Is it hot in here? Or is it just me?

Credit: David Carillet Shutterstock.com

Credit: David Carillet
Shutterstock.com

As many people know, global climate change is a problem that is rapidly growing. Put simply, global warming is mainly caused by an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This cloud of carbon dioxide is insulating our planet and causing an increase in temperature. Not only does this affect our atmosphere but it has a big impact on our oceans as well.

In this article, “Carbon Dioxide and Our Legacy”, scientist Richard Freely stated that the ocean absorbs 22 million tons of carbon dioxide every day! When the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, the pH levels decrease making the water more acidic. As you may or may not know, high acid concentrations and life are not a favorable combination. With numbers like these, there must be an affect on marine life.

As humans, we may be able to recognize these changes in weather but what about our Earth’s inhabitants that can’t speak to us? Are they recognizing this change too? And if so, what are they doing about it?

5 Views of Chlostroma funebralis Photo from: Wikipedia

5 Views of Chlostroma funebralis
Photo from: Wikipedia

Above is a photo of Chlorostoma funebralis also known as Tegula funebralis, a marine snail that inhabits the coast of Vancouver Island. We tried to find a way for this creature to communicate with us about the effects of global warming. Of course no words were truly exchanged between the two of us but that does not mean that nothing was said! After bringing some individuals to the lab and manipulating carbon dioxide levels in their tanks, I decided to see whether this change caused behavioral changes in the snails. Because these snails are so small and do not travel long distances in their lifetime, it is interesting to see how they can (or if they can) adapt to changes in their environment.

As humans, we have been privileged to grow as a population and produce incredible architectural structures, innovative modes of transportation and countless other things. However, we are only one species and we have been exploiting the planet for all it’s worth. We need to start recognizing that we have to ability to make a change and to fix what we did wrong. It is because of big industries and the growing population that we are seeing global climate change and it needs to be stopped.

All organisms on the planet rely on some form of chemical balance to maintain their normal lifestyles. As the environment changes, we must adapt to those changes. However, the theory behind that is not the real issue here. It is the ability to adapt in a timely manner. That will be the ultimate factor in the Earth’s survival.

To learn more about what you can do to help stop global warming or it’s affects on the planet, check out this website: http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/.

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