Most people know that trees and other land plants absorb CO2. So do coastal ecosystems. It's called blue carbon. In fact, coastal ecosystems are up to 2,000 times more efficient than land plants at removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Wetlands store carbon in a stable, solid form in the marine sediments beneath their roots for thousands of years. Unfortunately, these ecosystems are threatened worldwide because of coastal development and pollution.
In order to take full advantage of these coastal ecosystems and their blue carbon capabilities, we have to make sure they are protected and restored. The best way to do this is in Canada is to safeguard our seagrass and salt marshes as part of a national network of marine protected areas. By reducing our global greenhouse gas emissions at the same time, perhaps we can start to ease the pressure on our oceans that have already become warmer and more acidic.