When we imagine a paradisiacal Caribbean coast, we don’t think of mangroves, seagrasses, or tidal marshes.
We think of long stretches of golden and clean beach, with huge hotels equipped with swimming pools and bar service. Bathing in the mangroves is not beautiful, but these ecosystems called “blue carbon” are indispensable.
We all work hard to reduce gas emissions into the atmosphere and stop climate change. But keeping what we have is equally important, and we cannot ignore the coastal blue carbon problem.
Marine ecosystems along the world’s coasts, including mangroves, seagrasses, and tidal marshes, can imprison enormous amounts of coal.
If they did not capture this quantity of coal, it would be dispersed into the atmosphere, soaring the problem of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The coal stored in coastal ecosystems is the blue carbon. Plants capture coal through the roots in a process that involves other microorganisms. The ability of coastal blue carbon to capture coal is much higher than forests. We are killing these essential environment guardians for profit.
We are destroying the coastal blue carbon ecosystems
According to a Nicholas Institute’s Ocean and Coastal Policy Program study, one hectare of coastal marsh can capture the same amount of carbon as 500 cars produce in a year.
The Thebluecarboninitiative.org website estimates we’re destroying an average of 600,000 hectares of blue carbon ecosystems annually.
If these calculations are right, we’re putting 300 million cars that produce CO2 into the environment each year.
I looked at another study done on seagrasses, marshes, and mangroves in Tampa Bay. According to this study, the blue carbon ecosystem in Tampa Bay would capture the CO2 equivalent produced by 160,000 cars each year.
By assessing this problem worldwide, we can quickly understand how severe the devastation of this ecosystem is.
Pollution and people destroyed these ecosystems along the coast. The seaside resorts aren’t entirely to blame, but also the combination of all factors that lead to the destruction of the environment.
Farming and fishing have a huge impact on the destruction of coastal environments. Cutting down mangroves leads to deforestation.
Blue carbon and food production
We destroyed the coastal ecosystem to grow crops and raise fish. Many of these mangrove forests are in developing countries, and they’ve been cleared out for survival.
Unfortunately, this impoverishes the population, depriving it of marine resources from fishing.
The devastation of the coasts leads to greater severity of the consequences of violent atmospheric events. Just as forests protect against landslides, the marine ecosystem protects against floods.
For these countries, not absorbing enough carbon dioxide isn’t a problem. In any case, they will damage the environment in the short to medium term.
A lot of the environmental devastation in these countries isn’t always done out of greed; it’s often necessary for the survival of a village or community.
The problem is that the most prosperous countries do not invest enough to preserve these areas and use the capital only to develop clean energy.
We made clean energy useless if we continued the devastation of coastal blue-carbon ecosystems.
It is useless to produce electric cars to reduce emissions, while at the same time increasing CO2 with deforestation.
Deep-sea mining and blue carbon zone
Dee-sea mining and the destruction of coastal blue carbon zones are not directly related, but they are part of the same problem.
Deep-sea mining is carried out to meet the demand for clean energy production. Destroying the marine environment also destroys the coastal one.
After a few years, we will have exhausted the reserves of rare metals at the bottom of the sea; these metals take millennia to form. We will have strained marine plants that will help us fight and control CO2 emissions. To that point, the problem will be ten times more serious; we will have fewer resources and fewer natural protections.
It’s hard to assess the environmental problem individually. Everything needs to be considered on a global level.
Talking only about the conversion of the car from diesel to electric or solar panels is useless. When we realize it, it will be too late.