Monday, August 21, 2006

Water, water everywhere

We had a lovely vacation without newspapers, radio, television or a computer. The only discussion of current events involved talk of concerns about pollution of the lake where we were relaxing. Turns out that talk was prescient, for we returned home to this article about pollution of the earth’s oceans:
Scientists report that the seas are more acidic today than they have been in at least 650,000 years. At the current rate of increase, ocean acidity is expected, by the end of this century, to be 2 times what it was before the Industrial Revolution began 200 years ago. Such a change would devastate many species of fish and other animals that have thrived in chemically stable seawater for millions of years.

Less likely to be harmed are algae, sea grasses and other primitive forms of life that are already proliferating at the expense of fish, marine mammals and corals.

In a matter of decades, the world's remaining coral reefs could be too brittle to withstand pounding waves. Shells could become too fragile to protect their occupants. By the end of the century, much of the polar ocean is expected to be as acidified as the water that wrought such damage on the pteropods aboard the Discoverer.

Some marine biologists predict that altered acid levels will disrupt fisheries by melting away the bottom rungs of the food chain -- tiny planktonic plants and animals that provide the basic nutrition for all living things in the sea.

Columban Mission Magazine, in its May issue, focused on “Our Environment & the Good News,” with articles such as The Environment & the Papacy, and God’s Creation as a Commodity. We suggest you give it a read here. Just click on the link to the magazine on the left side of the Columban Fathers home page and scroll down to the May issue.