It’s the apocalypse you’ve never heard of.
We are on the verge of permanently losing the oceans as mankind has always known them.
It’s basic chemistry. Carbon Dioxide from burning fossil carbon goes into the air, and then is largely absorbed by the sea. In doing so, the sea turns more acidic.
If “business as usual” carbon emissions continue this century, the fate of the oceans will become locked in by the inexorable dissolution of CO2 from the air into the seas. Locked in to converting to largely carbonate-free seas dominated by bacterial slimes, jellyfish and worms. As far as scientists can tell, the seas have never acidified this fast since life has existed.
That scenario means the end of whales, dolphins, seals and thousands of other species as the seas revert to primordial conditions which haven’t existed since the last major extinction event.
It isn’t debatable. It’s happening now. The oceans are already 30% more acidic than they have been since humans have existed. Animals with calcium shells are starting to dissolve. By mid-century – unless there are major changes in carbon emissions – the coral reefs will be dying and a great oceanic die-off will be unavoidable.
There is no natural mechanism to reverse this other than the slow process of silicate rock weathering. If ocean acidification is allowed to remove calcium carbonate from the seas, those conditions may last hundreds of thousands of years. Yet that change may be “locked in” during the lifetimes of those of us now alive.
Whether humans can thrive in a future world of anoxic seas of bacterial sludge is an open question.
Climate change from CO2 is scary, and should be. The planetary heating we lock in today will be with us for tens of thousands of years.
But a lot of people think it isn’t real. That it’s falsified by the existence of winter. That it’s all about faulty scientific models which might get the fine details wrong.
Well, acidification can’t be argued away, and it may last millions of years. It will destroy the sea life we’ve known, punch holes in every oceanic food web, destroy “K-type” complex species which can’t cope with the speed of change. The earth’s coral reefs will fizz away like an alka-seltzer in stomach acid. And it has already begun.
We’re putting a face on Ocean Acidification, the “other” CO2 issue. It’s the face of the whales, dolphins, seals, fishes and seabirds that we have saved over the past three decades. We are pointing out that they cannot, even in principle, adapt fast enough to survive seas which are 150% as acid as those they evolved in. As the seas WILL BE by 2100 if dramatic changes aren’t made.
Within the lives of many children already alive, the seas and their inhabitants could be lost to humanity forever.
This is the issue of our lives. It’s undeniable, it’s happening now, and it can permanently end the world we have known in the space of a single human lifetime.
To prevent disaster, we must do nothing less than change the energy usage and habits of the entire human species. And we must do it now. Join us.
Click here to donate to the FutureSeas campaign.
This will be the most difficult environmental challenge ever. Yet at stake is the future of our world.
The professional strategists and campaigners at EarthTrust have set their sights on making this the issue of our time. To engage people in a way “climate change” has thus far failed to. This campaign is beginning at the beginning of 2014, as the planet passes 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The campaign will be about human behavior, from denial to heroism. It will be about demonstrating that lower-energy human lives can be happier lives. It will be about embracing a real human future for the next hundred thousand years; a future which is now in existential peril.
This is the big one. We’re on the cutting edge, as usual. Be there with us. This is a fight the earth can’t afford to lose, and your contribution WILL be important.
Newsweek on Acidification Disaster
Read it HERE. Then come back and join the ET campaign.
“In the great halls of La Boqueria, Barcelona’s central market, tourists, foodies and cooks gather every day to marvel at the fresh food, like pilgrims at the site of a miracle. The chief shrines are the fish counters, where thousands of sea creatures making up dozens of species gleam pink and gray on mounds of ice. But to many ocean scientists this is not a display of the ocean’s bounty but a museum—by the end of this century, many of these animals may be history due to man’s reckless abuse of the planet. As we keep dumping greenhouse gases into the air, the oceans keep sucking them up, making the waters deadly to their inhabitants.”
“There’s a profound game-changing event going on in the life of the sea,” says Callum Roberts, a professor of marine conservation at the University of York, England. “The fact is that changes in alkalinity are going to cause massive reorganization of marine life, impacts on marine food webs, productivity, all sorts of things. We’re heading for a car crash here.”
ET plans to lead the global fight on Acidification. It’s our next big thing.