Archive for October, 2010
Story on Democracy Now!, a daily independent radio and TV news program:
Should an oil giant responsible for the worst spill in US history play a role in what public school children learn about the environment? Well, if you’re in California, there’s a good chance they will. BP has helped develop the new environmental curriculum for California’s public schools. The curriculum will be taught to over six million pupils in some 1,000 districts. BP employees were part of a state-appointed team that crafted the program’s “guiding principles.”
By, Rudy Bonn
Reef Relief’s Director of Marine Projects
When most people consider Climate Change, they fail to realize that most of Earth’s climate is significantly influenced by the salt water ocean that covers approximately 72% of the Earth’s surface to an average depth of over two miles. Winds, currents, precipitation, and other natural phenomenon are produced by the interaction of the Sun and its unique properties, and the world ocean and its unique properties.
For a simplified example, the hydrological cycle begins with the sun’s heating of oceanic waters; evaporation; rising and cooling; transport; condensing to form clouds; falling as rain; the water is then absorbed as groundwater or it runs off eventually reaching the ocean again, or it is released back into the atmosphere through transpiration and the cycle repeats itself.
Also, when people think of Climate Change, they think of carbon dioxide emissions, but fail to realize that the world ocean serves as a major carbon sink for all that carbon dioxide we are putting into the atmosphere. The world ocean absorbs 1/3 of all carbon dioxide presently being emitted into the atmosphere via man-made (anthropogenic) sources. The ocean is, at present, the largest carbon sink on the planet and it is becoming out of balance due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide.
In other words, the pH level in the world ocean is demonstrating an alarming trend towards becoming more acidic. pH, stands for potential hydrogen, and is the measure of hydrogen ion concentration. Fresh water as a pH of seven and is considered neutral, anything above 7 is considered to be more basic; anything below 7 is trending towards becoming more acidic.
In fact, a recent study suggests that by the year 2100, the pH of oceanic waters could fall by 0.5 units representing a three-fold increase in hydrogen ion concentrations; something that has not been observed for hundreds of millennia! The average pH of the world ocean is about 8; back in 1791, before the industrial age, the average pH was about 8.179. With the dawn of the 21st century, the net change was about -0.11, representing a 30% increase in hydrogen ion concentrations.
What does this mean? It means that ocean acidification is climate change’s evil twin. Animals like corals, pteropods, coccolithophores, diatoms, foraminiferans, and other calcifying organisms could be negatively impacted by dissolution as the result of falling pH levels in the world ocean.
Some of these organisms form the basis of marine food webs; others such as coral reefs provide habitat and food for as much as 25% of all ocean dwellers. Many nations, including ours and especially our own state of Florida depend upon healthy coral reef ecosystems.
It is even suggested that decreases in the pH of seawater could have an effect upon cloud cover over the surface of the Earth due to loss of coccolithophores in the surface waters and the effect that would have on the Earth’s albedo.
In case you are wondering, albedo is the measure of how strongly an object (earth in this case) reflects light from a light source such as the Sun!
What can we do? Well, we as individuals can learn ways to reduce our carbon footprints, and there are many ways in which to do so.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us reach the $12,000 mark. However, we still need your help to reach our goal. Your support today gives our coral reefs support tomorrow.
Your donation will help to support the following programs:
- Discover Coral Reefs School Program
- Coral Camp
- Coastal Clean-Ups
- Community coastal clean-up events year round
- Reef Education
- Reef Relief Environmental Center
- BP Oil Spill Response
Reef Relief Events, November 1 – 7
Reef Relief Environmental Center Open House
Monday – Friday 11/1-11/5
Reef Relief will host a week long “Explore the Reef” Open House, Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm, at the Reef Relief Environmental Center at 631 Greene Street in Key West, behind the Conch Republic Seafood Company.
The Environmental Center introduces visitors to coral reef ecosystems, its threats and what can be done to protect our coastal resources. The center features a diorama of a healthy and a damaged coral reef that identifies conditions needed for healthy coral growth as well as major threats to the coral reef ecosystem as a whole. A Google Earth Oceans exhibit enables viewers to visit coral reefs around the world. The center’s theater shows films related to coastal resource issues.
