The effects of climate change can range from prosaic to pernicious, from scary to surprising. A recent paper in Nature Communications spurred the imagination of readers and reporters by discussing how ocean color may change due to a changing climate, and what this can tell us about how and where ecosystems are responding. This inspired me to reflect on the different ways our actions affect our environment. My thoughts expanded beyond photosynthesis and phytoplankton to shifting perceptions as well as ecosystem changes. These are likely adverse—for me, they came out in verse:
Our view of the world is colored
by reflection and radiance
and responds as we change—
yellow, orange, red, indigo, violet.
Blue-green ocean and our
ocean view; we thought it was
vast, wide, unencumbered,
colored by our memories alone.
We change and we change
Still imperceptible, slight shifts
green tides of new communities.
Uncontrolled growth leading to
uncontrolled growth but also,
diving deeper, blue and
Changing colors as we change
Our climate; and we ask,
“How does the color of the ocean change?”
“When will these changes be unambiguous relative to natural interannual variability?”
Uncomprehending, we don’t see changes,
but we answer as we model
shifting patterns of sea changes,
our world responding to our weight.
We show true colors, blue colors,
green colors, reflections of
our effects, affected by our actions
A shimmering chimera
That reflects us.
Review our acts and
re-view our future
colored by reflection undimmed,
uncertain, by chance…
Seize time, change change,
and paint a vision where