour hot air into the outdoors in the winter and cold air outdoors in the summer.

We hear constantly about the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the various high tech engineering nightmares designed to remove them after the fact, all to avoid any discussion of changes in our modern convenient lifestyles. What we don't often hear about is the ongoing accelerating destruction of the oceans upon which all life on the planet depends, one of the reasons being that to remove carbon from the atmosphere after the fact rather than to avoid putting it there in the first place, by changing our modern convenient lifestyles, is part and parcel of the very same geo engineering projects bandied about in the media which unfortunately by their very design condemn the oceans to the ever increasing damage we are subjecting them to. This is because the oceans are constantly removing CO2 from the atmosphere, so the CO2 we might remove with our technical fantasy would only be after the oceans have removed as much as they can. And that is the problem. As detailed in this post over at Open Alex, here is an excerpt. Click on the link for the whole post.

Corrosive Oceans and the Aquatic Food Chain

"... New York Times science writer Karl Zimmer ... on what carbon emissions are doing to the chemistry of our oceans. Increasingly acidic oceans have the possibility to undermine much of the marine food chain. ...

"The acidification of the ocean today is bigger and faster than anything geologists can find in the fossil record over the past 65 million years. Indeed, its speed and strength ... acidification is taking place at ten times the rate that preceded the mass extinction 55 million years ago ... may spell doom for many marine species, particularly ones that live in the deep ocean."

"... much of that carbon dioxide does not stay in the air. Instead, it gets sucked into the oceans. If not for the oceans, climate scientists believe that the planet would be much warmer than it is today. Even with the oceans’ massive uptake of CO2, the past decade was still the warmest since modern record-keeping began. But storing carbon dioxide in the oceans may come at a steep cost: It changes the chemistry of seawater."

"... scientists have run laboratory experiments in which they rear organisms at different pH levels. The results have been worrying ... The extra hydrogen in low-pH seawater reacts with calcium carbonate, turning it into other compounds that animals can’t use to build their shells."

"These results are worrisome, not just for the particular species the scientists study, but for the ecosystems in which they live. Some of these vulnerable species are crucial for entire ecosystems in the ocean. Small shell-building organisms are food for invertebrates, such as mollusks and small fish, which in turn are food for larger predators. Coral reefs create an underwater rain forest, cradling a quarter of the ocean’s biodiversity."

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