Emergent patterns in nature and society

CNN reports on Ocean Acidification and its impacts for society

CNN recently reports on a study carried by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts on the impacts of Ocean Acidification. Literature on ocean acidification is growing, but what capture my attention from the note on CNN is the link they do with social factors, which are not always evident on the academic literature. One of the reasons is scientist are looking for patterns and social dynamics are often very contextual and hard to grasp. However, they exist and worth to be included on the regime shift dynamics. From CNN I quote:

Ocean acidification, or the changing chemical make-up of seawater, has occurred since the industrial revolution as ocean waters absorbed too much carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of human industrial activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels.

Those countries directly impacted are mostly poor and developing nations that are heavily dependent on shellfish as main sources for protein, like Senegal, Madagascar and Haiti. But the research also suggests damage caused by ocean acidification could ripple across economies around the world. It’s already blamed for economic losses at oyster farms in the Pacific Northwest and the slowing of coral growth in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, according to Oceana.

And here the part with the teleconnections between eco and social systems; and between rich and poor areas:

Even though this current study by Woods Hole found that ocean acidification is likely to have the worst impact on poor and developing nations first, it’s a problem with widespread impact.

“If you look at Somalia, where industrial fishing has fished out Somalian waters and the local fishermen can’t get food anymore, what do they do?” Savitz said. “They turn to piracy. Who does that affect? That affects anybody with a ship that’s going through those waters. They’ve taken a lot of different ships hostage. So, ultimately, food insecurity can become a national security issue.”

Savitz also said, “If all these countries are going to have food insecurities because their clams or oysters are no longer available or because their fisheries are no longer available as a result of climate change, that could put pressure on other countries and it can affect all of us.”

For the interested reader, here is a couple of links to the referred studies:

And this is the link from CNN: Study: Changes to ocean expected to damage shellfish around world – CNN.com.

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