In the Mid-Atlantic region, ocean acidification is driven by excess global carbon dioxide and water pollution from land runoff. While taking action towards reducing acidification can seem overwhelming, there are many steps an individual or community can take to help. Here are a few suggestions on how to get started.
● Save electricity. Saving electricity will save money, and can be done in a number of ways including: replacing incandescent with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs; unplugging devices when they are not in use; using Energy Star devices and appliances. Additional ideas can be found here.
● Decrease transportation-related emissions. Taking advantage of regional mass transit options; carpooling; and adjusting driving practices like avoiding quick accelerations and braking can help decrease emissions. Here are some other suggestions.
● Insulating homes. Reduce heating and cooling expenses by properly insulating homes. Seal airleaks around windows, doortrims and attics, which can also reduce noises and allergens from outside. Other steps can be found here.
● Decreasing fertilizer usage on lawns and gardens. Following the exact instructions on home fertilizer and not overfertilizing an area can help decrease pollution runoff that contributes to acidification. More information can be found here.
● Add vegetative buffers. Planting native vegetation along the edges of a private property can help reduce acidification. These soak up rainwater and can also diminish the amount of excess nutrients that get into local waterways and eventually our bays and the ocean.
● Capture rain in rain barrels. Rain barrels further reduce the amount of water going into the ocean and conserve freshwater. Water captured by rain barrels can be used to water lawns, indoor plants or gardens. Here is more information.
By taking these measures, the driving sources of estuarine, coastal and ocean acidification can be effectively reduced. Taking actions that decrease nitrogen and phosphorus will also reduce low/no-oxygen conditions and thus fish kill events, further ensuring a robust coastal ecosystem that can support the surrounding human and animal communities.
NOAA Ocean Acidification Program: Our Changing Ocean