Humans can take action to slow the process of ocean acidification

Humans can take action to slow the process of ocean acidification

Now that we know some of the anthropogenic sources of CO2 in the atmosphere, what can we do about it?  All of the things we have been doing since the industrial revolution to put CO2 into the atmosphere should be examined to find more efficient uses.   There are many solutions available, and there are things that people can do on almost any level to make an impact.  People should understand that some of these changes need to be made on an individual basis, some on the community level, and all the way up to corporations, governments and global organizations.

The burning of fossil fuels is the major contributor to ocean acidification.  Fossil fuels are burned to produce energy, and to make vehicles run.  One of the easiest ways for people to have a positive impact on an individual level is to use less energy.  Many people already think of energy as electricity, so convince people that conserving electricity will save them money and will also reduce the amount of energy their power plant needs to produce.  But fossil fuels are also burned in factories to make products that we use every day.  The saying "reduce, re-use, recycle" also applies to the ocean acidification crisis.  Using less products will lead to a decreased demand to create new product out of new materials.  Every person should be able to think of a way they can consume less in their daily lives.   Transportation is a huge concern, and is one that is difficult for people to make adjustments to.  Driving less and using public transportation may not be a realistic option for everyone, but people can make sure their automobiles run efficiently by keeping the tires properly inflated, getting their cars serviced regularly, and by choosing fuel efficient vehicles.  There are many resources listed below which offer some tips, and also offer ways to engage people in learning about their daily energy choices.

Protecting wildlife has many benefits, but most people don't know that it's an important factor in how the Earth responds to climate change.  Natural places are very resilient to change, but now there are far fewer natural places in most areas.  It is important to preserve existing habitats and to identify more areas that need protection.  Visiting natural parks is a great way to experience nature, but also provides funding for protecting those areas.  Monitoring pollution and nutrient run-off helps protect coral reefs, so they can be healthy enough to withstand global warming and ocean acidification.  Purchasing products that are grown in coexistence with forests and rainforests decreases the need for deforestation for agriculture.  Even eating sustainable seafood can make a difference, because healthy fish populations are essential to the overall success of the coral reefs and the ocean.

Since ocean acidification is yet another side effect of excess CO2, there are many things that people are already doing that help make a difference.  In short, most things that are considered "green" options, or are environmentally friendly, will also help fight the effects of ocean acidification.

  • "The Acid Test" video will discuss some ways to help fight ocean acidification, from individual to big-picture solutions.
  • Pages 28-30 of "Ocean Acidification: effects on marine organisms" show ways to emit less CO2.
  • The Nature Conservancy's carbon footprint calculator is a user-friendly website, and a good place to start for people who are not aware of their impact on the environment.  It will provide them with some options in different aspects of their daily lives.
  • Ocean and Climate Defender is a really fun way to get some ideas about lessening your carbon footprint.  It allows you to make all types of "green" modifications in your community, and also provides a pledge form to encourage people to make a change now!
  • Watch the "Kill-A-Watt" video about how University of Central Florida students started a campus competition to encourage dorm residents to use less energy.  It also provides some really simple, cheap ways to conserve.  If you're interpreting to teens and young adults, these ideas will be really useful!
  • There are several Climate Training Activities listed below, and all feature great interactive ways to interpret to general audiences about their impacts on climate change.
  • Alex Laskey's TED talk about what motivates people to make changes will surprise you!  This video may have an impact on how you encourage visitors to take that next step into action.
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Lesson Take Away: 

Human actions have accelerated ocean acidification, but human actions can also slow down the process!  There are many things we can do on an individual, communtity or global level that will help reduce the effects of ocean acidification.  There are two main goals here: 1) Use and create energy more efficiently so there is less CO2 being put into the atmosphere.  2) Protect marine habitats and wildlife so that the ocean is more resilient and can bounce back from the damage that has already been caused.

Last Updated: December 18, 2013
This is a slideshow in pdf format provided by National Marine Sanctuaries and NOAA.  It does an excellent job of summarizing ocean acidification, posing questions, clarifying rumors and illustrating the effects on different types of marine organisms. ...

This is a slideshow in pdf format provided by National Marine Sanctuaries and NOAA.  It does an excellent job of summarizing ocean acidification, posing questions, clarifying rumors and illustrating the effects on different types of marine organisms.  It also demosntrates the effects on the marine food chain, as well as socio-economic impacts.  There are some solutions mentioned here too, so people can learn some things they can do to help slow the rate of ocean acidification.

At the University of Central Florida, the Department of Sustainability & Energy holds an annual competition to reduce the energy used on campus. The offer incentives and pit dorms against each other in a friendly contest. They are saving tens-of...

