Healthy Ocean Action — Mud Bay
Homer, Alaska, high tide on Sunday, September 6th, 2009.
Over 100 fishing boats, kayaks, skiffs and sail boats participated in spelling out exactly what we don’t want in our oceans. Acidification. I was so happy to be part of the “O” in S.O.S. To those who shared their shrimp kabobs, home made cookies and a glass of wine while we chanted “Blue Sky”, thank you for reminding me of what I love most in my hometown.
World renown aerial artist John Quigley, who has done similar actions on land and ice, but never before at sea, said, “This message from the sea is a call for people around the world to join in a visual declaration to urge leaders to immediately adopt a treaty that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, stabilizes the climate, and protects the oceans.”
Homer, Alaska is a brilliant location to launch the campaign to fight ocean acidification. When nuclear submarines were proposed for safe harbor in Homer, the citizens said no. “Homer, Alaska — Nuclear Free Zone” bumperstickers are still holding together a few Subarus decades after the fight. Oil platforms don’t litter Kachemak Bay…Homeroids said no. Even the McDonalds has the tiniest golden arch of any franchise…Homer again said no. It’s not political to protect the Oceans, it’s the right thing to do, and for some reason, people in this tiny “Hamlet by the Sea” know their voices will be heard.
Recent research confirms that acidification is caused by billions of tons of carbon dioxide that rise from smokestacks and tailpipes every year and mix into the sea. In seawater, the gas forms an acid that attacks the foundation of marine food webs. The same pollution that drives climate change also undercuts fisheries around the world, especially in the vulnerable North Pacific off Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, which produce more than two thirds of the U.S. seafood harvest. The North Pacific is a global repository for carbon dioxide in the oceans.
The Process of Ocean Acidification
In the past 200 years the oceans have absorbed about one fourth of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by human activities like fossil fuel burning. As CO2 mixes into seawater, it forms carbonic acid. Since the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuel emissions have increased the acidity of the surface oceans—the upper few hundred meters where nearly all fish and marine mammals live— by an average of 30% worldwide. If emissions continue to increase on current trends, the oceans will become more acidic than at any time in the past 20 million years.
More on the issue of acidification, thoughts on the day and many pictures coming soon.