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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.