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At the University of Central Florida, the Department of Sustainability & Energy holds an annual competition to reduce the energy used on campus. The offer incentives and pit dorms against each other in a friendly contest. They are saving tens-of-thousands of dollars!

The purpose of this activity is to encourage a dialogue between visitors and educators around environmentally friendly actions. The activity helps the visitor find the connections between their lives and their carbon footprint. This activity is...

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The purpose of this activity is to encourage a dialogue between visitors and educators around environmentally friendly actions. The activity helps the visitor find the connections between their lives and their carbon footprint. This activity is designed for adults, families, or kids ages 9 and up with their families. Younger children can help place the blocks, but will probably not be active participants in the discussion.

How to use these materials:

Start by opening the document titled ‘guide to ecofootprint.’ There you will find basic information, a description of all the files, and other resources you need to assemble the activities.

Keep in touch!

All of the activities developed by the New England Aquarium under the NOAA Climate Change Collaborative are available for free use by non-profit organizations. To aid us in future development, please tell us a bit about you and how you intend to use the activities. Click here.

Have you used this activity?

If you have taught, modified, or otherwise used this activity, please comment below - what age/setting? How did you use it? What other activities were involved?

This activity helps explain the carbon cycle and the imbalance in the carbon cycle. A quick look at some of the largest carbon sources helps visitors understand that the imbalance is anthropogenic and leads to important discussions about actions we...

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This activity helps explain the carbon cycle and the imbalance in the carbon cycle. A quick look at some of the largest carbon sources helps visitors understand that the imbalance is anthropogenic and leads to important discussions about actions we can take to reduce our carbon footprint. This activity is designed for adults, families, or kids ages 9 and older with their families. Some younger children have been engaged by this activity and can help with sorting.

How to use these materials:

Start by opening the document titled ‘guide to sink or source.’ There you will find basic information, a description of all the files, and other resources you need to assemble the activities.

Keep in touch!

All of the activities developed by the New England Aquarium under the NOAA Climate Change Collaborative are available for free use by non-profit organizations. To aid us in future development, please tell us a bit about you and how you intend to use the activities. Click here.

Have you used this activity?

If you have taught, modified, or otherwise used this activity, please comment below - what age/setting? How did you use it? What other activities were involved?

We all know that certain personal behaviors are good for the environment. However, the connection between these good behaviors and the ocean life we care about can be hard to follow. The goal of this activity is to help make those connections a little...

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We all know that certain personal behaviors are good for the environment. However, the connection between these good behaviors and the ocean life we care about can be hard to follow. The goal of this activity is to help make those connections a little more concrete. For each of these behaviors, the images and text will show a connection to CO2, and therefore to climate change. However, as an educator, you can feel free to make connections to other ocean issues—it’s all connected. Participants line up panels to create comic strips that illustrate the logical connection between individual behaviors and their climate-level impacts. This activity is designed for participants aged 7 and older (younger participants may need help with reading.)

How to use these materials:

Open the Instruction Manual file. Download either the full size (4"x4") or double size panels and print them on cardstock to do the activity.

The Heat Trapping Blanket images are included in the Panel Images zip files, and are included separately for use in other activities.

Keep in touch!

All of the activities developed by the New England Aquarium under the NOAA Climate Change Collaborative are available for free use by non-profit organizations. To aid us in future development, please tell us a bit about you and how you intend to use the activities. Click here.

Artwork for this activity was provided by Maris Wicks.

Have you used this activity?

If you have taught, modified, or otherwise used this activity, please comment below - what age/setting? How did you use it? What other activities were involved?

What makes the biggest impact? My insulation or my windows? How about appliances - should I replace them all? Household energy use accounts for 21% of the CO2 emissions in the US annually.  What can you do to reduce the carbon footprint of your...

What makes the biggest impact? My insulation or my windows? How about appliances - should I replace them all?

Household energy use accounts for 21% of the CO2 emissions in the US annually.  What can you do to reduce the carbon footprint of your house?  Through an interactive dollhouse, visitors exchange appliances, windows, insulation, and energy sources to reduce the impact of their housing. 

Keep in touch!

All of the activities developed by the New England Aquarium under the NOAA Climate Change Collaborative are available for free use by non-profit organizations. To aid us in future development, please tell us a bit about you and how you intend to use the activities. Click here.

 

 

Have you used this activity?

If you have taught, modified, or otherwise used this activity, please comment below - what age/setting? How did you use it? What other activities were involved?

It's amazing how humans behave based on what they believe to be the state of the world. This TED Talk emphasizes how insights into human behavior are helping move people towards action on energy that helps to mitigate climate change.

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It's amazing how humans behave based on what they believe to be the state of the world. This TED Talk emphasizes how insights into human behavior are helping move people towards action on energy that helps to mitigate climate change.