By Laura Keil, Publisher/Editor
New research from the University of Victoria shows that coastline estuaries in B.C. are twice as good as forests at absorbing carbon dioxide.
The carbon stored there—in salt marshes, mud flats and eelgrass meadows—is dubbed “blue carbon” and is absorbed by marine plants and algae that amass in estuary sediments where it’s trapped by a low-oxygen environment.
We are discovering new things all the time about greenhouse gases and climate change. Some good news and some bad. For instance, estuaries are frequently dyked, drained or filled to make way for agriculture or development. Not only can this remove their carbon capturing ability but it can also release carbon dioxide that’s been trapped there, perhaps for millenia.
What’s certain is that climate change has the potential to kick humanity in the gut for a 3-point field goal.
We live in a valley whose economy is currently a mix of pipeline, forestry, tourism and agriculture, and it might be difficult to conceive of an identity that allows us to be climate change leaders. I want to challenge that. It deflates me when people criticise others for being hypocrites if they encourage climate action but aren’t perfect climate angels. Let’s be clear: no one is a climate angel—a person can always be better. And similarly, a person can always be worse. A much more responsible paradigm is to look at our lives through a lens of opportunity: in my field of X, where can I make a difference? It may be that you work in the oil industry. Great. Start there. What better place to start, when you think about it. Or perhaps you work in agriculture or forestry. What more can be done there? I ask myself those very same questions in my profession.
We can forget the angel and the devil. There are no “sides” to climate change. We’re all in the same boat and we all have different views of the solutions. We can all be a leader in our sphere of influence. In fact, what better way is there?