In celebration of Eco Week, Reef Relief will show feature films daily at 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm.
Monday: Waters of Wonder: Discover the beauty of coral reefs, their importance and why they must be saved. Filmed by local underwater photographer Tom Jackson and narrated by Reef Relief’s former Educational Director Joel Biddle. 49 minutes
Tuesday: IMAX Deep Sea: Narrated by Academy Award nominees Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet and produced by the makers of the IMAX movie Into the Deep, this stunning film is an exploration of the world beneath the sea and its bizarre and exotic inhabitants. From translucent jellyfish to giant octopuses to scorpion fish, viewers will be introduced to a host of unique creatures, all completely dependent on one another for their survival. 41 minutes
Wednesday: Coral Reef Adventure: By way of IMAX technology, be transported below the ocean’s surface to an amazing underwater world, as explorers Howard and Michele Hall dive on a coral reef in the pristine waters of the South Pacific. With Jean-Michel Cousteau, deep reef scientist Richard Pyle and Fijian diver Rusi Vulakoro, the team explores and captures on film one of the most beautiful places on Earth … in all its fragile splendor. Liam Neeson provides narration. 43 minutes
Thursday: The Cove: Tells one of the most inspiring true stories of our time. When an elite team of activists, filmmakers and free divers embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Japan, they shine a light on a dark and deadly secret. This unforgettable story has inspired audiences around the world to action and raised hopes that thousands of the most magnificent wild animals on Earth can be saved. 96 minutes
Friday: Waters of Wonder encore: Discover the beauty of coral reefs, their importance and why they must be saved. Filmed by local underwater photographer Tom Jackson and narrated by Reef Relief’s former Educational Director Joel Biddle. 49 minutes
For more information call (305)294-3100 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, 08 October 2010 - ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies
The “turtle and dugong capital of the world”, the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Torres Strait region, faces increased pressure under climate change from human actions such as fishing, hunting, onshore development and pollution.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2010) — Whale feces — should you be forced to consider such matters — probably conjures images of, well, whale-scale hunks of crud, heavy lumps that sink to the bottom. But most whales actually deposit waste that floats at the surface of the ocean, “very liquidy, a flocculent plume,” says University of Vermont whale biologist, Joe Roman.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 13, 2010) — Hopes that coral reefs might be able to survive, and recover from, bleaching caused by climate change may have grown dimmer for certain coral species, according to new research by University at Buffalo marine biologists published this week in PLoS One.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 13, 2010) — Researchers looking at corals in the western tropical Pacific Ocean have found records linking a profound shift in the depth of the division between warm surface water and colder, deeper water traceable to recent global warming.
This Sunday, 10/10/10, in every corner of the globe, groups will gather to support solutions to the climate change crisis. From solar panels to community gardens, wind turbines to bike workshops, we’ll start to change our world from the bottom up.
Oceana will be sponsoring a Key West event to collect hand written letters to our Senators to urge the government to ban any further offshore drilling. We will be taking photos and broadcasting them to show the support that we have built here in Key West and demonstrate the passion we have for our ocean environment and the change that we want to see happen. We will be holding fact signs about oil dependence and alternative energy stretching from the intersection of Truman and Duval St to the Southernmost Pier. There will be several tables set up with snacks, and letter writing materials at Southernmost Pier (end of Duval St by Southernmost Hotel). There will be music AND anyone who comes and gets 5 letters written will get an Oceana T-shirt!
When: Noon to 2 pm, meet at Southernmost pier.
Where: From the intersection of Truman St and Duval St., along Duval Street, stretching to Southernmost Pier.
Come, bring your friends!
Starting October 10, JustGive will add $10 to every donation made for 10 days.* a single donation from each donor will qualify for the additional $10 from JustGive. Donations as small as $10 are accepted. Click the link and select Reef Relief to make a donation.