Ocean acidification is the absorption of carbon dioxide in the ocean. As the level of carbon dioxide rises in the ocean, the water becomes more acidic. This is the subject of “Troubled Oceans at the Bottom of the World” written on Huffington Post Green by Al Gore. According to the post, the oceans around the world are being affected by climate change in various ways.
Ocean acidification is just one of the results of climate change though it has the potential to have a tremendous effect. Ocean acidification can affect the nervous system, blood circulation, the respiratory system and can cause the exoskeletons of marine animals to become brittle and frail. The enormity of this issue will be felt throughout the world. According to the post, “About 1 billion people in the world rely on fish and shellfish as their primary source of dietary protein.” This equates to about 1 out of 7 people worldwide. With fish and other marine life serving as such an important part of the worlds’ diet this is an issue that can no longer be avoided.
Some researchers believe this is, “one of the most critical anthropogenic threats to marine life.” If ocean acidification is not addressed there are many dire consequences. The Southern Ocean absorbs more than 40% of carbon dioxide due to the cold temperature of the water. With such a high percentage of absorption the ecodiversity will change and many species will cease to exist.
In the Antarctic Peninsula, for instance, the temperature rise of the water is impacting marine life in many ways. The post cites king crabs as an example of this change. They relocated to an area that, before warmer water temperatures prevailed, was not a suitable climate creating a ripple in the ecosystem. “The impact of the arrival of these predators, for the first time in millions of years, could be catastrophic for the surrounding ecosystem, which has evolved exotic and unique life forms that have no defenses against crabs.”
Higher water temperatures and ocean acidification are just a few of many results of climate change. The ocean is a vital component to the survival of all species and it is evident that action must be taken sooner rather than later. What will you do to help stop the devastation in our oceans?
The previous ocean film on which MOM filmmaker Susan Rockefeller participated as co-producer, A Sea Change, addresses all of the above issues and presents them in a way that was straight-forward and easy to understand. Most compelling, the film tells the story of a grandfather who, so stricken by the news about ocean acidification and its effects, goes on a journey to understand how this devastation has been coming about and what its outcome can be for the next generation. MOM is an equally personal tale, this time presented by Susan on her own, expressing what is most sacred to her–our environment, our ocean and all its living beings.