Coral reefs are dying out in our seas and it may not be reversible. Recent news has shown the drastic die off of these reefs known as “bleaching” around the world. What is truly alarming is the fact that this damage could be irreversible. The only place you may be able to see them in the not-so-distant future are in aquariums and history books. They will likely still outlast anyone reading this though.
A reef is made of rock, sand, coral or other material lying just beneath the surface of the ocean or as deep as around 250 ft. below the water. Some reefs are made of living organisms like oysters and are called biotic reefs. The largest and most widely recognized type is a coral reef. The coral is what makes up most of the reef and looks like super cool rock. The algae living on the reef is what helps it grow and survive the onslaught of never ending ocean waves and currents. The most well-known and most popular reef is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This is the worlds largest reef stretching over 1400 miles around the coast of Australia. Around two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has died and will not likely recover to its former glory.
Global warming has been identified as the root cause as it has caused the temperature of ocean waters to rise. This has made certain areas where reefs are located inhospitable for the plants and animal life who call these formations home. While this is devastating to the ecosystems of ocean life, it has and will cause economic problems for millions of people.
The Great Barrier Reef alone is responsible for generating money from tourism in the billions of dollars. This means major losses to the Australian government and all the people who have made their lives and businesses around the reefs ability to pull in customers. So many of those restaurants and scuba diving tours and charter boat businesses will be gone. Family businesses will be forced to close because the beautiful and amazing natural formation is now turning white and looks more like a graveyard than an aquatic marvel.
I tend to believe the statement made by Mike Healy who is a tourism operator with the Quicksilver group in Australia. He said that even those who don’t have a financial stake in the reef. “I’d say every human on the planet does.” He is right. While we may not all have money to be made we have an obligation to protect the wonders in our world when it is possible to do so. Whether it be personal effort or pressuring governmental and worldwide organizations to cut down Something like this deserves our respect and support.
Image Credit: The New York Times