Ocean Acidification, A Harsh Reality

“The havoc wreaked by ocean acidification is unfolding faster and more severely than anyone thought it would. Coral reefs are collapsing, and food chains may break apart as our oceans go through a dangerous transformation. If we’re going to stop this crisis from getting far worse, we’ll need national leadership at the top levels of our government.”

— Miyoko Sakashita, Oceans Director for the Center for Biological Diversity

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Let’s revisit a little topic called: Ocean Acidification 

To simply put it, the worlds oceans are getting more acidic by the minute. Why should you care? Because it’s changing the chemical balance of the seas, creating detrimental effects on certain animals and ecosystems. The oceans are absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide – resulting from the vast amounts of fossil fuels we burn every single day – 30-40% of it goes into our oceans making the water pH more and more corrosive. Bet you didn’t know that coral reefs are being lost more than twice as fast as the rain-forests. Yes, it is a big deal.

Many organisms in the ocean – corals, snails, oysters, clams, ect. – have shells or exoskeletons made up of calcium carbonate. In terms of comparing this horrible reality underwater with us humans above water, let’s relate it to a common disease – Osteoporosis. This particular disease weakens bone mineral density, allowing your bones to become weak and fracture easily. With the acidity of ocean water increasing, the dissolution of calcareous material increases – resulting in decreased calcium carbonate shell thickness and overall strength for many animals. Coral reefs are dying, shells of oysters/clams are dissolving, and most importantly the larvae of these ocean animals can’t form a strong shell due the high acidity in sea water and die before they even have a chance to survive.

Here’s a list of proven facts pertaining to ocean acidification:

  • Produces more red tides (algal blooms) – which are toxic to fish and other various marine life
  • Reef-dwelling fish suffer from brain damage – resulting in a higher  chance of being eaten
  • By the year 2030 – and anticipated earlier – California’s waters are expected to be highly corrosive to shellfish
  • The ocean absorbs 22 million tons (roughly 1/3rd of the total emitted) of CO2 EVERYDAY 
  • Scientists predict coral reefs will be extinct by the end of the century
  • Pacific waters will increase 10x in acidity by the year 2050
  • There are approximately 10,000 coral reefs and we are destroying one every other day

A recent study on Pteropods (also known as sea butterflies– key plankton species in the Southern Ocean) explains how alarming and present ocean acidification truly is. Researchers in Antarctica collected sea butterflies in 9 different locations. In the first 8 locations, the specimens looked like the lefthand image below. But on the 9th location, the specimens they collected looked like the righthand image. “Severe dissolution” of the sea butterflies’ shells was determined in the 9th location. The acidity in the 9th location was highly increased due to upswelling, where cold water naturally rises from the depths of the ocean pushed up to the surface by heavy winds. Upswelling is supposed to occur more often as climate change intensifies. Basically it’s safe to say that this occurrence is only going to get more frequent in our seas, resulting in detrimental effects on animals and marine ecosystems as a whole.

Credit: Nina Bednaršek and Bertrand Lézé

Credit: Nina Bednaršek and Bertrand Lézé

Still not convinced that this really effects you? Then check out this video about the ocean acidification effects on the American Northwest shellfish industry. It’s quite eye-opening…

Credit: ATTIK

One of my favorite days is here…Coastal Cleanup Day!

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It’s time to dust off those sand buckets and bring them to the nearest coastline this Saturday! It’s the annual 2012 Coastal Cleanup Day on September 15th. For the first time ever- I am going to be participating in a “dive” cleanup at the Santa Monica Pier with a great organization, Heal The Bay. So while people are cleaning up on the beaches, I’ll be looking for hidden treasure on the bottom of the sea and collecting it in a netted bag. I’ve had friends in Monterey Bay do a pier cleanup last year and it’s astounding the type of things they found on the bottom of the ocean! From car engines, to kitchen sinks..people need to understand that the ocean isn’t a giant garbage disposal. Hopefully, I’ll get to borrow a friend’s Go Pro underwater HD camera- then I could come back here and show you everything I picked up! Maybe I will even capture some cool marine life while I’m down there 😉

I haven’t been diving since my time abroad in Australia in 2009- my dive gear has been neglected for awhile but I’m so ready to jump into the ocean (especially for such a good cause)! I’m diving with my friend from CSUMB Alex Olson- he’s pretty much a very very experienced diver..I feel in good ‘dive buddy’ hands haha.

If you live in California, be sure to check out the link below to find the closest cleanup location to where you live!

CALIFORNIA SIGN UP: Check here to find a cleanup site near you

Even if you don’t live near a beach or the ocean- you can still participate! Rivers and lakes still are at risk from pollution. Go find a body of water and I’m sure there’ll be some trash to pick up and you would have done your part on this great day! Although, you should REALLY pick up trash whenever you see it on the ground or ocean no matter what day it is.

Keep our planet clean! Throw your trash away please (not on the streets..).

BONUS QUESTION: What’s the most common piece of trash found on coastal cleanups (don’t cheat and Google it!)?

(You’ll get a shout out in my next blog post if you guess correctly!)

Water, It’s a Big Part Of You and Me.

I just got back from a glorious mini-vacation in Oregon for the long 4th of July weekend! I had a blast visiting family and packing each day with fun activities. I’m currently in the process of making a video/photo montage of the trip- which I worked on until the wee hours of the morning last night (cough cough I’m a perfectionist). I’m waiting on getting some more great photos from my cousin Tiffany before I complete it though- be on the lookout for it next week!

