As I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, ocean acidification appears to be surpassing coral bleaching in the public imagination, at least according to a comparison of Google searches over the past few years.
Attention to ocean acidification and coral bleaching is now far surpassed by attention to the Pacific garbage patch.
Many factors may be at play here, including NGO and media focus on the Pacific garbage patch. Regardless, I can't help but wonder if the dominance of the garbage patch points to the power of the visceral, and the inherent struggle communicating "invisible" environmental changes, like ocean chemsitry changes, and in some ways, even climate. Sure, coral bleaching is visceral, but it is also foreign to most North Americans, and the causes of bleaching are invisible. But garbage? People can all relate to garbage. You can see it and smell it. Garbage is also a good metaphor; the ocean is literally our dumping ground.