Youth Blog Series: Acidic Oceans

Be the Change’s Youth Blog Series highlights blogs written by university student interns at Be the Change Earth Alliance. In the blogs, the interns reflect on their experience completing “Action Packs,” which are learning resources that guide students in research, critical thinking and tangible action related to a global sustainability topic.

Summary of Action Pack

This Action Pack alerts students about the ocean acidification crisis. Students will learn that human activities have released too much carbon emissions, and this excessive amount of carbon is being absorbed by Earth’s oceans. In nature, the carbon cycle is a natural process where the balance of carbon release and carbon absorption has sustained terrestrial ecosystems and marine ecosystems for a very long time. However, the excessive carbon particles in oceans are turning ocean water into a coercive and acidic environment that has become dangerous to calcifying organisms, such as molluscs and crustaceans, by making it difficult for these organisms to survive and build shells. The Action Pack outlines how the disruption of oceans’ pH balance will affect marine food webs, the fishing industry and coastal communities’ economic well-being. The Action Pack also encourages students to reflect on the environmental, social, and economic consequences of excessive carbon emissions and ocean acidification.

The Action Pack offers many ideas on how students can partake in raising awareness and how they can help to reduce carbon emissions. Students can research their school’s dependence on fossil fuels, calculate the current carbon footprint of their household, and encourage friends to join them in reducing their CO2 impact on the ocean for 1 month. This Action Pack is a great resource for students to learn about ocean acidification and the importance of carbon emission reduction. 

My Reflection

After completing this Action Pack, I looked into clubs fighting climate change at my school. Myself and many others vowed to limit air travel to reduce carbon emissions. We signed a petition to limit staff from traveling for work related reasons. Later, I found a news article stating that faculty members from various schools are joined together in signing said petition. This action will lead to tangible change in the reduction of carbon emissions caused by academic air travel. I felt that my actions, along with others, really caused change in the world, and helped our oceans!