Menu | Sign Up | Donate

Much ado about the ocean-blue

Our oceans must maintain a balance for marine life to survive, but human activity threatens the blue ocean.

Ocean dead zones, or hypoxic zones, are created when significant nutrient pollution causes rapid algae blooms. Algae die and decompose, consuming all the oxygen dissolved in water. This results in barren waters with no signs of life except bloated dead fish. Marine ecosystems with a diversity of food chains are disrupted and lost.

Dead zones have increased tenfold in the past 50 years, with over 400 coastal communities reporting them worldwide. The second-largest in the world is right in our front yard in the Gulf of Mexico, home to Rice’s whales, sperm whales, and melon-headed whales, among other species.

In 2015, sixteen striped bass were found dead in a Famouth salt pond, having chased bait fish into an ocean dead zone. The town responded by banning the application of quick-release fertilizers to residential lawns. There has not been a fish kill since then. Meanwhile, twelve years later, striped bass chased menhaden into the Mystic River. The dark-muscled, swift-swimming fish died rapidly in the ocean dead zone. Stopping the use of quick-release fertilizers (instead, you may use one annual application of 100% slow-release fertilizer) restores ocean health off our shores.

We protect marine life by cherishing water on land and not letting it flow quickly to the sea. Climate change has brought warmer weather, which means plants need more water for photosynthesis to draw down more carbon dioxide. For every ton of carbohydrates put into biomass and soils, there are 3.64 tons less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (carbohydrate molecules are that much bigger than CO2).

The ocean cools our climate in the summer and warms it during the winter. Record summer temperatures warm the land’s surface, especially non-vegetated surfaces. Contact with heated land surfaces warms the water. (You may test a widely held misconception by attempting to warm a pint glass of water with a hair dryer.)

When we slow down water and keep it on the land longer, we reduce the warming and polluting of the ocean, and research indicates we may reduce sea level rise by as much as 25%.

By acting locally in our communities, without much ado, we can restore the balance of the ocean blue. How cool is that?

Steady on,


Posted on May 1, 2024.

Stay Informed

Save the Right Whales

The North Atlantic right whale is a critically endangered whale. In the 1970s, with the first whale watches, there were estimated to be 350 right whales, and the population was growing. Then, in 2017, right whales took a turn for the worse. By 2020, the population had fallen to 338 right whales, with only 50-70 breeding females. We must now do more to protect and restore right whales.


Latest News

Read More