Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gone Green? Go Blue!

In a clamshell…what is Go Blue?
Go Blue is a campaign led by the Port Townsend Marine Science Center to raise awareness and inspire collective action to improve the health of the Salish Sea.

What exactly does it mean to Go Blue?
Going Blue is about making ocean health a priority--understanding how the ocean sustains our lives and doing something to take care of it. Together. It means building on what we already do as individuals to live Green and taking it to the next level by engaging in collective solutions for community-wide marine conservation. As a coastal community we have a responsibility to be stewards of our marine environment and an opportunity to be leaders. The Go Blue endeavor dives deeper into the global issue of ocean health, reveals the human impact of climate change, waste, and toxics on marine marine ecosystems, and provides choices for what we can do as a community to address it in our own backyard.

Wendy Feltham photo
 Examples of Go Blue Collective Actions:
· Learn the 7 principles of Ocean Literacy and spread the word
· Google ‘dirty dozen chemicals’ and find out how to avoid them
· Support locally grown organic food
· Support stores that sell products with little or no packaging
· Support stores that promote the use of re-usable shopping bags
· Ask local media to cover more environmental news
· Ask cosmetic companies to use fewer toxics
· Ask Consumer Reports to include environmental impacts in product ratings
· Plant a city rain garden and stop 90% of the pollutants from stormwater runoff
· Join 3 friends biking 5 miles twice a week instead of driving and reduce 1 ton of CO2 emissions in a year
· Start a “stuff exchange” with friends or join groups like The Freecycle Network
freecycle.org or Buy Nothing buynothingproject.org
· Post links about ocean health on your Facebook page
· Support federal and state policies and lawmakers who work to protect the ocean environment

Port Townsend Farmer's Market photo
How Does the Ocean Sustain Us?
Humans and the ocean are inextricably linked. The ocean moderates the Earth’s climate; influences weather patterns, and affects human health. It supplies 85% of Earth’s rainfall through evaporation and is our greatest source of oxygen thanks to tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton that live near the ocean surface. Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean, more than 90% of life on Earth is aquatic, and nearly half of the world's human population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. From the ocean we acquire food, medicine, minerals, and energy resources. The ocean provides jobs, supports our economy, and serves as a highway for transportation of goods and people. The ocean is a constant source of inspiration, recreation, rejuvenation and discovery. The bottom line is we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the ocean. It takes care of us. So when we make the ocean sick, it’s our responsibility to make it right.

How is ocean health adversely impacted by human activities?
Climate change – Since the Industrial Revolution around 1750, burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This contributes substantially to climate change by trapping excessive heat in the atmosphere. The ocean has absorbed 50% of the carbon dioxide from these emissions and 80% of the heat added to the atmosphere by climate change. The major effects on the ocean have been increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification. Rising ocean temperatures can directly impact development, age of sexual maturity, timing of spawning, growth, and survival of most fish and cephalopods such as octopus and squid. Ocean acidification makes survival difficult for organisms that have chalky shells, which are harder to form in acidic conditions. Species directly affected include many plankton, sea urchins, scallops and clams and the stress on their populations affects the entire food web.

Pollution & Waste – Garbage, plastics, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, as well as toxic chemicals found in pharmaceutical, industrial, household, and personal care products enter the ocean waters from deliberate dumping, untreated household sewage, stormwater run-off and the atmosphere. These pollutants make their way into the marine food web and ultimately reach humans.

Dive deeper to discover life in the Salish Sea and what we as a community can do to ensure its health for generations to come. For more information visit our exhibits at Fort Worden State Park
 in Port Townsend WA.

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