Human beings start domesticating crops only 12,000 or so years ago. Written history begins about 5,000 years ago. The modern era dates from — when? — maybe 100-200 years ago. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that we have some difficulty internalizing the idea that our burning carbon has, already, set into motion dramatic changes to the entire planet’s environment, changes that will persist for 100,000 years, or more. One of these is ocean acidification. Dr. Bärbel Hönisch and her co-authors of the paper “The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification,” Science (2 March, 2012), show that the rate of change of ocean acidification is greater today, by at least an order of magnitude, than it has ever been during any period over the past 300,000,000 years. Rate of change, not absolute pH level, being what matters. The deep past includes, notably, a couple of rapid ocean acidification/mass extinction events. This therefore, not unreasonably, should be of concern. Thanks, Bärbel! Total runtime fifty minutes. Potius sērō quam nunquam.
electronic politics, 13 April 2012. Audio and article.