The Climate Crisis is one of the most urgent issues facing our society today. As we rapidly approach the point of no return, after which global temperatures will be hard to stabilize, change is in dire need of. Did you know that beyond being a source of immense beauty and biodiversity, the oceans play a key role in combating climate change? The ocean is the single largest carbon sink in the world, meaning that it absorbs and stores carbon in our atmosphere, and is responsible for more carbon storage than trees or other terrestrial ecosystems. The oceans have absorbed 1/3 of all CO2 emissions released by humans since the industrial revolution! Without the oceans taking so much carbon out of our atmosphere, CO2 would accumulate much faster and temperatures would be rising at a much quicker rate.
You might be wondering, how do oceans absorb CO2? The seas are full of phytoplankton, tiny photosynthetic organisms that float in surface waters around the globe. These phytoplankton carry out photosynthesis just like plants, using CO2 and sunlight to generate energy and create sugars. In the process, they convert CO2 into organic matter and when they eventually die, that carbon is brought with them to the bottom of the sea. The oceans also remove carbon from the atmosphere when atmospheric CO2 dissolves into seawater and natural ocean currents cycle that surface water into the depths of the sea.
By supporting our oceans and the thousands of species they support (like phytoplankton), we can help combat climate change and enhance the human and environmental health for all generations to come. We, as young people, have the power to stand up for our futures and protect our great oceans so they can continue to regulate and support our planet so that it can sustain all life.
Nature is good for your physical, mental, and emotional health. When we are supporting the health of our planet we are supporting the health of ourselves and communities. Remember, there is no Planet B, so let's use the power of our voice, actions, and vote to show the world that our generation will revitalize Planet A. We be the ones to end the cycle of destruction and begin a cycle of thoughtful creation.
The urgency of the climate crisis can be overburdening for a lot of us. When I feel disappointed by the state of mother nature, I like to get into nature. Stepping outside and taking a breath goes a long way to slow down your mind. Another great tool are positive affirmations. These positive affirmations help you to slow your mind down and focus on how you can be a catalyst for change. Rather then reminiscing in the fear for the future of our planet, we can be present and positive. By focusing on building solutions, rather then feeling devastated by the numerous problems, we can take proactive steps to boosting our mental health. As a result we will have more energy and space to take care of the environment.
Noelle Amlicke is from Westport, Connecticut and is a rising sophomore at Stanford University. She is a member of the Division 1 Stanford University Women’s Crew team. Noelle is currently undeclared at Stanford University, but is interested in Earth Systems and renewable energy as well as combining business/economics with sustainability. Noelle has always had an avid interest in climate change and protecting our planet’s incredible biodiversity and vital, unique ecosystems. In her free time, Noelle loves to participate in all watersports, such as rowing, kayaking, surfing, or snorkeling.