Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Sealife at risk from rapid acidification

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This might have been picked up here by the local press but if so I missed it.

The study referenced was published on Friday in the journal Science. The increase in CO2 emissions is taken up by seawater, which turns it into carbonic acid. The survey was done of our coastline – the Pacific from Canada to Mexico – and the rate of change is much faster than had been anticipated.

“It’s very worrying,” said Dr Carol Turley, at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. “The marine food web is extremely complex so [the effects are] very hard to predict. Whether it will support the kind of food web we are used to seeing and depending on in future is anyone’s guess really.”

But we are already seeing declining fish stocks and changes in species seen off our coast. And we have already badly damaged our local marine environment by allowing salmon farming, dumping partially treated and untreated sewage, over fishing using trawl nets that leave the ocean floor denuded of all life, plus all that plastic waste and oil spills. Throw into that the idea that we can continually expand our port onto sensitive habitat areas like the mudflats, and maybe drilling for oil and gas in areas currently closed, and the possibility that there will be edible fish and other sea food seems very uncertain indeed.

And we actually need to be eating more fish, if we are concerned for our health, as we know that red meat is not a good choice environmentally, ecologically or from a dietary perspective.

It was not that long ago – well alright maybe it was, as in those days it was a BBS on a dial up modem – when I asked what we expected to do when we had cut down the last tree and taken the last fish. Which was a rhetorical flourish that got me labelled as an “ecoloony” but it now seems to be uncomfortably closer to the truth.

I also have the distinct impression that the people who run things in BC and Canada are still blind to what is happenning, and dismiss rather too easily the concerns that more and more of their constituents are expressing about what sort of future our gas guzzling ways are bringing us.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 25, 2008 at 7:47 am

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