Lights out for the Ocean?

Boaters take aim at ocean acidification

When you turn on the lights at home or work, chances are that power was made from burning coal. The carbon dioxide emissions that result from burning coal are causing the pH in the ocean to changeIt’s called ocean acidification*.

This chemical reaction is resulting in the death of coral reefs and microscopic sea creatures—those on the front line of the food chain.

Not good news for us or the ocean we love. But it’s not all doom and gloom. By making simple and intentional changes, you can begin to lower your carbon footprint. Plus you can have fun and be creative! For instance:

  • Turn off the lights at home and have a candlelight dinner (for the greenest candle use 100% beeswax).
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with power saving LEDs and switch outside lights to solar powered.
  • Anytime you can turn off your boat’s engine, whether it be by raising the sails or anchoring instead of idling, you will reduce your boat’s carbon footprint and the gas bill. 
  • Neutralize the amount of energy you use by buying carbon offsets. Check out Native Energy’s carbon calculators to learn more about your carbon footprint.

If 10% of American Boaters switched one Compact Fluorescent lightbulb out for an LED lightbulb it would prevent the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions in one year as 360,000 trees would absorb in their lifetime.

It’s true that every day, under the hull of our boats the chemistry of ocean is changing. But it doesn’t have to mean lights out. When each of us takes action it’s like switching a collective light on. In the boating and sailing community alone, 12 million of us, that’s one powerful light.

So start big. Or small. Just start now. Living a low carbon lifestyle is cool. (Especially when it means opening windows, turning off your air conditioning, and getting out on the water.)

Take the NT3 pledge today to get more information on how to leave No Trash, No Trail, No Trace and protect the ocean!

*Ocean acidification is often called climate change’s evil twin. Because the ocean absorbs up to 50% of all excess carbon dioxide emissions (such as those created from the manufacture of plastic, petroleum based cleaners and coal and gas emissions) the ocean’s chemistry is changing. The result? Coral reefs are dying and the skeletons of sea creatures aren’t forming like they used to. This could lead to the end of seafood as we know it—20% of our world’s food supply. (Not to mention the beauty lost from the disappearance of coral reefs, the world's underwater rainforests.)