WHAT YOU CAN DO
Ocean acidification went unnoticed for too long. Although we need to know more about which human communities will be most harmed by ocean acidification, and how they can adapt, we can all take action now to reduce the causes and help increase the resilience of ocean ecosystems.
Tackle The Causes
You can help reduce ocean acidification today by finding ways to reduce your carbon and nutrient footprints.
The carbon footprint of the average household in the United States, with average size and similar income, is 48.5 tons of CO2 per year. Fueling up cars and powering up homes are where our emissions start to add up. But there are other, less obvious, ways that also contribute, such as consuming a lot of red meat and dairy products. Use the following the tips to help you get started.
Explore transportation alternatives. If you can, walk, bike, use mass transit, carpool or drive an electric vehicle to get around.
Choose an efficient vehicle. High-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids use less gas and save money. Over its lifetime, a 40-mpg car will save roughly $3,000 in fuel costs compared with a 20-mpg car. Compare fuel economy performance before you buy.
Drive smart. If all Americans kept their tires properly inflated, gasoline use nationwide would come down 2 percent. A tune-up could boost your miles per gallon anywhere from 4 to 40 percent, and a new air filter could get you 10 percent more miles per gallon.
Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). CFLs require only 25% of the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb to produce the same intensity of light.
Use hot water more efficiently. Wash clothes in cold water, lower temperature settings of heater and wrap heater with insulation, use efficient faucets and showerheads.
Do a home energy audit. Many utility companies offer free or subsidized audits, which typically involve evaluating appliances and lighting, checking insulation, and looking for air leaks around doors, pipes and windows. You get an assessment of how you can save energy.
Waste less food. Reduce how much food you waste by 25% and eat less red meat. Consuming a pound of beef in the U.S. is responsible for 20 pounds of emissions, while a pound of chicken is responsible for less than two.
Use green gardening techniques. Runoff from fertilizing your yard and washing your car carries high levels of nitrogen and carbon that contribute to ocean acidification, particularly if you live on the coast. By applying fertilizers as needed, using native plants to reduce the amount of fertilizer used, and using water and energy efficiently, you can reduce how much nutrient pollution comes from your household. Reducing nutrient pollution could offer a short-term solution to the progression of ocean acidification in some places.
Eat 'Blue.' Healthy, resilient marine ecosystems will be better able to withstand the stresses from ocean acidification. For example, abundant fish populations with ample genetic diversity will help our resources respond and adapt to the changing world. You can help by buying fish that are known to be sustainably harvested. The NRDC Sustainable Seafood Guide shows you how to make tasty, smart and healthy shopping choices that are good for you and the ocean. To learn more, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Blue Ocean Institute, both of which provide guides to fish to enjoy or avoid on the basis of environmental factors.