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Letter: Shellfish risk is related to warming

Crew of the fishing boat sort hundreds of

Crew of the fishing boat sort hundreds of fresh oysters pulled from the Long Island Sound. (Oct. 5, 2011) Credit: Steve Pfost

The piece "Shellfish face risk" [News, Aug. 24] discussed the dangers posed to shellfish in the Long Island Sound because of acidification of the water. This is partly from nitrogen from human waste and runoff from fertilizers. The article, however, neglected to mention that in addition to the unique local factors, this is a global issue related to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate change.

According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is solid evidence that our carbon emissions are changing the basic chemistry of oceans, making them more acidic.

It's time for true solutions. Individually, we need to reduce our carbon footprint in whatever way possible. The largest impacts will come by each of us eating lower on the food chain, making our homes more efficient while switching to clean energy, and by reducing automotive emissions by transitioning to clean-fuel vehicles and driving less.

Locally, we will benefit from reducing the runoff of pollutants into the Sound through education and programs aimed at reducing the use of unnecessary and dangerous lawn chemicals, and properly managing human waste. And as part of the global community, we need to support clean energy, aiming to make Long Island a clean energy leader by rapidly implementing energy efficiency measures. We need to move away from dirty 20th century fuels, and toward sustainable energy from the wind, sun and Earth.

Bob DiBenedetto, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is the president of HealthyPlanet, an advocacy organization.