I’m very excited to have participated in the EQ/Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) Ocean Stewardship Eco Sprint. The California Academy of Sciences hosted this incredible event which had me looking forward to diving deeper into some of the on-the-ground work that is happening in the arena of ocean conservation, restoration, and innovation. This was a great opportunity for brilliant minds working across various spaces to cross-pollinate, network and find solutions to the ocean’s grand challenges.
Though my time at this Eco Sprint event was incredibly inspiring, it was also deeply distressing to learn of all the problems humanity has inflicted upon our planet’s waters. To see data which show mass extinctions from rising water temperatures, pollution, over-fishing, and acidification are all likely to occur before the end of the century it really hit home how urgent these problems are.
- Coral reefs will mostly be extinct by 2100
- Nearly half the fish in the world rely on corals and 500 million people directly depend on these ecosystems
- Acidification of sea waters from dissolved CO2 will contribute directly to mass extinction events in the oceans as flora and fauna are unable to cope with the lowered pH levels.
- The oceans are absorbing significant amounts of heat caused by global warming. This has offset the effects of climate change somewhat around the world, however as the ocean temperature rises so too does the speed at which glacial melting and water-level rising occur.
- Over-fishing and pollution are significantly diminishing fish populations in the ocean and is directly contributing to the deaths of marine birds and animals which rely on sea life to survive.
- Ecological dead zones are popping up around the world. They are waterways starved of oxygen, full of carbon and nitrogen gases which make them unsuitable for complex life.
Although this information is frightening, there are teams of innovators all around the world devising and executing plans to overcome major challenges and improve the health of these ecosystems. Part of the arsenal to save our seas are strategies such as geo-engineering waterways, looking for food alternatives, elimination of carbon emissions, debris and pollution cleanup, restoration of environment and protection of wildlife populations are all part of the arsenal to save our seas.