websites offer great tips and videos about how to protect our marine waters from stormwater. The Washington Sea Grant website, at wsg.washington.edu, offers a complete list and links to these resources. Share your ride. Buses, bikes, and feet can take you only so far; most people need a car sometimes. But nowadays, that doesn’t mean you have to own one. Carshare programs like Car2Go, ZipCar, and Scoot are available in many cities and on college campuses. Carpooling is an effective way to minimize your “car-print.” Just sharing your ride with two other passengers saves more fuel than driving a Prius. Reduce the fuel in your food. Our modern food system is heavily dependent on fossil fuels—there may be a lot more carbon dioxide on your plate than you realize. Animal protein requires roughly 10 times as much fossil energy to produce than grain, which means you can take a big bite out of your carbon footprint by simply eating less meat, and when you do eat meat, make sure it’s locally raised. Collective action over personal change. Seek ways to amplify your impact, by engaging your community in collective actions to reduce carbon dioxide. Invest in Community Solar, volunteer with groups that are engaged on this issue, plant a shellfish garden!
What Can You Do About Ocean Acidification?
Help Puget Sound help itself. Almost anything that’s good for Puget Sound—like restoring habitat, replacing bulkheads with ‘soft’ shorelines, and removing invasive species—can help it withstand ocean acidification. The more we do to minimize other forms of stress on the marine environment, the more resilient it will be to ocean acidification.
By Meg Chadsey
hat can you do? More than you think! While it’s true that ocean acidification is a global problem caused primarily by industrialized nations’ use of fossil fuels, it is particularly severe in our region. Because local problems, like nutrient pollution, urban runoff, and dense traffic are exacerbating ocean acidification in Puget Sound, these issues are something Washington residents can address. Below are some actions that each of us can take to slow acidification in Washington’s marine waters, and while these won’t solve ocean acidification on their own, they can buy us (and our marine environment) some extra time while we work on the big issue: reducing global carbon dioxide emissions. Keep poop out of Puget Sound. Excess nutrients from human and animal waste and fertilizers make ocean acidification in Puget Sound worse than it has to be. Keep these nutrients (OK…’poop’) out of the water by testing and maintaining your septic system; scooping pet waste; and if you’re a boater, using Washington Sea Grant’s free Clean Vessel Pumpout Kit (PumpoutWashington.org). Stormwater is another way nutrients and other types of pollution enter Puget Sound. Seattle and King County 16
Speak up! You can make changes in your own life and your community, but what really makes a difference is when our policy and industry leaders hear from you. If you care about what ocean acidification is doing to Puget Sound, let your elected officials know. Show up at public meetings where decisions that affect local water and ecosystem quality are made. If nothing else, write to your politicians—it’s easy, and surprisingly effective. For more information: Puget Sound Restoration Fund Shellfish Gardening: RestorationFund.org Earthcorps.org/PugetSoundSteward.php Seattle Aquarium Evergreen Carbon Capture: SeattleAquarium.org For more ideas and links to the resources mentioned above, visit Washington Sea Grant’s Ocean Acidification webpage: wsg.washington.edu.
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