Guest post by Heidi Cullen, MBARI
A just-released scientific report connects a host of ocean changes with human activities that take place largely on land. The report makes clear that to protect the ocean, we must first reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But we must also reduce ocean stresses caused by overfishing and pollution, so the ocean is healthy enough to weather the changes already underway.
In this article by Heidi Cullen we'll delve deeper into the connections between climate degradation and human behavior-- and, how building awareness may help mitigate the degradation.
At the annual meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums we had an interesting conversation with the Director of Veterinary Services and Director of Applied Water Science at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Vet, Dr. Mike Murray, told us he had an unusual medical case, not the usual bird, sea otter or fish, but sick sand dollars. Dr. Mike loves invertebrates (as we do) and wanted to find out what was ailing the animals. Pathology revealed no bacteria or viral infections. So, he turned to Kasie Regnier, in charge of water quality science at the aquarium.
On September 25, 2019 the IPCC released a new special report about the state of the oceans and ice in the changing climate. The conclusions were startling!! Although we’ve been writing about climate crisis and the oceans for a while, the report puts in stark words the extent of the danger the oceans are in now.
The oceans have absorbed massive amounts of the heat and carbon dioxide generated by humans since 1970 – a third of the CO2 and over 90% of the heat— essentially protecting humanity from itself. But there must be a limit to how much heat and CO2 the ocean can absorb and we may be reaching that limit soon.