In December of last year I took my first SCUBA diving class– I remember how nervous I felt as I geared up, but after taking my first breathe under the water a new world came alive for me. I emerged from the 52 degree water freezing, but feeling more alive than I had ever felt in my life. I had my first dive at Blue Grotto.
I was terrified as I descended 35 feet to the platform, reminding myself to breathe in and out, as the air bubbles tickled my nose. When I hit the platform, something magical happened, a colorful fish swam right before my eyes. I was overwhelmed by the sudden calming silence of the underwater world. I still have one more dive to do, before I will finally be a certified open water diver. I know how lucky I am to live in a state with such amazing aquatic environments, but these ecosystems are in a fragile state of unrest.
When we speak about our carbon footprint, it is usually in regards to our degrading Ozone layer in Earth’s atmosphere, but our oceans are also sponges for Carbon Dioxide. As the oceans absorb this excess CO2 , the overall pH of the environment is dropping. In any basic biology class, you will learn that every living organism must live within certain optimal pH and temperature level. The pH dropping in our oceans, means they are becoming more acidic. These conditions are dangerous for all oceanic life, but none more than our coral reefs. Coral reefs house and feed a cornucopia of sea life. So, as they disappear many species are finding themselves homeless, and without food. This process is called Ocean Acidification: