Monday, 12 December 2016
The importance of phytoplankton
One of the effects of climate change that is -strangely- hardly ever talked about, is that it depletes the oxygen levels in our oceans. Most people don't really see the harm in this, because they see themselves as separate from nature, oceans and other species, but the truth is that everything is interconnected, and the oceans are extremely important for human survival.
The vast majority of the oxygen we breathe comes from the oceans, or more specifically: from phytoplankton. If the oceans suffocate, then so do we. Nevertheless, due to continued overfishing and the rising temperatures of the oceans as a result of climate change, we have been creating oceanic dead zones like there is no tomorrow (and if we continue, there indeed won't be a tomorrow) and yet most people do not seem to feel overly concerned. At the same time we have been steadily cutting down rainforests, so it almost seems like we want to make sure that we don't make it out alive.
I hope we do though, and that we all start to take this problem seriously, and make the necessary changes in our lives (**NB: this link contains suggestions that will not be sufficient anymore to avert climate change, but which can offer a way for you to get started. Eventually (and rather sooner than later) a carbon neutral - and preferably carbon negative- lifestyle is the only way to go**).
Why are people not massively taking action?
The 'consensus' among the public seems to be that they won't be personally affected by climate change, they will still have time when disaster strikes, or perhaps that others should fix it. However, this is not so. When the oceans suffocate, then oxygen levels are likely to drop down to levels that are no longer sufficient for humans to survive, which will give us just a few more minutes on the planet (however much time is needed to suffocate) before we all go extinct. This shift is most likely to happen suddenly, without warning (other than the many warnings we have already had) and therefore result in almost instant, global human extinction - along with most other life on the planet. There will be nowhere to hide either. No safe zones.
As we are all contributing to climate change with carbon output, we are all partly responsible for this and so it is up to us all to lower our collective carbon footprints, all the way down to zero and ideally into the negative - before it is too late. (Going moneyless can be a huge step in the right direction! I personally believe this is the only solution - as money has become so intimately connected with destruction to the planet, but I am always open to other suggestions.)
Remember that whatever objections you may have to making changes, whatever difficulties you project, or whatever you may think is more important for you to focus on right now, it all fades into insignificance when you consider the alternative: extinction.
Links for further reading:
Please read this article about oxygen depletion, which I think is the most important research related to climate change that is currently out there: (you need a university subscription in order to read the complete article, but if you don't have one you can email me a request: make sure to include the link).
The link at number 1 explained in a way that is easier to understand.
Check here to see if you have these misconceptions about climate change. (Again, if you cannot read the full article, but you want to read it, please email me this link with a request for the full article).
Clear description of the research about deoxygenation of the oceans.
The link between climate change and ocean oxygen depletion explained.
More on the link between climate change and the oceans, and an explanation of mass extinction.
More about climate change and ocean dead zones.
The relationship between climate change and capitalism, plus some history.
This article is from 2006, about biodiversity loss in the oceans. At that point it was still reversible. I hope that it still is. In any case it is a good reason not to consume ANY seafood anymore. Let's keep our oceans as healthy as possible, because the oceans are the basis for life on earth.
Mass extinction evidence from an article written in 2008 (basically old news by now from a scientific view point - remember that conditions continue to change, and changes are speeding up now as human populations continue to grow and continue to do more and more damage (on average).
On human domination of the planet, and how it has harmed other species and the land.
More about the suffocation of the oceans. (see 4)