Ocean acidification is a fairly recent topic that has been introduced to the public. Sustainability however, has been seen as compromised since the introduction of global warming and greenhouse gasses. I greatly believe that many members of the audience such as the general public, professionals, and other stake holders have not recognized the interconnection between sustainability and ocean acidification. Ocean acidification occurs because oceans consume a lot of the excess carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere, which in return, lowers the PH of the ocean. The lowering of PH can have detrimental effects on individual species such as shellfish and coral reefs, but it may also have significant malignant effects on an ocean’s ecosystem. For example, during 2007- 2009, Taylor shellfish farms observed a eighty percent decline in oyster larvae reductions (1). Other studies illustrate that an acidifying ocean can cease the development of coral reefs (2). It is apparent that ocean acidification can compromise the sustainability of many species!
Even though I believe that some members of the audience ( general public, and various stakeholders) do not know realize that compromise, I do believe that scientist, fishery professionals and policy makers have had a long understanding of the effects of ocean acidification. Scientist are perpetually conducting research about the effects of ocean acidification on different species, marine ecosystems, and even economies, therefore I am pretty sure that they have recognized that ocean acidification is a potential hazard for sustainability. Fishery professionals are realizing the effect that ocean acidification has on the sustainbility of their fisheries, because their source of income (fisheries) are being depleted by the acidification of the ocean ( as stated earlier by Taylor Shellfishs Farms). The disconnect between the public audiences and the scientist/fishery professionals are the policy makers. Policy makers are constantly being swarmed by scientist about the negative effects of ocean acidification, however the lack of priority that they give the issue has led to the discontinuity between the audience members.
I have written a perspective article that explains what scientist should research and what scientist should present to the policy makers in order to eliminate the discontinuity. Scientists need to introduce the economic impacts that ocean acidification has. Policy makers will be more willing to ponder upon the effects of ocean acidification if their wallet is being effected. With that said, scientists should conduct research to explain any indirects effects that ocean acidification has on the economy through sustainability. Scientists could argue, for example, that ocean acidification leads the the decline of coral reefs, which is a major contributor to the marine tourism industry, which is the largest contributor to the United States’ GDP.
2- Riegl, B., Bruckner, A., Coles, S. L., Renaud, P. and Dodge, R. E. (2009), Coral Reefs. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1162: 136–186.
doi: 10.1111/j.1749- 6632.2009.04493.x.