Environment

The McMansion Coming to an Ocean Beach or Point Loma Lot Next to You

May 31, 2016 by Source

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The Saga of the Controversial Froude Project at the San Diego Planning Commission

By Tom and Judy Parry

The decision by the San Diego Planning Commission was pretty clear: Five votes to allow a McMansion to go forward on our quiet Ocean Beach block of Froude Street, one vote to stop it.

Amid our disappointment, we’re allowing the lessons we learned to sink in. The one most frightening is that it can happen on any O.B. street with similar zoning, even if no McMansions are present, even if the entire block is dead set against it.

We live on Froude Street, between Voltaire and Greene streets. As we blogged before, a 50-parcel with one single-family house is about to be split into two 25-foot lots, each with a three-level residence filling the lot and pushing the 30-foot height limit.

Froude sits on the boundary of the Peninsula and Ocean Beach advisory planning boards. We live in the Peninsula district, where the planning board voted against the project 9 to 1. The Ocean Beach board, though their boundary line down the middle of the street is just 20 feet away, was never notified by the city and not allowed to vote. The reason? “We’re not required to [notify them].”

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OB Planning Board Meets Wed., June 1: Round-abouts, “Citizens Plan”, and Vets’ Plaza

May 31, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OBPB Meet 5-4-16 board
The OB Planing Board meets Wednesday, June 1st, at the OB Recreation Center. And at the top of their agenda are a series of presentations and updates, with no new development projects up for review by the Board.

Instead, the Board will receive a presentation about the so-called “Citizens Plan for San Diego” by veteran politico, Jeff Marston. This is the plan backed by the Chargers and some environmentalists and public-interest lawyers to construct a new stadium and convention center downtown.

Next up, is a presentation by Joe LaCava, head of the Committee of Planning Committees – a body of all the planning boards and committees across the city – about the City’s goal to install twenty round-abouts throughout the city. We know the City and OB planners have been considering a round-about at the intersection of West Pt Loma and Bacon.

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The Red Crabs Have Arrived in Ocean Beach, Again

May 31, 2016 by Staff
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The red crabs have arrived in OB – again.

Check out these photos by South OB Girl of the arrival of the red crabs on Bermuda beach on Sunday, May 29th. The pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) – probably washed up with the high tide.

Here is something that it may take a while for the scientists to tell you:

They arrived here last year around the same time. It was June 11, 2015 when they washed up along OB beaches in massive numbers.

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Planning Commission Approves Froude Project – OB Planning Board Chair Blasts Process

May 27, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Froude New Design project red

If the Planning Commission does not listen to the voice of the Peninsula Planning Board or the Ocean Beach Planning Board, then what is the purpose of having community groups speak on behalf of the communities they represent.”
John Ambert, Chair of OB Planning Board

On Thursday, May 26th, residents along Froude Street in northeast OB received bad news. The San Diego Planning Commission had approved the controversial project where 2 two large homes with 2 stories and underground garages is planned for 2 small lots. A single-family residence is currently on the lots.

Part of the problem, as we have reported, is that the property is just a few yards from the formal Ocean Beach planning district line – and if it had been in OB, it would not have met the more restrictive requirements that the OB Community Plan. But it was in the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s jurisdiction. Yet, the Peninsula planners voted 9 to 1 against the project and some of them called it “sore thumb” because of its relatively large size and flashy, more modern architecture.

And the OB Planning Board didn’t have a say at all.

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Modular Living on Abbott and Voltaire – Photo Essay

May 27, 2016 by Source
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Editor: Our good friend, John Story, was happening by the commotion at Abbott and Voltaire on Wednesday and was surprised to see what was coming down. Literally – the 2 story units at that corner are modular and can be installed relatively very quickly.

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Stairs to Beach at Bermuda Avenue Have Collapsed

May 27, 2016 by Source
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By South OB Girl

The stairs to the beach at Bermuda Avenue have collapsed. Bermuda Avenue is in south Ocean Beach, and the stairs normally lead to a wonderful pocket beach – that has seen a lot of erosion over the last 40 years and loss of sand.

Repairs are expected to take at least 1 to 2 years.

