Swimming in a Sea of Acid

My latest film is a beautiful, independent documentary called Acid Test that explores the urgent problem of rising ocean acidity caused by our burning of fossil fuels. The 22-minute film premiered in August on Discovery Planet Green and is now available online.

The website enables you to see the whole film, take action to reduce carbon dioxide pollution, see extended interviews with top ocean scientists, learn about the science of acidification, and request a free DVD and action kit for home screenings with friends and family. (I hope many people will take advantage of this. Acid Test is a fascinating, frightening but ultimately hopeful film, and a home screening is a great way to begin making a difference for our oceans.)

Scientists have known for decades that when carbon dioxide mixes with ocean water it creates an acid, but only recently did they begin to realize what this growing quantity of acid would mean for ocean life. As you can see in the film, this new understanding has some of the world's leading ocean scientists quite freaked out.

What they can say with assurance is that if we continue burning fossil fuels as we are now, we will double the ocean's natural acidity by the end of the century. What's less clear is how damaging that will be for ocean life.

Scientists believe many organisms may not survive so radical a shift in chemistry. And some of those organisms -- plankton and corals, for instance -- form the foundation of the ocean food web.

If they perish, what happens to the hundreds of thousands of species further up the chain?

Scientists just don't know. But their fear is summed up in the film by Dr. Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution: "We're moving from a world of rich biological diversity, essentially into a world of weeds."

The scientists are freaked out, but they still have hope, as do millions of other Americans. Hope that our policy makers, will listen to the scientific facts, take them to heart and begin America's transition to a clean energy economy. An economy based on efficiency and renewable power that will build a workable future for all living things. What could be more important now than telling our policy makers to move quickly and boldly to adopt strong, clean energy legislation? You can do that right here.

Acid Test
online now: