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The Kid Should See This

Blue carbon, the ocean, wetlands, and climate change

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“When it comes to fighting climate change, you probably know how important renewable energy is. And you may know about how forests and other natural landscapes can soak up carbon.

“But there’s another planet-sized force on our side, an unsung hero that’s really making waves. We’re talking about the ocean. Not only is the ocean home to some of the most astounding creatures on Earth, it also provides half of the oxygen we breathe and regulates weather patterns around the world.

“And parts of the ocean are real superheroes when it comes to preventing further global warming. Coastal habitatsβ€”like salt marshes, seagrasses, and mangrovesβ€”can store 5-10 times more carbon per acre than forests on land. This process is known as “‘blue carbon.'”

trapping carbon
Learn how wetlands trap and hold carbon, known as a carbon sink, and why they’re so important to protect. This Nature Conservancy animation introduces blue carbon and shares how we can help these formidable ecosystems to “turn the tide” on climate change. Via NOAA:

“These coastal systems, though much smaller in size than the planet’s forests, sequester this carbon at a much faster rate, and can continue to do so for millions of years. Most of the carbon taken up by these ecosystems is stored below ground where we can’t see it, but it is still there. The carbon found in coastal soil is often thousands of years old!

underground

“The bigger picture of blue carbon is one of coastal habitat conservation. When these systems are damaged, an enormous amount of carbon is emitted back into the atmosphere, where it can then contribute to climate change. So protecting and restoring coastal habitats is a good way to reduce climate change. When we protect the carbon in coastal systems, we protect healthy coastal environments that provide many other benefits to people, such as recreational opportunities, storm protection, and nursery habitat for commercial and recreational fisheries.”

When we protect wetlands, we safeguard habitats for numerous species, including amphibians like frogs and salamanders, reptiles such as turtles and snakes, mammals like beavers and otters, and a wide variety of fish and invertebrates.

Additionally, wetlands provide critical stopover points and nesting sites for migratory birds while offering vital habitats for marine species like rays and gentle giants like manatees. These diverse ecosystems support a range of terrestrial, freshwater, and aquatic life, contributing to overall biodiversity and ecological balance.

manatees, rays, and birds
Watch more videos about wetlands and natural climate solutions on TKSST, including:
β€’Β Why are mangrove trees so important?
β€’Β Mangrove Forest: Coastal Erosion Mitigation
β€’Β Why are peatlands so important?
β€’Β What are sponge cities?
β€’Β The power of seaweed: How can kelp help capture carbon?
β€’Β Why are beavers and their super wild, messy wetlands essential?

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