Posted by: shannynmoore | September 7, 2009

S.O.S.–Acid Ocean

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.
Acid Ocean SOS
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.

Acid Oceans SOSMore on the issue of acidification, thoughts on the day and many pictures coming soon.

For more of John Quigley’s work go here or to watch the film clip on Homer’s S.O.S.




  1. wow! this is amazing! great pics, but scary stuff.

  2. Good job. Everything mankind does needs careful consideration, We have screwed up so much.

  3. Good on you Shannyn for participating and for publicizing this event! If my car wasn’t acting so hinky I really would have loved to take my ‘yak down and have been part of this.

    Cool photos and important message. So, so many crazy problems in our world right now it is truly hard to choose our battles (so many political and environmental causes that need attention but only so many hours in a day.)

  4. The thought of you chanting ‘Aussie Blue Sky’ brings a tear to my eye . . . . 😛

  5. Awesome….

  6. Way to go Shannyn and friends. Thank you for all you do.

  7. Shannyn, how come you are not talking about the gigantic bank of rolling fog that auspiciously swept across Kachemak Bay and blanketed the entire display. I was atop Skyline drive and couldn’t see a thing. It was as if the earth was responding in some way. Not quite sure what mother was trying to tell you, but it really was a very highbrow waste of time and energy. Good choice on everybody using rowboats though, saved gas!

  8. Super pictures and a great cause.

  9. @H.W. Crowfoot, we burned plenty of diesel & gasoline doing the demonstration. We ran the moving “S” pattern seven times. The sea fog rolled in just as the powered boats for the “S”s arrived to que up to run the buoys in the pattern. We were in Mud Bay, right next to the Homer Airport. ATC (air traffic control) wouldn’t let the chopper with the cameras fly during several of our runs through the pattern, as the fixed wing runway was between us and the chopper base. And chopper pilots don’t like to fly in fog, when they can’t see powerlines & things that will knock their birds out of the sky. We were also working the tide. The bigger workboats had to be out of Mud Bay when the tide started going out. There are places out there that are 4 fathoms deep on a 20′ tide and several of those boats needed every bit of that under them to keep their wheels out of the mud.

  10. HW- it was a shame you stayed on the ridge or you would of noticed the heaps of energy created by heaps of people riding their bikes out to the event, families gathering, visitors being wowed by such a show of community cohesiveness- it was spectacular.And that was just the pre-gathering.
    THEN Mother Nature chiming in with her additon of fog from the heat rarely experiecned in these parts of the world, simply emphazing Climate Change! Check out the world press on the event and rethink if it was a waste of time. Yes lots of fuel but that is why it was so thick with Kayakers too. Human energy and dedication to the event… The paddlers stayed for hours. It was awesome, next time don’t stay home, you won’t only miss the action you’ll miss the point.

  11. So glad you made it down here and you were in the BEST boat shannyn! WIth Butler in the Flo-row! THanks for the awesome reporting by the way…. yah we burned some fuel…. but we came together as a community to Share our voice..the fishermen, the kayakers, the bikers, the dogs…the FOG even participated!
    And, we pulled it off! ~amy

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