Local leaders, scientists and fishermen gather in Homer to discuss ocean acidification
The Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Cook Inletkeeper met with a group of local leaders, scientists and fishermen in Homer on Monday to share information on ocean acidification. The group of organizations and individuals convened for the debut of a new touch-screen kiosk, an educational tool for fostering a dialogue within coastal communities about the causes and effects of ocean acidification, as well as potential responses.
“This might be the most important issue facing coastal communities right now. In fact I would say it is the most important issue. Ocean acidification affects everything that’s in the ocean. Everything that we depend on for livelihood and lifestyle and pleasure,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Member Mako Haggerty.
“I think that scientists understand the threat posed by ocean acidification, and more and more people are. But I think we have a gap in terms of people’s understanding of it. And so how do we bridge that gap? I think we have to bring information to where people are and be creative about it, and this project does both things,” said Kris Holderied, NOAA oceanographer and Director of the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory.
“It’s exciting to release this project into the community now, and see how people interact with it and have discussions around the information it presents,” said Alaska Marine Conservation Council Community Fisheries Organizer, Hannah Heimbuch. “We want to continue to find unique ways to engage coastal Alaska in ocean acidification issues, and carry that conversation into meaningful action for the future. Our hopes for resilient communities and resilient ecosystems depend on the steps we take now to understand our changing environment.”
Other attendees of Monday’s event included Representative Paul Seaton, Homer Mayor Beth Wythe, and City Council Member Catriona Reynolds, as well as several local scientists.
Ocean acidification is a global issue that experts have linked to increasing carbon emissions. Due to naturally occurring carbon influx — such as upwelling, cold water and river run off — Alaska waters are acidifying faster than nearly anywhere else on the planet.
The Alaska Marine Conservation Council and Cook Inletkeeper worked together in creating the kiosk to help inform and engage coastal Alaskan residents about ocean acidification and its effects on our communities. The display will travel around the state in coming years. This interactive, weatherproof kiosk features video testimony from experts, fishermen and community leaders, as well as easy to understand science for viewers of all ages.
To view the videos made for the ocean acidification kiosk visit: https://vimeo.com/album/3457803
Visit http://www.akmarine.org/fisheries-conservation/ocean-acidification/ for more resources about ocean acidification.