Still Cynical? Revolution & Effects of Ocean Acidification

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  • By Andrew Mackie
Still Cynical? Revolution & Effects of Ocean Acidification

It’s getting harder to be cynical (hopefully.)


It was pretty easy with global warming, especially for us here up north, who can be like “Sweet! I hate winter. Let’s cook this place!”


So they changed global warming to ‘Climate Change‘ wherein some places might get warmer and some might get colder, so at least we can hope for the best. Or be like “Well…in the time of the dinosaurs, Alberta was a tropical paradise, so we might be sitting on some prime vacation property if we win the climate change lottery…” (vacation from/to where? And how? … that’s another question altogether.)


But once you start talking ocean acidification, and the death of the seas, it raises the stakes. The only cynical avenue left is to say “We’re past the point of no return. This ship is going down. Let’s live it up! I’m going to send text messages and drive a car at the same time! [email protected]#$! Yeah!”


And this angle of cynicism is pretty dark.





I was lucky enough to see the sneak preview of ‘Revolution’ the other day. It’s the latest film from ‘Sharkwater’ creator Rob Stewart.


It opens with a question, asked by a student at a Sharkwater presentation in Hong Kong: “What’s the point in stopping Shark-finning if the oceans are going to be dead in 20 to 50 years?”


Good question, right?


The cynic will answer that there isn’t really any point in doing anything, good or bad, if the oceans are going to be dead within 20 to 50 years.


I can’t let myself be that dark. I need to believe that people will change. With a kid on the way, I need to fight for a world where he can live past 20. Somehow. And soon…


Unfortunately, it’s true, and ‘Revolution’ works hard to make this point: The oceans can die.


They have before, in combination with previous mass extinction events.


And when they die, it’s bad (one hopes this fact is obvious…)


The problem is that they are dying. And they are dying because of us. Pollution, chemicals, soil erosion, off-gassing, carbon, commuting, moving food around, burning coal, using electricity, heat, air conditioning, plastics, etc. etc.


Pretty much everything the modern world loves/treasures/feels entitled to.


The Effects of Ocean Acidification ==> Endgame = The Death of the Oceans = Not Good


Scientists can explain this better. With bigger words, and statistics, and charts and graphs and theories. Like we need more proof?


The movie uses visuals. From shots of rare and endangered species, to images of miles of dead coral (what should be the most alive place on earth,) to totally dead, lifeless zones under the ocean (of which there are a growing number.) We can trace the change. We can see it happening. We can look at it with our eyes. What more proof do we need? What more incentive do we need to make a change?


The Arkansas oil spill is big news this week. It will be used as a big argument against the Keystone pipeline. Certainly it’s a valid argument. The actual worst case scenario for any of these things is generally worse than the worst case scenario these things are designed for. (ie. the worst storm/flood/earthquake/design flaw in the last 20/50/100yrs is not actually as bad as the worst storm/flood/earthquake/design flaw possible…) 


Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Sure, we can protest the pipeline, maybe even stop it.


But we still use the oil. We still burn the coal. We still commute, use lights, eat industrially farmed foods, wear polyester. And we still want to. So change is hard.


Can you fight against the pipeline if you still use the oil? Can you fight the pipeline if you aren’t willing to go back to medieval/renaissance/Victorian/traditional/primitive times?


What can we cut back? What can we stop? What is essential? If we reduce to the (actual) essential, will the earth recover?



And what happens to our economy?


We have built a system that relies on constant expansion. To cut back brings on recession, depression, collapse. What do things look like after the system goes down? Less strawberries, more cabbage? Less ipads more campfires? Less (no) cars, more feet? Less people?


Ocean Acidification is a big deal. Can we stop it?


Let’s face this fact: We can’t fundraise, science, research, hope, policy, protest, govern, regulate, gimmick, think, or ignore our way out of this mess…


We don’t need more proof. We need to change. Each of us.


Have doubts? 


Go see Revolution. (in theatres April 12th)