I have always been very passionate about green initiatives. Even as child I recognized the importance of energy and environmental conservation. Whether constantly bugging my older brothers to turn the lights out after they left a room or insisting that my friends and I carpool to school every day rather than each being driven by our moms, making tiny steps towards mitigating environmental damages always seemed to be an obvious route to take. Growing up, dinner conversations always included discussions about interesting op-ed articles written by Thomas Friedman and new statistics about carbon dioxide emissions. After watching An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore in 7th grade, I even made my dad help me switch all the light bulbs in our house to eco-friendly ones. Clearly, reducing our carbon footprint is an issue I have always felt very connected to. However, up until my arrival to Duke this fall, my reasonings for feeling as I did about global warming and sustainability ranged from the destruction of our environment to the exploitation of earth’s resources; ocean acidification did not make its way up there. As a matter of fact, before reading about the description for this writing 20 class, I not only had no idea that carbon emissions exacerbate ocean acidification but also did not even know that the dire issue of OA even existed. I was rather shocked when I made this realization. I considered myself an informed and avid proponent of environmental conservation. I read many articles on a regular basis about the damaging ramifications of carbon emissions and even wrote a couple papers in high school involving thorough and extensive research about global warming. However, not once did I come across a resource that used rising rates of ocean acidification as justifications for the mitigation of carbon dioxide output. Perhaps it was referenced or minimally referenced and I had naively overlooked it or dismissed it as unimportant. However the bottom line is that if a person truly passionate about the consequences of global warming is unaware of the issues of ocean acidification, how can the general public, presumably even less informed, be expected to know about it? I truly believe that if the majority of the world’s population knew and understood the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels, they would be motivated and encouraged to make a change and do something about it. However, the sad truth is that the public is not aware of this and thus is guilty of not recognizing that ocean acidification comprises any aspect of our environment, let alone necessary ocean ecosystem services that we and other organisms depend on in order to survive. In order to galvanize efforts towards reducing the effects of global warming and more specifically OA, its effects must be better communicated to the public. Just as everyone probably associates polar ice cap melting and loss of habitats for polar bears with rising world temperatures, people also need to make that connection between carbon dioxide emission rates and ocean acidification. Furthering this understanding and communication can be achieved through a myriad of methods including the use of media, advertisements, school curricula and many others.
Here is the assignment prompt for MP3: Wr20_Fall11_MP3. This file explains the objectives and guidelines for both the proposal and group research paper. Additionally, groups interested in a social science project should download this handout: Wr20_Fall11_socialMP3 and groups interested in the natural sciences should download this handout: Wr20_Fall11_naturalMP3. Finally, there are two folders in the “Readings” folder on Blackboard that contain relevant papers for each type of group.