Why are we choosing to #SwitchOff?
26 Mar 2020 18:46:13
Earth Hour 2020
Why are we choosing to #SwitchOff?
Here at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium we have a vision of a world where our oceans are healthy, properly protected and full of diverse life. We want all our visitors to the aquarium to love the oceans and the creatures that live in them as much as we do. By sharing their beauty, we want to inspire you to help us protect them for generations to come.
One of the biggest threats to the ocean and the creatures that live there is climate change, the process of our planet heating up. Earth Hour, an Australian grown initiative, will bring people together for one hour to #SwitchOff lights in a symbolic call for more action on climate change.
What is climate change?
According to National Geographic Kids; “Climate Change (or Global Warming) is the process of our planet heating up. Scientists estimate that since the industrial Revolution, human activity has caused the Earth to warm by approximately 1 degree Celsius.” Most of this heat is absorbed by the planet’s Oceans.
“As temperatures rise, some areas will get warmer and lots of animals (and humans!) could find they’re not able to adapt to their changing climate. “Many marine creatures live in the upper section of the ocean, where the temperatures are increasing quickest and cannot adapt fast enough to deal with this.
How does it impact the ocean?
Warming seas impact many animals, including corals. A one degree Celsius change in temperature can cause them to “bleach” where they lose their symbiotic algae that provide them with energy. Warming seas also create stronger storms, hurricanes and tropical cyclones, drive higher seas levels due to melting ice and thermal expansion
Causes of Climate Change
Scientists agree with a high degree of certainty, that humans are altering the chemical makeup of our atmosphere by releasing excess Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs). These emissions include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and other gases. CO2 is a naturally occurring gas. However the excess CO2 driving climate changes are a result of burning fossil fuels (such as coal) for electricity and transport. Excess methane is released from coal seam gas extraction and ‘farting’ cows. Methane is longer lasting and more toxic in the atmosphere than CO2.
The Ocean absorbs carbon dioxide which causes a chemical reaction result in carbonic acid, changing the pH of the ocean and making it more acidic.
Sea Level Rise
Changes in temperatures and weather patterns have caused the Polar ice caps to melt. What happens when the ice in your drink melts? The level goes up as the ice turns to liquid., Around the world many people live along the coasts, meaning sea level rise poses a significant risk to a huge proportion of the planet’s human population.
Sea Temperature Rise
The ocean’s vastness has meant the temperature has been relatively stable for a very long time. But as the planet heats up, excess heat is absorbed by the ocean, slowly increasing its temperature.
5 things you can do to help
Although it seems like a huge problem, it is not doomsday and we can all do something to help:
- Unplug for Oceans. Turn off your electrical appliances when you’re not using them.
- Ride your bike or walk.
- Choose to reuse. Making a bottle takes an enormous amount of resources. By using reusable water bottles, coffee cups, bag, straws, etc. and remembering to ‘Bring your own’ we are reducing the amount of energy used to make single use products.
- Support solar energy. Get your family, school, or local shop to invest in solar energy.
- Meat Free Monday. By reducing the amount of meat you eat, even for just one meal a week, you make an enormous difference to the amount of methane emitted by cows.
Want to learn more?