August 30, 2016

Climate change is very much a young people issue. Worrying stats such as, “by 2050, fish stocks will effectively disappear” has a real affect on our lives. It has me thinking about what my dinner menu will look like when I am nearing retirement age. As sea levels rise, I try to imagine what my beloved coastline in my hometown of San Diego will look like as I grow old. We hear calls to action from the Paris Climate Summit that make real change seem possible, if not fleeting, and I see passion in my peers to make small changes in their lives for the general betterment of our planet.

San Diego.

I live in Colorado now, far from any ocean, and while I see passion for change in my generation, I also see ignorance about where our energy should be focused. The ocean is undeniably important to our lives and the health of our planet and is not often at the center of our worries. Because of the nature of my job, I am fairly well educated about the issues that our ocean faces and the ways that I can make a difference, such as never buying products with microbeads, avoiding eating shrimp and other non-sustainable seafood options, and petitions that pertain to protecting marine life.

Regrettably, the vast majority of people aren’t surrounded by the refrains of ocean-lovers and therefore are unaware or undereducated about the plight of the ocean and its inhabitants. The collapse of the Great Barrier Reef due to ocean acidification has been making headlines recently. What many people don’t realize is the link between climate change and ocean acidification, which occurs because the ocean absorbs 40% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By reducing our carbon footprint, we can reduce the toll on the ocean. Ocean literacy is key to grabbing the attention of the planet’s shareholders, especially our young and passionate minds. With education comes action, and it can not come soon enough.

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