Guest Blog by Parker Gassett, Graduate Student at the University of Maine
The theme for the 2019 year for Earth Day is the critical issue of Protecting Our Species. Species protection has been the priority and driving force for researchers and resource managers investigating ocean and coastal acidification. While threats to our species is a global challenge, a new understanding of coastal processes demonstrates that there are many local actions we can also take to slow the increase of coastal acidification.
As global institutions and heads of state recognize and address the rise in atmospheric CO2 and open ocean acidification, local communities can and must also do their part to protect the ocean and improve the resilience of their coastal ecosystems and economies. Many of the sources of coastal acidification are within control of local coastal communities and can be addressed through adaptation and mitigation strategies. Therefore, at a regional scale, re-imagining management of coastal water quality and watershed monitoring can be an opportunity for local residents and communities to get involved and make a difference
It is from this context that Project Shell Day emerged. In the Northeastern United States, hundreds of community water quality monitoring organizations operate as integral stewardship partners for thousands of nearshore locations. Many of these existing volunteer and citizen science water quality monitors are already measuring marine carbon chemistry and are well positioned to collaboratively investigate coastal acidification processes while focusing on traditional priorities for marine habitat protection, nutrient pollution, and watershed management.
Project Shell Day will take place on August 22, 2019 to coordinate a blitz monitoring event for each of the Northeastern organizations to simultaneously measure conditions of coastal acidification and to raise awareness about this environmental priority. By involving municipalities and community science organizations in research and mitigation for acidification, Project Shell Day can be a clear way to galvanize action.
Celebrating Earth Day and the 2019 theme to Protect Our Species all year long will require all of us to work together and explore new ways to address our most urgent environmental challenges. If ocean and coastal acidification matters to you, learn more through your region’s Coastal Acidification Network website. In the U.S. Northeast, this is NECAN.org.
If Project Shell Day interests you, please visit our site for more information (http://necan.org/shellday) or reach out to your local water quality monitoring organizations to ask if they are involved in this work, and how you can help Protect Our Species!
Note from Earth Day Network: We are so grateful to Parker and this wonderful article about how his community is taking action through citizen science to protect their local ecosystem. We encourage you to review his website and resources to see how a program like this can be adapted for your community. We will have many citizen science resources available in the coming months as we finalize preparations for Earth Challenge 2020, the largest citizen science initiative in the world. Learn more about Earth Day 2020, the 50th anniversary, and Earth Challenge 2020 here- www.earthday.org
Is your community working together in a citizen science or environmental protection program? Please share your story with us! We can feature your story and project just like Parker’s! Together, as a global community, we can make a difference for Earth Day 2020.
If you are interested in learning more about Project Shell Day or how this project could be applied in your community, please email [email protected]