COME INSIDE FOR MORE PHOTOS

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Reader Rant: ‘Tell the City to Reject Design’ of Controversial Froude Project

May 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Froude New Design project parry

 

Editor: The following “Reader Rant” was submitted to the OB Rag as a comment to the controversial Froude project – being heard by the San Diego Planning Commission today, May 26.

By Milladro

I am a third generation OB/ PL resident.

My great grand father, on my mothers side, arrived in San Diego during WW1 while serving in the US Navy. He purchased a modest home in the 1940’s where two subsequent generations have raised families.

That home has had its ocean views blocked by not one–but two boxy, out of proportion architectural designs.

These kind of developments really get under my skin.

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Peering into the Heart of Darkness: Why I Oppose Mayor Faulconer’s FY’17 Budget

May 25, 2016 by Anna Daniels

homeless w signBy Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

The following is the public testimony that I provided at the May 16 budget hearing before the San Diego city council.

Good Evening. My name is Anna Daniels and I am a resident of City Heights. I have attended close to a decade of budget hearings, always as an advocate for our library system.

But this year is different. I stand here before you as a person of conscience who has been witnessing first hand a burgeoning and permanent underclass of the dispossessed in City Heights and San Diego.
homeless sign vet one in 4

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OB Town Council – Presentations on OB’s Controversial Private Cops and Women’s Self-Defense – Wed., May 25th

May 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB security patrolThis Wednesday, May 25th, the Ocean Beach Town Council will hold its monthly public meeting at the Masonic Center, located at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, at 7pm as usual.

Besides the usual reports from the different politicians’ reps, reports from the public agencies that serve OB: fire department, police, lifeguard, elementary school, and library, and after all the Board members give their reports, the Town Council will move into its main agenda item: ‘OB public safety – engagement and empowerment”.

At the top of the public safety element, is a presentation of the OB Mainstreet Association’s “OB Security Program”- the enlistment of private security team patrols of a company called the National Public Safety (NPS). Reportedly, NPS teams “patrol the business districts of OB and work closely with SDPD to get positive results for the entire community.”

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Planning Commission to Hear Appeal of City’s Approval of Controversial Project on Froude Street – May 26th

May 23, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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This Thursday, May 26th, the San Diego Planning Commission will hear an appeal of the City’s decision to approve a controversial project slated for the 2200 block of Froude Street in Ocean Beach.

The project – two multistory residences – has outraged neighbors enough that they have supported the effort to appeal the decision by the City’s Development Services to okay it. The project includes:

“the demolition of an existing single-family structure and the construction of two new 1, 814 square-foot homes each over a 1,073 square-foot basement/two car garage on two legal lots.”

This is at 2257 Froude Street between Voltaire and Greene.

Here’s why there’s controversy – besides the bulk, style, etc of the project itself – :

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UC San Diego Faculty Call on Regents to Divest UC Funds from Fossil Fuels

May 20, 2016 by Source

Academic Senate votes in support of divestment resolution

UC San Diego Academic Senate

divestUC San Diego’s Academic Senate announced the passage of a resolution calling on the UC Regents to divest the University of California’s investment portfolio of stocks in companies whose primary business concerns the extraction and sale of fossil fuels.

According to its 1868 charter, governance of the University is shared between the Regents and the Academic Senate. The vote by tenure-track faculty and academic leadership took place electronically over a two week period ending May 11.

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Ocean Beach Airbnb Listings Rose 64% Since Last Year

May 19, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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New data from Airbnb shows that their short term vacation rentals listings in Ocean Beach have risen 64% since last year. This equates to 230 units, according to an article from Voice of San Diego.

The Voice article by Ashley McGlone, relies on new information from Airbnb analytics company Beyond Pricing, and says that “the number of Airbnb listings is rising in nearly every neighborhood across San Diego,”yet, “Ocean Beach and La Jolla saw the greatest gains.” (While OB had a rate of 64%, La Jolla rose to 58 percent with 404 rentals.)

And once again, Ocean Beach joined 5 other neighborhoods this year as well as last year in being the locations of almost half of all San Diego’s Airbnb listings. The other neighborhoods: Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, La Jolla, North Park and East Village.

