In crises that society faced throughout history, people tend to ignore distant problems that do not show up in front of their eyes. Americans shrugged off the threat posed by the Axis powers in World War 2 until the Japanese attacked American soil at Pearl Harbor. Al-Qaeda, an organization barely publicized before the 21st century, suddenly dominated the minds of every airline passenger for years after the 9/11 incident. The same indifference towards hidden but dangerous threats could be said about the way ocean acidification is viewed today.
For the majority of the world’s population who don’t see the ocean on an everyday basis, ocean acidification is a problem shoved aside for others to take care of. Even policymakers are guilty of this indifference and apathy. Governors from inland states such as Kansas or Minnesota would be very hesitant to shell out taxpayer money to decrease carbon emissions to protect crabbing industries in Maryland. The root of the inaction about ocean acidification is that individuals not connected with marine activities in any way, recreationally or vocationally, perceive no apparent harm towards themselves.
But their perception of a lack of danger is errant. Ocean acidification can have significant secondary repercussions beyond declining fishing revenues. As argued in my perspectives article, a debilitated fishing industry may very well precipitate a recession in a national economy and even on the global economy as well. Once workers in the fishing industry are displaced, they would need to cut back on consumer spending, such as a purchasing new Xbox 360 or a laptop. Across the board, every industry, from electronics to clothing, would suffer a hit due to declining fishing industries. A very similar phenomenon occurred with the recent global recession, where a housing market crisis in the United States negatively impacted economies of nations across the globe. If the world’s citizens don’t care at all about the aesthetic value of having pristine coral reefs or other marine habitats around the world, they should at least realize that their own small-businesses are at risk of suffering a financial hit along with fishing industries.
This notion that everybody will be affected by ocean acidification, even through cascading effects, needs to be publicized. This way, when voters express high interest about environmental protection, Democrats and Republicans alike will be forced to face this issue and plan to address it in office. When writing up policies, there needs to be careful attention towards making sure that every factory, no matter the geographic location, shares the responsibility of reducing carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide emitted from a Nebraskan firm will eventually diffuse throughout the entire atmosphere and maybe dissolve in the waters of the Indian Ocean, negatively affecting fishers in Bangladesh. Because the threat of ocean acidification is relevant for a wide range of people, the solution to fix it must be concerted as well.
I really liked your post it was very well written and I think the title is really creative.
I think you make several strong points. I agree that the severity of the issue and the notion that everybody will be affected must be publicized.
Nicely written, Jonathan! Not only would OA have cascading ecological effects, but there would be cascading economic effects, as well. Uncertainties surrounding these effects makes it difficult to communicate the urgency of the problem.