So in the meanwhile- summer has landed in Southern California (well I know it’s really nice year round but 90+ degrees isn’t fun all the time)! My office doesn’t have a properly working AC unit- so it’s a nice 90 degrees outside and it’s 85 inside…probably going to be matching soon enough. Good thing I put on so many concerts over the summer which means I’m out of the office and on site at the Santa Anita Race Track or Walt Disney Concert Hall 🙂

With heat waves hitting around the world- I thought it would be pertinent to pass along this water requirement according to your current weight.

Infants bodies are made up of about 70-85% water, while adult men consists of  60-65% and adult women 50-60%..it’s pretty incredible. The human body itself is one walking wonder of evolution itself. From our highly developed brains (85% water) to our complex nervous system, humans are astounding living creatures.

H2O is one of the best things you can consume in terms of curing health issues too! Doctors should write more prescriptions for water for all that it can treat: allergies, asthma, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, colitis, alcohol dependency, lower back pain, neck pain, and the list goes on and on..

SO DRINK UP!

If you don’t like drinking plain water, spice it up with a lemon or lime wedge. Citrus juices are good for aiding digestion. Or throw in a couple fresh berries for come color and a splash sweetness!

Amazing Photos of a 50ft Bryde’s Whale Feeding!

Whales are  beautiful and majestic creatures. They never cease to amaze me 😀

Down in Baja Mexico, some lucky divers got the footage of a lifetime! Along with swift marlin and curious sea lions, the Bryde’s whale was competing to consume a huge bait-ball of sardines.

Bryde’s whales are related to humpback and blue whales. They are baleen whales, consuming pounds upon pounds of krill and small fish. They often get mistaken for different whales in the wild.  They span across the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.

All photos credit to: Doug Perrine/Barcroft Media

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The Truth About Bottled Water.

So on this lovely Saturday evening, I decided to stay home and keep it easy and pick out one of the many awesome documentaries on Netflix.

I went along with the documentary entitled, “Tapped.”  It was about the bottled water industry in America. Sounded entertaining and insightful- so I pressed play.

Here are some important facts that I learned that I think is vital for everyone to know and understand.

  • Bottled Water Industry is worth an estimated 800 billion dollars (which is why big corporations want a part of it)
  • Nestle, Pepsi, and Coke-Cola are the three top bottled water companies in America
  • Pepsi’s “Aquafina” and Coke’s “Dasani” bottled water are actually made from normal TAP water- you’re paying for tap water when you could get it for FREE at home! Think twice before purchasing these two..or just don’t do it at all.
  • In the USA- only 20% of beverage containers getting recycled – and it’s been declining over the years
  • Bottled water is packaged in PET or PETE- the primary ingredient in PET is a clear liquid derived from crude oil- 80% of PET created in the USA is found in  Nestle ,Pepsi, or Coke beverage containers
  • PET water bottles contains Benzene-  which causes cancer – bottled water is not a healthy product!
  • Plastic water bottle manufacturing uses 714 MILLION gallons of oil – That is enough to fuel 100,000 CARS
  • People living near oil refineries who produce PET- have a higher rate of cancer, birth defects and other health risks from the pollutant exposure in their neighborhood from the refinery
  • Tap water is highly regulated / Bottled water is virtually unregulated
  • Municipal tap water has to be tested constantly every day: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water testing- Water is tested 300 times a month with a city over 1 million residents
  • You really don’t know what you are getting in bottled water…arsenic? Yes-it’s been found. Toluene as well- this chemical is found in gasoline and paint thinner and is obviously very harmful for your health
  • Styrene- a chemical found in bottled water tested after being in trunk of a car for a week-causes serious reproductive complications
  • BPA– a chemical found in plastic water bottles and 5 gallon jugs – linked to more human diseases increased in over the past 30 years
  • 80 million single-use bottles of water are consumed daily in America- 30 million end up in landfills (a lot ends up in the Pacific Ocean..and ends up deposited on some distant shore)

Kamilo Beach, Hawaii. Not appealing to lay out on, is it?

Sand? No, more like plastic.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Purchase your own reusable water bottle (Klean Kanteen what I own- it’s BPA free and made from stainless steel!) and fill it for FREE everyday from your tap- or free water fountains found around every corner (practically). Tap water is tested WAY more often than bottle water has ever been-remember that. STOP USING/BUYING BOTTLED WATER! I know I’m going to personally reduce and hopefully end buying and drinking plastic bottled water…how about you?

Newport Beach in Black and White

I went to Newport Beach recently- and woke up at 7:00am and decided to fill my meter where I was parked overnight. I was going to go back to bed after filling the meter, but the moment I stepped outside to an amazing sunrise, calm crystal clear water, and an empty beach.. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy it all!

So I changed clothes- grabbed my camera and wallet- and walked up the bike path. My new friends live right ON the beach, and I totally fell in love with the place. It’s definitely my dream to live on the beach one day. I’d soak it up for all it’s worth.

I found a little cafe that just opened- got a chai tea latte and a blueberry bagel. Went next to the Balboa Pier and posted myself up on the Lifeguard Tower. PERFECTION. I watched the seagulls take over the sky, dolphins leaping, and pelicans diving while the sun warmed up my skin.

I decided to get some mostly black and white photos- just felt like it’d be a fun change of pace to see things in a different “light” so to speak. Hope you enjoy the slideshow.

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Plastic Bottles: Showing People The Light

I saw this amazing video today- and I couldn’t help but share it with you and the world. It is so beautiful- even my friend cried while she watched it. Please enjoy:

It’s hard to remind ourselves- sitting here on our computers, with our cell phones and iPods in our bags- that there are so many people who have never seen a cell phone or surfed the web on a computer.

Sometimes all it takes is a plastic Pepsi bottle with a little water and some bleach- which can turn into a solar light to brighten up people’s lives.

Try and cut back on the things you don’t REALLY need in your life. And I’m sure your pocketbook and life will be much more happy.

Live simple. Live happy.