The oceans are getting warmer, and this is causing coral reef bleaching, disease, marine dead zones that lack any trace of oxygen and are impossible for marine life to live in. There’s also the plastic issue that gets a lot of attention due to its unsightly nature. So, what is the best way to save the Oceans?
The cause of ocean warming is – global warming – it’s the release of Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The atmosphere warms, this warms the seas and oceans and leads to all sorts of nasty things like sea-level increase, weather pattern changes, climate unpredictability, the emergence of superbugs, and of course the coral bleaching and disease, marine dead zones, and species destruction mentioned earlier. You name it; we’ve got it.
What can I do to save the Oceans?
First of all, be aware that everything is interconnected. Oceans, land, seas, forests, it’s all a working functioning system. If one thing gets out of whack, then it causes something else to get out of whack. Raise awareness. Be the annoying family member at dinner or the office. Climate change is everyone’s problem.
Cut out as much carbon dioxide (CO2) causing activity you can.
Take public transportation, lower on-grid electricity consumption (solar is ok, not coal burning). Lower meat consumption, grow your veggies, drive less, fly less, be mindful of where your goods are produced and how they’re transported. Buy local.
Lobby your politicians.
Write your representatives, first and foremost, they want to get reelected, and if the climate is on the ticket, then they’ll at least raise awareness about it. The more of us who know and talk about climate change and back our talk up with purchase decisions, will put pressure on politicians and polluting corporations.
The bad news is that our cumulative individual actions will make only a small dent in the total amount of CO2.
Grow your own food.
Think about the carbon footprint of going to the grocery store, all those fruits, veggies, and herbs had to get there somehow, When you grow your food at home, be in your garden or indoors you’re helping to do the littlest bit to help fight climate change while also eating better. If you want a super-easy way to start, check out Hamama Greens, or the Click & Grow.
What is the most effective way to cool the oceans?
Plant trees and restore forests. Individually, get involved with local groups and reforestation efforts. Mass reforestation is the least expensive, and most effective way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and in turn, cool the oceans. The question that remains is – is can we pull this off on a large enough scale and do it in time, the oceans are getting warmer at an accelerated rate. Right now, the odds are against us.
Many people think that planting trees can stop climate change, but the truth is this isn’t enough. It is an overly simplistic approach to a carbon dioxide abatement problem that is inherently much more complex. To mitigate climate change, we have to look at the problem holistically. We need to take into consideration not only the topic of deforestation but its causes. Be they political, economic, sociological, technical, or legal. We also need to change the way we consume, partially, by growing as much of our own food as we can.
Politicians can’t guarantee conservation.
Planting a tree doesn’t mean that it’s going to be protected. Governments, despite their best efforts, aren’t very good at maintaining a policy. Parties change, and with them, environmental protections get wiped away with a fell swoop of a pen.
However, if forests are on private land, then the issue becomes much more complicated. Now we’re exploring property seizure, which is a much more difficult task to accomplish, across the developed, and the developing world.
By owning the land and mineral rights to the areas we reforest, we can ensure their preservation.
Buying land and planting trees is better economically.
While land prices vary across regions. We’ve identified areas in Central and Latin America where we can reforest an acre of land for a variable cost of ~$2500 to ~$14,500 per acre, including land, for the first year. Then $6,000 for each subsequent year for a maximum of two.
Compare this to the $1/tree that is touted by many organizations, and we see direct cost savings per acre of about 50% when using the Miyawaki method, estimating 43,560 trees/acre.
The afforestation in each target area should also provide economic benefit to its residents, by injecting that capital into local economies. Land ownership also provides us certain rights, possession, control, collateral, etc.
Planting trees by themselves isn’t enough.
What we ought to be thinking about is about making the greatest impact over time, ecological conservation, reforestation, and environmental replenishment. Not to mention the environmental benefits that come along with reforestation, like filtered and stored water, cleaner air, maintaining biodiversity, and ecosystem restoration, to name a few.
Let’s start with the basic facts, going zero waste is not easy. Especially if you live in any kind of urban or suburban environment where single-use plastic items are next to impossible not to consume.
Think about it, every trip to the supermarket results in you bringing home plastic bags, plastic containers, and plastic packaging, some of which is non-recyclable, making it extremely difficult to cut single-use plastics out of your life.
Then you look at detergents, cleaning supplies and the like, and another problem presents itself. Many of the products will claim to be “eco-friendly,” but much of their friendliness is nothing more than greenwashing. Many products in this category will contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment, that can kill insects, plankton, and harm marine life.
One of my big pet peeves about the way our culture has developed is that when something breaks, we just throw it out, and get something new. We constantly buy, upgrade, and consume. So when a wooden dish rack we’ve had for ~3 years broke, we could have chucked it and bought a new one for ~$10 – 15, but instead, I decided to fix it. So how do you fix a wooden dish rack, and why even bother?
The reasons were as follows:
1. Don’t throw things out that don’t need to be thrown out.
2. Don’t buy things no matter how inexpensive to replace something easily fixable.
3. Save time by not going to the store to buy a new one, or, save packaging, carbon etc… by not having one shipped to us, and spending the 15 mins to look for the right dish rack on Amazon or some other e-commerce site.
4. Household items can be easily fixed in about the same amount of time it takes to order a new one.
We’re really excited to join a CSA this summer. Our first CSA delivery won’t be ready for another week and already we can’t wait to taste our seasonal goodies. If you’re not familiar with the concept, here’s a brief overview of the what and why of joining a CSA.
CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is a concept that brings together local farmers with local customers. While specific CSAs vary, customers generally sign up for a weekly or biweekly supply of fresh, seasonal and local fruit and veggies, which may be supplemented by other products like eggs, meat, honey, spices, beer or milk. We’ll be picking up our CSA weekly at a chill local bar here in Brooklyn. (more…)
Why are peat bogs important? Let’s start off with some facts. Peat bogs are a massive carbon sink and aid in the storage of carbon, containing more locked away carbon that the world’s forests. Peat covers 2-3% of the earth’s surface making it relatively scarce. Forests for example cover 31%. Using peat as either fuel, or in gardening, releases carbon back into the atmosphere. Peat is not regarded as a renewable due to its extraction rate in industrialized countries. Estimates put peat bog mass harvested each year at 60 times less than the mass that accumulates. Using peat is not sustainable. (more…)
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