n April 2010, The Santa Barbara Independentpublished an in-depth cover story on ocean acidification, becoming one of the first general interest publications to explain how our planet’s 200-year addiction to burning fossil fuels is dramatically increasing the toxicity of the seas. Nearly three years later, despite much more media attention, lots of government funding, and repeated warnings from scientists, the everyday earthling still has very little clue how much trouble we are almost certain to face in our lifetimes when the oceans’ rising acidity decimates the marine system as we know it, putting the supply of seafood at risk, among other global impacts.
But the public may be starting to pay attention, thanks to our collective love for oysters, as the popular slurpable shellfish is emerging as the canary in the acidification coal mine. “Oysters are the first things being affected that have a spokesman for them,” said Bill Dewey, who will speak at the Edible Institute this weekend and had the BBC and USA Today coming to visit his farm last week. “The science is irrefutable. Hopefully people start paying more attention.”