Ocean acidification is killing sea life, and we are the culprits
Horsey provides his own sobering commentary on his cartoon, which I excerpt below:
If the prospect of coastal cities sinking into the sea 100 years from now does not motivate Americans to do something dramatic to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, there is something happening at this very moment that should be setting off sirens. Rising CO2 levels are making the oceans more acidic and that change in the chemistry of the seas is disrupting the food chain that ends with you and me….
Researchers are finding that, in several locales, the shells of tiny creatures called pteropods are being thinned and broken down by acidity. People do not eat pteropods, but plenty of fish do. They supply 50% of the diet of pink salmon, and people do eat salmon. It is not hard to understand the biology: If pteropods disappear, salmon and other fish get scarce….
The threat is global. A report by the United Nations Environment Program said, “Fish, including shellfish, contribute 15% of animal protein for three billion people worldwide. A further one billion people rely on fisheries for their primary source of protein…. Fish stocks, already declining in many areas due to over-fishing and habitat destruction now face the new threats posed by ocean acidification.”
Each and every day, humans loft 70 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and the seas absorb a fourth of that. Unless we are feeling suicidal, it is time to change our way of doing business. This is not a matter of finding empathy for our grandchildren who will be stuck living on a simmering, stormy planet because we refuse to end our carbon-burning ways, this is a matter of killing off species that feed us today.
Global warming is the foreboding thunder in the distance. Ocean acidification is the lightning strike in our frontyard, right here, right now.