THE argument of climate change has been around now for more than 10 years. Whether you believe in it or not, the facts are stacking up that this is a real phenomenon and is becoming a tangible problem for us all.
The Chamorro people of Guam and Micronesia region have a kindred relationship with the ocean. Guam has been inhabited since approximately 2000 B.C. The Chamorro people were excellent sea men and a lot of their diet came primarily from the sea. The ocean has been a major part of the Chamorro culture and today, unfortunately, our oceans are in trouble. Earth is heating up, putting extreme stresses on our oceans.
On Oct. 3, an international panel of marine scientist published disturbing results from the latest International Program on the State of the Oceans report. The report stated, “The ocean is absorbing much of the warming and unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide and warn that the cumulative impact of this with other ocean stressors is far graver than previous estimates.” The decreasing oxygen levels in the ocean are being attributed to the climate change, chemical pollution, overfishing, and many other factors.
There are three major concerns affecting our oceans today. The first is de-oxygenation, which is a decline in dissolved oxygen in the ocean interior. Evidence shows the oxygen levels of the ocean are gradually declining at an alarming rate. Second is acidification, or the unbalanced chemical equilibrium of the ocean, caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide. If the current levels of carbon dioxide release continue, we can anticipate extremely serious consequences for ocean life, our food and coastal areas. Third is the climate change, which, in turn, is warming up the ocean. Many of us who dive the oceans have experienced these three factors through observing the bleaching and dying of our coral reefs.
Our glaciers and Artic ice shelves are melting at alarming rates causing the seas to rise. Islands such as Kiribati and Tuvalu in the South Pacific could disappear within our lifetime. NASA’s website, www.nasa.gov, has some concerning pictures that show how detrimental climate warming is. Compare the 1917 picture of the Peterson Glacier in Alaska to the picture taken in 2005 – the glacier has literally disappeared.
I do not understand why we as a civilization continue to harm our planet, especially with all of the renewable energy technology that we have now such as wind, solar and hydro. On Guam, we must find better ways to scale back our use of fossil fuel and eliminate the dangerous emissions our power plants produce. We must join the renewable energy movement so future generations will the have the opportunity to experience this beautiful island and Mother Earth for many, many more generations to come. It truly is in our hands now. Pope Francis said in a biography, “We must be protectors of our Earth that the Lord has entrusted us with.” Powerful words indeed!