Feeling the blast of the wind and the thump of the waves, there is nothing better that the chill of the fresh sea air to wake you up early on a Thursday morning. It is only two days before we depart for UN Oceans conference and we are off to the University of Auckland pH and salinity sensor mooring site in the Firth of Thames. There is nothing like the dark murky sea below to really remind me why I am here, why I do this.
In my early years, I grew up by the coast in England, nothing better than a summer full of chilly sea wind and hard rocks underneath. My first memory of the beach is reaching over and playing with a crab in the surf, poor thing, it must have had the fright of its life with me holding it up close to my face, but, even at that age, I was captivated. I have always wanted to be a marine biologist, from the youngest age, I was taken in by how amazing the marine environment is, the diversity, the animals seemingly created by magic and how intricately connected they are.
When I started my early research career, this amazement turned, not due to the amazing marine creatures, but us. I was shocked. What have we done? What are we continuing to do? Why are we not doing more? These questions rattle in my mind over and over as I work in the laboratory, in the field, trying to figure out how marine animals may respond to ocean acidification. When did we forget how truly amazing the ocean is? Why are we turning our back?
Ocean acidification is dubbed the ugly little sister of ocean warming, yet we have ignored it for so long. It is made so much worse by our continued use of the ocean as our run-off dumping site, our delusional belief there are infinite fish stocks, that quota management and subsidies are actually working and the use of our seas as a plastic tip. Finally, the nations of this world are coming together to address all of this, to sign commitments, albeit voluntary, and the leaders of this world to face the problem and move forward together. I am just hoping that New Zealand, while boasting its “pure and green” image, will actually join the arms race to fight ocean change, before it is too late.
All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.