By Adam Case | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
According to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 26 percent of all CO2 emissions are absorbed by the oceans. The first step in saving the oceans is taking responsibility for them. Dr. Jane Lubchenco recently came to Bend to empower her audience to do just that.
Lubchenco visited the Tower Theatre as part of the Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program. The program is hosted by the Central Oregon Community College Foundation and supported by OSU-Cascades and ASCOCC Student Government. Her talk, titled “Hope for the Ocean” set out to inform, engage, and unite her audience.
This audience included many COCC students and staff, including Dr. Sarah Fuller, a professor of ecology at COCC. Fuller said she was ultimately looking for the talk’s namesake: hope. Fuller emphasized the importance of this discussion in saying, threats to the ocean are “hard to see off the land.” Around the world, currents are changing due to climate change.
According to her, this can cause algae to suddenly thrive and die off again quickly leaving that area of ocean deprived of oxygen. One of these “dead zones” is right off the coast of Newport, Ore.
Both Lubchenco and Fuller agree that our current greatest threat to the ocean is a lack of awareness. We are intimately connected with the ocean. It provides us with food, medicine, transportation, environmental protection, and culture.
All of these resources are at risk due to overfishing, destruction of underwater ecosystems, plastic pollution, and ocean acidification due to CO2 absorption. Effective solutions to these problems are underway, but none of them are on the scale necessary to save it.
Many nations and organizations around the world have banded together in a combined effort to save the planet through a variety of means. To preserve ocean habitats, more and more wildlife reservations are being established at sea.
This allows the fish populations and their ecosystems to replenish themselves. Overfishing, both legal and illegal, is being combated by policy changes.
Using rights-based approaches changes fisherman’s motivation towards sustainable fishing practices. Many countries are refusing to allow marked illegal fishing vessels into their ports. These nations are also contributing to an international overseas police force dedicated to stopping illegal fishing.
New technologies are always developing to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as plastic pollution. There are so many ways we as humans are working towards protecting our world, but none of them are quite enough.
All of these methods make a difference but are not being implemented on a large enough scale to restore our damages.This is where we as citizens of the planet come in.
Lubchenco calls us to be informed, reduce waste, join groups, and vote. Here at COCC, there are resources. Biology 103: General Ecology and Forestry 208: sustainable ecosystems are available to students wishing to learn more about the environment and how to protect it.
There is also a club for those interested in getting involved in environmental protection. The Forestry/Natural Resources Club meets the first Thursday of the month and has group hikes on the second Saturday of the month.
They have volunteer opportunities and other field trips around Central Oregon. The faculty advisor is professor Rebecca Franklin who can be reached at email@example.com for further information. ■