Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reduce carbon emissions for a healthy Bay

Kati Maginel
Captain and Education Specialist

EDUCATION THURSDAY


One of my interests in my work at Save The Bay is to incorporate learning into our curriculum about sustainability, healthy living, and green communities. A healthier and better-informed individual can become a community asset by monitoring the health of Narragansett Bay. Responsible stewardship of our waters results in a more vibrant economy boosted by a diversity of recreational and sustainable commercial use. Our very culture in Rhode Island is intimately linked to healthy waterways and accessible coastlines; they go hand in hand, after all.

With these guiding principles, OSEEC AmeriCorps member Anna Kate Hein and I applied for a professional development opportunity run by the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). We were excited to find out that we were accepted! 

Our first seminar was hosted at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. We found NNOCCI to be a well-researched and well-funded institution that is devoted to providing educators the resources needed to communicate climate information in a clear and scientific way. They leave visitors and students empowered with information needed to address climate change in their communities. 

Ninety percent of Americans rate climate change as their largest environmental concern. We can all agree that it’s an overwhelming and complex issue to tackle. One of the reasons the issue is so daunting is the multitude of factors that contribute to climate change as our understanding of the crisis evolves.

NNOCCI encourages us to use this metaphor to understand the basic science behind the changes we are witnessing:

“When we drive cars and use electricity and go about our daily activities, we burn fossil fuels like coal and gas. This pumps more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and this build-up creates a blanket effect, trapping in heat around the world. The ocean and the air absorb this excess heat.”

As educators, we can help the public to understand the changes to our ecosystem as our climate continues to change. All of the changes occurring can be addressed by the same simple solution: reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that we release into the atmosphere.

My personal goal is to reduce carbon dioxide by growing vegetables for family, neighborhood, and friends, and to be a resource for others in my community who wish to do the same. Eating locally grown food means fresher, healthier food, and a giant reduction in the amount of CO2 emitted, therefore thinning the CO2 blanket surrounding the earth.

Healthy Bay and healthy people! What more could we ask for? 

For more information on how to get involved in community efforts to reduce our carbon emissions, check out my favorite local news source, EcoRI News, and Aperion Institute’s Sustainable RI Directory.

- Kati

*Special thanks to NNOCCI’s research partner, Frame Works Institute