Do you or any of parents work in the fishing industry? Do you or any of your parents eat fish? Do you or any of your parents live near the coast? On this page, I’ll be explaining how greenhouse gasses have been having a dangerous impact on the ocean and in turn, the fishing industries and people who live on the coasts.
How has greenhouse gases been impacting the ocean and as a result, the fishing industries and people who live on the coasts? What can be done about this?
My whole life, I’ve always lived on the East coast. So close to the water in fact that my daily commute allows me to always pass by the ocean every weekday. With the rising ocean levels, it’ll cause more flooding and threaten infrastructures like roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, etc. where my family and I live. It’ll also cause more destructive storms. The ocean is also getting more acidic and warmer, causing fish to travel northward, disrupting fish industries and in turn affecting the United States economy.
When I initially started my Catalyst Conference project, I decided that I wanted to create an infographic to inform viewers of this sometimes overlooked problem and how to combat this problem. I started with some sketches, found designer inspiration, and created a mood board (this is all included in the powerpoint and video).
Greenhouse gasses (like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride) are created by things like generating electricity and heat by burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. This is becoming a problem because greenhouse gasses are being absorbed by the ocean, causing it to be more acidic which threatens coastal ecosystems and marine life, some of these marine animals are what people rely on as a food source or a source of income. These greenhouse gases are also causing global warming which warms up the ocean and causes it to rise, threatening infrastructures that are important for things like local jobs, and causes flooding which threatens the lives of people living near the coast.
- According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its Fifth Assessment Report, not only is there more than 95 percent chance that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet, but also, there’s a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years. Our modern civilization depends on industrial activated that have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. ” – “Climate Change Causes: A Blanket around the Earth.” NASA, NASA, 5 Feb. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/causes/.
- The global sea level has risen about 8 inches in the last century. However, the rate in which the sea level has risen in the last two decades is nearly double that of the last century and is accelerating slightly every year. -“Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?” NASA, NASA, 26 Mar. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.
- Tropical ocean surface temperatures may rise by as much as 4.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century and in turn, we could expect the frequency of extreme storms to increase by as much as 60 percent by that time. – “Warming Seas May Increase Frequency of Extreme Storms – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” NASA, NASA, 28 Jan. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/news/2837/warming-seas-may-increase-frequency-of-extreme-storms/.
- “ The pH of the ocean has fallen by 0.1 pH units since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. This may seem like a small change but it represents approximately a 30 percent increase in acidity. Predictions show that the ocean will continue to get more acidic as it continues to absorb carbon dioxide. Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels show that by the end of this century, ocean could be 150 percent more acidic. Studies have shown that the lower environmental calcium carbonate saturation states, caused by the increasing acidity, might have a huge effect on calcifying species like oysters, deep sea corals and shallow water corals, clams, sea urchins, and calcareous plankton. Worldwide, more than a billion people rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein. Food security and jobs around the U.S. depend on fish in our oceans. – What Is Ocean Acidification?, www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/What is Ocean Acidification?
- Almost 40% of the population in the United States lives in high population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms. According the U.N Atlas of the Oceans, 8 out of the 10 largest cities in the world are near the coast. In places near the coastlines around the world, the rising seas threaten infrastructure like roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, oil and gas wells, power plants, sewage treatment plants, etc that are necessary for local jobs and regional industries. It also causes more frequent flooding that may be dangerous, disruptive, and expensive. The rising sea level creates strain on coastal ecosystems that are habitats for fish. – Lindsey, Rebecca. Climate Change: Global Sea Level | NOAA Climate.gov, 1 Aug. 2018, www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-sea-level.
- You can make help deal with this problem by doing something as small as reducing your personal contribution to global warming and set an example for others by using less gasoline, natural gas, oil, and electricity in your daily life, use more public transportation to reduce the amount of gas you burn. – “What Can I Do About Climate Change?” Union of Concerned Scientists, www.ucsusa.org/what-can-i-do-about-climate-change.
- There are many ways to create change. It can be something as small as reducing carbon emissions by using less gasoline, natural gas, oil, electricity and taking public transportation more.