Sea snails are dissolving, and fish are getting lost — all thanks to greenhouse gases.
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The Wilderness Society

This is Lil' Dipper, and he's scared to swim in soda.

Hey there, lil buddy!


If things keep going the way they are, we're going to make Lil' Dipper's worst fear come true.

It sounds like a joke, but it's not. As we focus on combating climate change, there's a question we need to ask ourselves: Would we like for our oceans to be sparkling or still?

We've got a big problem called ocean acidification.

The huge amount of CO2 we produce is polluting the air and affecting our planet's climate. Most of us have heard that the oceans are getting warmer, but there's more to it than that, and it's called ocean acidification.

A video by Grist explains that what's happening to our oceans is a lot like one of those homemade soda machines. It works by squirting a cartridge of CO2 into the water, adding the acidity needed to make soda.

Deliciously terrifying. All GIFs and images via Grist/YouTube.

We're basically doing this to the ocean — only on a much larger scale.

Over the couple of centuries we've spent filling the air with CO2, the oceans have absorbed a quarter of those emissions. As a result, their average pH has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1.

That doesn't seem that serious, but the pH scale is logarithmic, not linear.

So that means even this one-tenth drop in pH is a nearly 30% increase in acidity. Yikes.

What about the ocean life?

This has consequences for the ocean's plants and creatures. Ocean acidification is stressing out some species of fish, causing them to get lost easily and have more trouble finding food.

It also makes it difficult for certain ocean lifeforms to grow their shells. So instead of doing this:

They do this:

Coral reefs, the backbones of many ocean ecosystems, are particularly in danger from this effect. As coral polyps struggle to grow their exoskeletons, reefs stop growing or even begin to shrink, depleting a source of food and shelter for the numerous species that depend on them.

So what can we do about it?

There's one particularly promising solution to stop ocean acidification: pump less CO2 into the air.

Yep. Whether we like it or not, we don't have a better alternative than cutting the CO2 emissions causing the problem in the first place. Our next best ideas are planting seagrass meadows or straight up dropping Alka-Seltzer in the ocean.


I'm not even joking.

If we're going to stop this, we also need to keep Big Oil from drilling in fragile environments for more fossil fuels.

The Wilderness Society is fighting to keep BP out of the Great Australian Bight, a rich underwater ecosystem that has greater diversity of marine life than the Great Barrier Reef.

They have a petition you can sign to save this habitat from more damage.

(Lil' Dipper would sign, but he only has fins.)

Watch the full video on ocean acidification by Grist:

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

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