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Progressive San Diego Voter Guide for June 2016 Primary

May 19, 2016 by Doug Porter

imageBy Doug Porter

Over the past few months the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag have reported on the candidates and causes central to the June 2016 primary elections.

We have combined our research and analyses with information from public sources to create a progressive voter guide for electoral contests appearing on ballots in the San Diego region.

This guide includes links to candidate websites, symbols indicating endorsements and a short overview of contests, along with links to our reporting.

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Reader Rant: SDG&E Closes Section of OB Bike Path Without Public Notice Just Before “Bike to Work Day”

May 19, 2016 by Source
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OB Commuters on Bike Path Will Have to Take Lengthy Detour

By Tom Roebuck

Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20th and has been heavily promoted by SANDAG.

But OB cyclists attempting to commute to work on Friday via the Ocean Beach bike path will encounter a chain-link fence just east of the W. Mission Bay Drive bridge.

With no public notice or input, SDG&E has completely closed the OB bike path between W. Mission Bay Drive and Pacific Highway until at least May 27.

The runway-flat stretch of blacktop on the south side of the San Diego River provides easy access from OB to Old Town, downtown San Diego and Mission Valley, and the closure will force cyclists, joggers, walkers and other users of the path onto busy surface streets for a lengthy detour.

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Direct Action Journal: Overcoming Fear

May 17, 2016 by Source

Hand painted sign calling attention to threat of rising sea level to South Tarawa and plea to "Save these islands!"

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

Another episode with anxiety knocks me to my bedroom floor. Rational thought forsakes me. My body shakes with the strangled sobs of a man ashamed of his tears. Alicia bends over me. Her dark brown eyes – normally calm with the consistent rationality characterizing her personality – are wide with concern and weariness. We’re only several nights removed from the last episode. She must think, “Oh god, not again.”

Alicia seeks to hold me. I find a deep comfort in her touch – and a deep revulsion. It’s not her. The contradiction is born from the lies fear instills in me.

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The Gentrification Machine Marches On – 5 Condos Planned for Lotus Street

May 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Residents in and around the 5000 block of Lotus Street have just been notified of a development application to build 5 condos on a lot currently holding a single-family residence. Some of those residents contacted the OB Rag out of extreme concern.

In the Notice of Application, see inside, the City announced that an application has been filed for the construction of 5 residential condominiums on the .15 acre site at 5064 Lotus. The five condos will total 10,560 square feet. The application also requests that the requirements to underground existing utilities be waived.

No reason for the request for a waiver was on the face of the Notice, but new developments these days are encouraged by City staff to obtain “waivers” on code requirements if they conform to the City’s Green Building Program.

The existing structure, a single-family residence with attached garage, would presumably be demolished – although there is no mention of that in the Notice. There is a large backyard and in the front there must stand one of the tallest Palm Trees in all of Ocean Beach.

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Is Affordable Housing In the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? – Part 4

May 16, 2016 by John Lawrence

Section 8 Rental Assistance is a Cruel Jokesection 8

By Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

Approximately 46,000 households in San Diego are on a waiting list to obtain a federal Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8). The average wait time to obtain a housing voucher is 8 to 10 years.

Nobody’s housing needs remain constant over a period of time that long. Many people on the waiting list will have died before they are called for their Section 8 rental assistance voucher. Cruel irony.

In theory, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program will pay the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30% of a renter’s monthly income.

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Wrong Tree Cut Down by City on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach

May 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Apology and Pledge Demanded by City Not to Cut Trees Without Community Approval

It appears that the City of San Diego – or at least its hired work crew – cut down the wrong tree on Voltaire Street in OB.

On May 3rd the company hired by the City cut down a Chinese Flame Tree on the 48oo block of Voltaire. Residents and local businesses were told that the tree was cut down because it was causing cracks in the sidewalk.

Locals were outraged – and the OB Rag has been following this outrage.

But in a tragic twist, our friends at The Green Store / Center – right across from where the tree was cut down – learned from the Mayor’s office on Thursday, May 12th, that indeed the wrong tree had been destroyed. The work crew apparently was supposed to chop down a pine tree just east of the Chinese Flame on the same side of the block.

