The CO2 A-list: 10 celebrities calling for climate action

Delegates at the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21, have spent the past two weeks negotiating an international agreement to slow the pace of climate change, which threatens the health of the global ocean– and our survival. With just one day left before the conference closes, we shine a spotlight on these Hollywood climate activists.

1. Don Cheadle, a global ambassador in the United Nations Environment Programme, participated in a U.N. campaign to raise public awareness of climate change. He’s also a correspondent for Years of Living Dangerously, a new National Geographic Channel series about climate change.

“I hope to use my celebrity to motivate people and contribute to moving our global society back from the brink,” Cheadle says. “What is more important than food and clean air? We need a big push.”

Continue reading The CO2 A-list: 10 celebrities calling for climate action

Another climate change video?!

We know, you’ve probably watched a few of these already. But with the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in full swing, we wanted to share with you a bit about how the ocean is affected by climate change, and why we’re following what’s going on at the COP21 conference so closely.

Hint: If you get through this video, you will be rewarded with cuteness.

 

 

A productive week in Paris

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we take a look at the highlights of COP21’s first week.


On the Sunday before COP21, more than 20,000 empty pairs of shoes — including, reportedly, those of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Pope Francis — filled the Place de la République in Paris in a symbolic call for a strong climate accord. (French officials banned a planned climate march in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks.)

That same weekend, an estimated 800,000 people took to the streets of more than 175 countries for the Global Climate March, organized by a coalition of environmental groups in anticipation of COP21. Their collective message, as described by 350.org: “Keep fossil fuels in the ground and finance a just transition to 100-percent renewable energy by 2050.”

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California, a global climate leader

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, our guest blogger is California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird.


I’ve spent the better part of my life observing the sea and advocating for its protection. In recent years, a link has become clear between our human footprint on the environment, unusual weather patterns and ecological shifts due to global climate.

Just a few weeks ago, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season due to high levels of domoic acid, which stem from a large and persistent harmful algal bloom.

Continue reading California, a global climate leader

Marine protected areas: building climate change resilience

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the many ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we shine a spotlight on one of the ocean’s most powerful tools to weather the impacts of climate change.


The climate talks in Paris aren’t just about trying to prevent future catastrophe. They’re also about preparing for, and mitigating, the changes already underway.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary_NOAA
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is an MPA off the California Coast. Greg McCall/ONMS

The goal at COP21 is to reach an international accord that will substantially cut the world’s carbon emissions, limiting global average temperatures to a 2-degree Celsius rise. But even if we achieve this best-case scenario, climate change will still have serious impacts on the ocean, including higher sea levels, warmer waters, shifting species distributions and ocean acidification.

Continue reading Marine protected areas: building climate change resilience

COP21: A chance for a sea change

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations are gathering in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. In light of COP21, Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, as the conference begins, the Center for Ocean Solutions highlights the integral links between climate change and our global ocean.


The ocean is the heart of our Earth’s climate system, pumping heat and moisture around the planet. It’s also an incredible climate change buffer. As we burn more and more fossil fuels, the ocean absorbs much of that extra heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

But that service comes at a cost. Sea levels are rising. Seawater is warming. And the ocean is almost 30 percent more acidic than it was 100 years ago. These changes are affecting much of the marine life people depend on: The ocean produces about one-sixth of the animal protein we eat and more than half the oxygen we breathe.

Continue reading COP21: A chance for a sea change

Mystery of the crabless Thanksgiving

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. In advance of COP21, Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we examine the complex ocean conditions making some crabs unsafe to eat.


The bowl of clarified butter is going to be so lonely with no steaming crab meat to dunk in it.

Local Dungeness crab is a traditional Thanksgiving indulgence for many West Coast families, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. But this year, Dungeness caught off the coast of California, Oregon and parts of Washington is off the menu.

Dungeness for sale
Dungeness for sale at Pike Place Market in Seattle (Flickr Creative Commons/jpellgen).

Officials in all three states have delayed the start of their commercial crabbing seasons because Dungeness crabs aren’t safe to eat right now. They’re contaminated with a dangerous toxin, called domoic acid, that’s the product of an enormous algal bloom along much of the U.S. West Coast.

Is this climate change in action?

 

Continue reading Mystery of the crabless Thanksgiving

Climate change and art

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. In advance of COP21, Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we celebrate the power of art to inspire solutions. 


Coral reefs cover less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface but are among the planet’s most diverse habitats. They offer shelter to thousands of fish species, buffer shorelines from erosion, provide critical new medicines and boost coastal economies.

But these incredible ecosystems, teeming with marine life, are damaged by the impacts of our carbon emissions—especially warming and ocean acidification.

In this video produced for Monterey Bay Aquarium, socio-ecological artist Colleen Flanigan explains how ZOE, her “living sea sculpture” off the coast of Cancún, Mexico, can help. And she has some ideas about how you can help, too.

Climate change ruffles birds’ feathers

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims to achieve a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. In advance of COP21, Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today’s post focuses, in words and images, on how climate change could affect some of the coastal Californian shorebirds we exhibit in our Aviary.


In 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring warned the widespread use of synthetic pesticides could lead to a bleak future for birds. But more than 50 years later, we still hear birdsong — because people rallied to act. Carson’s book inspired a successful campaign to ban one of the most toxic pesticides, DDT, in the United States.

Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change report, released in fall 2014, is a bit like Silent Spring, warning that more than half of North American bird species could be in trouble by 2080. But in this report, it’s not pesticides threatening to turn down the birdsong. It’s carbon emissions.

COP21 is our chance to change the ending.

Continue reading Climate change ruffles birds’ feathers

 A changing future for gray whales

From Nov. 30-Dec. 11, leaders from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP21. The conference aims for a binding international agreement to slow the pace of climate change. If we as a global community take bold and meaningful action in Paris, we can change course and leave our heirs a better world. In advance of COP21, Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to raise public awareness about the serious ways our carbon emissions affect ocean health, including ocean acidification, warming sea waters and other impacts on marine life. Today, we take a look at how global warming is affecting gray whales. 


In a few weeks, airy puffs of ocean spray from gray whales will start decorating the Monterey Bay horizon. In summer, they gorge on millions of small crustaceans and worms in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas. As winter nears, they leave their frigid Arctic feeding grounds for the warm lagoons of Baja California.

Gray whale-noaa
Gray whale breaches off the Monterey County coast. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Every year, gray whales travel from 9,000 to 13,000 miles round trip — one of the longest migrations of any mammal — timing their migrations by the ebb and flow of sea ice.

 

Continue reading  A changing future for gray whales