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Climate Change and the Ocean: Why a Diver Should Care

Eco Tips and Environmentswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

This week we've got a guest post from a friend of Swish, Walt Palmer. SHORT BIO: Walt Palmer, retired airline pilot, climate activist, speaker, author, PADI certified diver and all round nice guy blogs at WalterJPalmer.com (under construction) and can be followed on Twitter @WalterJPalmer

And without further ado, we'll hand it off to Walt:

Below the thermocline at ten metres just off the north coast of Prince Edward Island (not much vis, lots of stinging jellyfish and my dive buddy was my eleven year old son), I just wasn’t thinking about global warming. That was our open water experience for a PADI cert ten years ago. But in 2006 climate awareness blossomed: I volunteered for Al Gore’s Climate Project. I did lots of speaking on behalf of that organization for years. It strikes me that the dive community has a unique sensitivity on this issue.

For ages we’ve been saying: ‘Well you can’t really blame that storm (drought, flood, heat wave, snowfall … whatever) on global warming.’ No, you can’t. But is it dawning on anyone that the number of individual events that we can’t honestly blame on global warming and climate change is getting higher and higher? Our environment is changing and not just for future generations.

Generally, divers are attuned to nature in the aquatic environment: no one is down there wearing a few hundred dollars worth of equipment just to look at the bottom of the boat; we’re wrapped up in the beauty that the reefs present.

The assaults on the ocean are many and they are huge. The climate change that results from global warming is going to mean higher sea temperatures and that will threaten the reefs and so will the acidity resulting from rising levels of dissolved CO2.

Maybe you haven’t seen any evidence of global warming at your favourite dive spot. No hundred year storm has wiped out the resort and downed the palms; no rising temperature or acidity has caused coral bleaching. How much damage do you want to see? Me neither. Let’s get vocal about this because of all the lucky people in this world, we are in a position to know what’s at risk.


Biorocks: Emerging coral reefs through electrolytic reactions

Eco Tips and Environmentswishreboot@solomongiles.comComment

Biorock. . . It is a term that has been cropping up in reef conservation dialogue a lot recently. So what is a bio rock? Is it just a super ecologically friendly rock? hmm. .  . Not really. A biorock is formed by the accretion of minerals in saltwater and stimulates coral growth. To do this, a metal conductive frame is placed underwater, and  low voltage passes through it causing  an electrolytic reaction. CaCO3 & Mg(OH)2 then adhere to it forming the start of coral. The next step is transplanting coral fragments on it that then bond a grow quickly and voila! A new reef emerges. Very cool stuff! (Bio Rock Project with Eco Koh Tao)

This practice has proved successful and is being implemented globally, mostly in places where diving is an attraction but corals have been damaged due to bleaching. There are currently biorock projects in 20 different countries with the most being found in Indonesia.  We even have one here in Koh Tao! Eco Koh Tao started a biorock in 2008 and since then it has experienced exponential growth. You can read more about it here: http://www.ecokohtao.com/probiorock.html

Personally I am all for biorocks, some people say that they will not help in the long run, but how is an emerging coral reef ever a bad thing? What do you think?

Have you guys ever seen or participated in work on a biorock? If so where? Tell us here!


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