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Reader Rant: ‘Sorry, Ocean Beach, your opinion doesn’t count.

May 12, 2016 by Source
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2 Multi-Story Residences on Border Between OB and Point Loma Approved by City Without OB Planning Board Input, While Peninsula Board Votes to Oppose Project

By Tom and Judy Parry

“Sorry, Ocean Beach, your opinion doesn’t count.”

That’s essentially what the city has told residents of a quiet Ocean Beach street where two multistory residences would be squeezed onto a tiny parcel and tower over the single-family homes on the block, if a developer prevails, . The ultra-modern architecture would blend in with Southern California Spanish style homes and graceful bungalows as well as a fisherman’s wading boots at a black tie dinner.

That’s the situation where we live, on Froude Street between Voltaire and Greene Street. The applicant wants two twin residences on two tiny lots, each just 25 feet wide. There’s an imaginary line that runs down Froude Street – our side is under Peninsula Community Planning Board jurisdiction. The other side, though less than 50 feet away, belongs in the Ocean Beach Planning Board district.

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Backlash Grows in Ocean Beach Against City Cutting Down Trees

May 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Ocean beach beachfront

There appears to be a growing backlash in Ocean Beach against the City’s cutting down of trees in the public right-of-way around the community. The backlash also includes negative reactions to the severe trimming of trees along commercial streets.

Three recent examples of OBceans exhibiting opposition to the downing or harsh trimming of trees illustrate this backlash.

The City is responsible for trees in the public right-of-way, and, of course, the City itself doesn’t cut down or trim trees – it contracts with private companies to do the dirty work. Signs of the backlash trend include, …

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Newport News – the Latest from Ocean Beach’s Main Street – and More

May 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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This is the latest of our occasional reports on the comings and goings of businesses on Newport Avenue – the main street of Ocean Beach, plus any new developments that have occurred recently. This is what we found on Monday, May 9th:

Renovations at the Sunshine Company

New exterior and changes inside the Sunshine Company may surprise locals who haven’t been there in a while. Part of the exterior wall in the front has been removed to move the establishment into the new way of drinking – visible and right off the public sidewalk. Upstairs, there is now more light and visibility.

Inside, the long counter and a series of tales has been taken out and replaced with cushioned seating along the wall and round tables in the middle.

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Was Chinese Flame Tree on Voltaire Needlessly Cut Down?

May 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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We have to ask: Was the Chinese Flame Tree on Voltaire needlessly cut down on May 3rd by the City?

At the time of the cutting, locals who inquired of the crews doing the work were told that the tree was causing cracks in the sidewalk and needed to be removed.

This particular tree was 17 years old and had been planted along with other Chinese Flames, as well as other types of trees, along Voltaire as part of a project sponsored by then-Councilman Byron Wear.

The problem with the explanation is that there are numerous trees along that block of Voltaire that have apparently caused similar cracks in the asphalt or concrete, or that exhibit lifts to the sidewalk, or that have patch jobs around them.

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OB Noodle House to Open New Restaurant and Bar in Former Gallagher’s

May 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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“Soft Opening” on Friday the 13th

The owner of the OB Noodle House is opening a brand new restaurant and bar in the former Gallagher’s on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach.

In an exclusive interview with the OB Rag, Steve Yeng stated that he has taken over the former Irish pub and is opening a new restaurant that will have “American food and Asian Street food”. Food, he said that didn’t need refrigeration.

Yeng wouldn’t give out the name of the new place – “it’s a secret”, he said, but he did say that the new restaurant – his family’s third within OB – will have some kind of OB historical theme – “honoring OB’s history,” he said.

