The ocean is capable of hiding things.
Until recently, people haven’t noticed the extent of the damage they are doing to the ocean systems.
Ocean acidification plays hand-in-hand with global warming.
It’s primarily caused by humans and pollution. They are transmitting carbon dioxide at an alarming rate.
The most important characteristic of the ocean is it provides most of the oxygen humans need to breathe.
Carbon dioxide is rapidly making the ocean much more acidic. Since the Industrial Revolution, the ocean acidity level has risen by 30 percent.
Scientists have demonstrated if people continue to pollute as they are now, the acidity will double by the end of the century.
What does this mean? According to Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, 70 percent of carbon dioxide such as coal, oil and gas finds its way into the ocean.
In turn, the thousands of ocean species that build their protective shells to survive won’t be able to because they can’t conserve enough energy due to the acid level in the waters.
In the next 40 years, shellfish could become extinct. This would cause a huge ripple in the food chain because the shellfish are at the beginning of that food chain.
Scientists have already seen waters in Northern California with a high enough acidity level start to dissolve the shells.
Dungeoness Crabs, oysters, lobsters, mussels and shrimp are already at risk.
People are profoundly altering the ocean’s chemistry.
What can people do? They need to start making conscious decisions to stop putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
This can be as simple as car pooling to work or school, it could be as complex as finding alternate energy sources.
The Earth already is losing some of the ecosystems in the oceans, such as coral bleaching and the deteriorating of shellfish.
Humans are creating a harmful environment for ocean life. They are the largest contributor to ocean acidification, and it’s time to solve this problem.
The ocean is resilient, and if given the chance, it will heal itself.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost