While global warming and ocean acidification are both caused by manmade carbon-emissions, the gap in public awareness of the two issues is immense. Part of this is due to the fact that signs of global warming were studied years before ocean acidification, as well as the medias constant coverage of global warming. I believe the media is more interested in global warming because of the impact it could eventually have on everyone’s daily life. However, what most people don’t realize is ocean acidification could have an equally large impact. Ocean ecosystem services are an enormous part of our planet’s food supply, economy, and recreation. With ocean acidification occurring at an increasing rate, many of these services may be lost before everyone even realizes what is occurring.
The scientific community is one of the few groups beginning to understand the severity of ocean acidification. Research on the issue has picked up immensely over the last decade, and the results have scientists alarmed. While having data on the issue is critical, scientists cannot do much by themselves to protect the ecosystem services threatened. By working closely with aquaculture managers, however, scientists have the ability to sustain these services in a changing ocean environment.
This combination of aquaculture managers and scientists can work together to adapt to changes already occurring, but to halt the trend of decreasing pH, the general public and politicians need to become more knowledgeable on the situation. For the most part, the general public seems completely unaware of the changes occurring in our oceans. People realize that increased CO2 emissions are doing serious damage to our atmosphere, but have no idea that one-third off all this carbon is soaked up into the oceans. For any meaningful changes to take place, a larger percentage of the public, and in turn politicians, needs to be made aware of the damages ocean acidification can cause. The increase in the public’s awareness of global warming has led to a push towards green energy and other sustainability programs that could ease the burden put on our atmosphere. Yet even with this increased perception of our impact on the planet, no widespread changes have taken effect.
For massive solutions to come into play, politicians must get on board. It is imperative that scientists get the message across about the danger posed by ocean acidification. As of now, there has been very little action by U.S. policymakers to fight ocean acidification. The fact that our book was funded by The National Academies Press, an organization that reports to Congress, is a good sign in that at least some people in Washington have an idea as to what’s going on. However, if ecosystem services are to get any sort of lifeline, politicians must be pressured into taking action, and this action must come from the public.
It really is so strange that OA is so underwhelmingly recognized as so much of global commerce is related to oceans. I also agree that politicians must get involved. Now this may be the conspiracy theorist in me, but I believe that the politicians are informed and simply choose to ignore it as they can still make their money.
Nice title, Jake! Also, I agree with Jacob Goyne’s point about politicians choosing to ignore certain issues!