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May News From Ocean Beach 92107

May 6, 2016 by Staff
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* Healthy Chinese Flame Tree Cut Down by City on Voltaire

* Newport Avenue to Be Repaved in June
* Roundabout Being Considered by City at West Pt Loma and Bacon
* Many Former Hippies Turn Out for Frank Gormlie’s Talk on “Hippies in OB”
* OB Tenants United Meeting
* Now OB Residents Can Order Their Booze Thru Delivery Service
* Update on Police Cameras – Signage Finalized, Still Month Away From Placement
* Oldest in the Country: the OB Kite Festival – May 14th
* OB Fire House to Have Major Rehab
* OB Library Expansion Could Be Caught in Catch-22 as City Insists on New Design Assessment
* City Budget Includes Gains for OB
Lifeguard Rescues for March

OB Planning Board Presented with Final Version of Plan, New City Planner

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Transportation Justice for San Diego

May 6, 2016 by Source

By Environmental Health Coalition

A recent KPBS article reports that The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the organization responsible for planning the transportation in San Diego County, spent close to $1.5 million on a publicity strategy for the regional transportation plan.

The plan, passed last October, put freeways before people, ignoring recurring community requests for improved transit, biking and walking infrastructure before expanding freeways.

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Ocean Beach Planners Okay Project on Bacon and Delay Vote on Controversial Abbott Condos

May 5, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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The OB Planning Board held their monthly meeting Wednesday night, May 4th – and they were presented with the grand, final version of the OB Community Plan, they appointed two new people to the Board, approved one project on Bacon and decided not to vote on a controversial project at Abbott and Muir.

Board Appointments

Two new people were appointed to the Board. Vivian McCardle, a resident of Del Monte Avenue, was appointed to District 1. McCardle is active in the wild parrot group, SoCal Parrots – and the recent spate of shootings is what has motivated her to get involved in the community. The other appointee was William Corwin, …

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The OB Green Activist Calendar for May 2016

May 5, 2016 by Source
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UPDATED – More Events Have Been Added

Events in
Ocean Beach or in Point Loma

May 12th Thursday 7 p.m. Film Night “Bitter Seeds” at the OB Green Center, 4843 B Voltaire in OB. –

May 14 Saturday at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 68th Annual OB Kite Festival – at Dusty Rhodes Park,

May 20th Friday 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. OB EXPOSED Ocean Beach Historical society presents Photographic Impressions of Ocean Beach and Point Loma Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. OB

May 21st Saturday 1:00 p.m. Friends of Famosa Slough Nature and Bird
May 25th Wednesday 7:00 pm – Monthly meeting of the OB Town Council, Masonic Center.

FOR MORE INFO – COME INSIDE

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1983: Proposal to Increase Density in OB Met by Community Meeting of 400 – Most Opposed

May 5, 2016 by Source

OB CPG Broc Graf2
Editor: Today, we showcase a personal account of a density battle in 1983 by Steve Wimmers, who was on the Board during the Eighties, was its Chair in 1983 and still lives in the area:

By Steve Wimmers

There was another historic vote that affected, and still affects, the future development of Ocean Beach. It was a vote by the Ocean Beach Planning Board that occurred in 1983.

The composition of the Planning Board at that time consisted of seven environmentalists and seven realtors and pro developers. The realtors and pro developers supported a proposal that would change the density in the OB Precise Plan area.

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Is Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? – Part 3

May 5, 2016 by John Lawrence

The City Needs to Build and Own More Affordable Units

SD Housing CommissionBy Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

According to a recent Zillow report: “Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego are unaffordable for both renters and buyers. … Looking forward, the picture doesn’t look bright for renters.

Rents will likely keep rising at roughly their current pace for at least the next few years, which will lead to a continued affordability crunch unless wage growth significantly improves.”

Enter the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) whose job is to redress the balance of unaffordable rents to make it possible for San Diego to be inhabited by other than rich folks.

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The Massive, Tragic Trashing of Our Oceans: Is There Still Time to Do Something About It?

May 5, 2016 by Source
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There is sobering news about marine health, but it is not too late to change our behaviors

By Reynard Loki / AlterNet

It’s impossible to overestimate how critical the oceans are to the overall health of life on Earth. For one thing, tiny marine plants called phytoplankton provide up to 85 percent of the world’s oxygen, according to EarthSky.org. But the oceans don’t just give us good stuff like oxygen; they take away bad stuff, like carbon dioxide.

A 2011 international study led by the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, estimated that the oceans absorb 27 percent of the CO2 produced by the fossil fuel combustion.

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