Monday, February 2, 2009

Dumping crop waste in the ocean

As we begin our Ecology Case Studies, here's an interesting article about one method of potentially reducing global CO2 levels - A Carbon Keeper - "crop waste sunk to the deep ocean" - Do you think this is actually feasible? Do you foresee any potential problems? How might this dumping effect organisms in the deep sea? Should we proceed with crop waste dumping?

12 comments:

per2wumi said...

I think that dumping crops into the ocean won't decrease the production of CO2. Since these decomposing crops emit CO2, the Co2 will eventually "float" to the surface and go back into the air. This idea doesn't solve issue, but gives a quick fix for the situation. Eventually, the CO2 will be emitted back into the air.

per.2emily said...

I think that while dumping crops into the ocean may be effective, it is only a short term solution. We can only dump so much before the practice begins to have a negative effect. Therefore, I think that instead of just depositing crops and forgetting about it, people should instead see that as a way to minimize CO2 for the short term while eliminating the problem of global warming in a more permanent way.

period2Oona said...

In theory this is a good idea because it seems like an easy simple way to get rid of some of the CO2 in the atmosphere. However, it is definitely not the best way to deal with the problem. This is not a permanent solution because it is just throwing the plants, and CO2 into the ocean to sit at the bottom, the CO2 is not permanently gone. This would also cause a huge build up in corn stalk in the bottom of the ocean which is not a good thing and will definitely not work for a long term solution.

Period2Brandon said...

I agree that the idea of dumping crop residues deep into the ocean to stop them from decomposing and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere seems too simple to work. However, sometimes the simple solution is the best solution. I do not know how hard it is to dump crops into the ocean, but compared to other options to reduce carbon dioxide this one seems easy.

Researchers said that deep ocean dumping wouldn't affect the environment that much because the dumping would be concentrated. Although it is concentrated, I think it would still affect the ecosystem because there will be a change in habitat which the organisms have to adapt to. This might lead to the rise of an organism that could not thrive in the environment before, or a depletion of organisms that used thrive.

period2Nikhil said...

Dumping crops into the ocean evidently will help lessen our carbon emissions and in turn the effects of global warming. However,the possible effects it could have on the oceanic ecosystem should be an important factor in whether we choose to carry out this strategy. Also, this must be a short term solution, since we cannot continue to dump crop waste into the ocean for hundreds of years and expect no negative effects. We could be polluting the ocean and kill many organisms, even the ones that deep in the ocean.

Period 1 Chloe P-C said...

Even though the article said that the crops would decrease CO2 levels by 15%, I find it hard to believe that this solution is fool-proof. The article didn't address ecological concerns at all, and I worry that the deep-sea ecosystem(where creatures aren't used to these crops in their environment)would be disrupted somehow. I also think that, while scientists think this method would be effective, how much would it cost? In order to sink these crops, I'm sure it would take a lot of deep-sea freighters, and the fossil fuel emissions from these freighters could potentially undo all the good the crops would be doing anyway.

Period 1 Virginia said...

One of the major problems with this proposal seems to be the generalness of it. It isn't specified how the crop waste would remain at the bottom of the ocean. If boats are just dumping random loads of crop waste into the ocean, there is a large chance the unattached bits of crop waste will float right back up to the ocean surface. This would defeat the whole purpose of sequestering the carbon and would also needlessly clutter the ocean. There is also the danger that some of the crop waste had been sprayed with pesticides and therefore would further contaminate the ocean and poison its inhabitants.

I agree with the other posts that this isn't a long-term solution is fixing the symptoms, not the source of the problem. However, the basic principle seems sound but the actual plan needs a bit of tweaking before implemented. Perhaps the crop waste should be isolated in some other manner that wouldn't harm an ecosystem or its organisms.

Period1Issiah said...

Although this may seem like a short term solution because the plants may eventually decompose and the CO2 may eventually make its way back into the atmosphere. I think a short term solution that helps fix the growing issue of global warming along with other methods like simply cut our emissions may be more beneficial in the end result. However, I would like to be more clearly informed of the possible negative effects it may have on the oceanic ecosystem or anything else. Until then I can only say that it is an interesting idea and may be a viable technique that we could use in the future.

Callie said...

Dumping crop waste in the ocean seems like an obvious and effective solution at first. However, I think that putting mass amounts of crop waste into the oceanic ecosystems could have negative consequences for marine ecosystems. To actually have a worthwhile effect or actual difference, there would have to be HUGE amounts of crop waste dumped. Surely, if dumped in mass, the crop waste will disrupt the delicate balance of marine ecosystems.

Furthermore, I completely disagree with this because I believe that instead of trying to make the oceans compatible with our ridiculous consumption of CO2 patterns, we should try to shift away from emitting so much CO2. In other words, instead of continuing to emit as much CO2 as we currently do and put crop waste in the oceans, we should try to actually decrease our immense CO2 emissions. Afterall, that is truly the only way we will be able to save ourselves from global warming. Dumping crop waste in the ocean isn't going to cut it.

period1marina said...

I don't think this is a realistic solution to the CO2 problem. really, ideally, we need to just stop producing it. people need to drive less and eat less meat and cut down less trees and do everything else that is emitting the CO2. This seems to me like a human way of solving a much bigger problem without having to actually do anything serious about it. It doesn't mean WE have to change our ways, we're jsut dumping our waste in someone else's habitat. What goes around comes around and in my opinon this is a dumb idea that will not yield practical results in the long run. We need to deal with it in the face and change our way of living instead of ignoring it through easy and temporary methods.

period1ColeG said...

how could the plants never decompose? if the plants never decomposed then this might be a decent solution, but they must eventually decompose and release CO2 back into the water and atmosphere, increasing the ocean's acidity-something that would have negative effects on marine wildlife and other factors. also this really doesn't seem to be much of a short term solution either because it would take a millennium for any decent results to be observed, therefore something else should be considered that wouldn't threaten the marine ecosystem.

Period1_Micaela said...

This idea to me seems a bit ridiculous. It also seems too much work, collect it,having to concentrate it in one area, and deep ocean dump it. I can't help laughing at that. It also says, that if it were to happen world-wide 15% of our CO2 could be decreased.
For me this idea just seems like a cop-out idea. We should be focusing on other ways to reduce C02 levels. Like Marina said we should be focusing on a long term goal to change our way of living instead of focusing on what seems to be a quick and temporary solution.