Fear & Loving: Where Sea Level Meets the Deep – a literary blogstory – PART ONE

Dude Probs and Hope for Coral?

Saturday, 29 March 2014

How many people you know googled “hope for ocean acidification” last night at 12:31 a.m.?

Been having dude problems and also been feeling tons of pressure from all the probs in the world like I can’t breathe, so couldn’t sleep.

Alone in my apartment with the light post by the bed still on I decided to check email on my phone. Any distraction welcome.

Saw a message from Theresa, one of our long-time GPRC Youth Mothers from Dallas. She’d recently taken her daughter and son to Galveston, where they volunteered for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – a bunch of cool folks for scientists btw!)

Theresa wrote that one of the things they did was an experiment showing how acidic waters degrade calcium in shells.

Of course climate change’s equally evil twin is ocean acidification – the oceans are absorbing so much carbon pollution from the atmosphere that it is changing the chemistry of life. The first to go are the corals and the shellfish. The current rate of acidification may be unprecedented in Earth’s history. Here are “20 Facts about Ocean Acidification”.

I walked into the tiny bathroom of the old beach apartment, quietly flipped the toilet lid closed and sat down. In this old school Cuban apartment I lucked out with two bathrooms but in this one you can’t really sit straight without wedging yourself in with your knees pressing into the super smooth white-tiled wall in front of you. If you lean forward you can rest your forehead against the tile wall or press the top of your head into it.

Thinking… Yesterday, my upcoming scuba instructor told me how even since 2006 he’s seen a change in the coral reefs… He’s seeing dead patches… Also increasing storms are smothering or wiping out coral reefs. He says Hurricane Sandy affected the coast all the way down here to South Florida.

It’s expected that all coral reefs will be extinct by 2100.

I love the night quiet. You can hear an ocean of silence, and all the little things going on in the alley. But especially all the silence.

I closed my eyes and pressed the top of my head hard into the super smooth tiles and the crevice of grout.

I opened my eyes and just needed some release from the pressure. There has to be something. Opening Safari on my iPhone I randomly googled “hope for acidification”. Just so overwhelmed all the time. I will squeeze out any drop of good news I can find. I’m an occasional Google randomer – just to see if there is something going on, or new, I do not know. Sometimes, anything just to focus my overheated mind on something else.

Check this out: one coral reef off Palau is thriving in waters that happen to be naturally as acidic as all the oceans are expected to be in 2100.

Waters much less acidic are killing off the corals. But for some great mystery, this one is surviving.

If you get a chance, give 9 minutes and listen to this public radio piece. Listen to the sounds of the water and the people speaking.

Scientists are studying this beautiful vibrant hopeful exciting Palauan reef to try to figure out what is its super secret.

And while all our other coral reefs may die off within 80 some years, it’s possible this one mysterious glorious survivor may, as the narrator says, keep us company into the 22nd century. It may – just may – no promises BUT just might – even offer us a mystery clue to help others.

I’ll take any hope yo.

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