Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Is the Great Barrier Reef Actually Dying?

Prius and Tesla drivers, unfortunately, may get a little flack for being “pretentious” and “conceited” about their willingness to save the planet, but they may be on to something here. Both cars are geared (pun intended) toward reducing carbon emissions since cars burn gas at an alarming rate, which therefore pollutes the earth with carbon. Carbon may not sound like the bad guy, but trust me, carbon plagues our planet more and more every single day.

Because of these carbon emissions, the environment is getting increasingly more damaged as we speak, especially underwater, which many people don’t think about. Just thinking about coral reefs immediately transports me back to Mrs. Fetch’s first grade class when she showed us Finding Nemo. Six-year-old me was absolutely mesmerized by the vast amount of colors that filled the screen, portraying the extremely diverse, colorful and beautiful Great Barrier Reef. I know that real life obviously doesn’t look the same as the movies, especially animated movies, but this reef definitely doesn’t look the same in real life due to coral bleaching.

The other day, I heard something that stood out to me, something that brought me back to this six-year-old version of myself. This quote is from Mark Eakin who works for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch: “We’ve seen half of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef killed by climate change in just two years…” This felt like a shot through the heart as the mesmerizing Finding Nemo scene was immediately washed away from my memory and was replaced with a stark and dismal depiction.

Courtesy: The Loop

The entire problem revolves around global warming and climate change that is caused because of the heat emissions that are created by humans. Coral bleaching occurs when the water reaches a temperature that is warmer than normal. The coral reacts by releasing algae, which gives it a white tint. Even though the corals aren’t dead after they go through this process, it doesn’t take much heat to cause a coral to die and it doesn’t seem like we are going to halt our pollution any time soon. There would have to be a widespread movement of continual change in order to help this situation.

Courtesy: Inside Climate News

The fish haven’t done anything to us, so why are we killing their neighborhoods? Many countries are involved in the Paris Climate Agreement, which requires significant efforts to help the environment that might eventually make a difference! But, under the current Trump administration, the U.S. seems to be uninterested in helping the climate change issue.

But, we can still do something to help our earth! The first thing you need to do is to buy a Prius. No, I’m just kidding, there are TONS of other smaller things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint, even in college! Bike to school, eat organic, #MeatlessMonday, recycle, turn off your lights, use cloth bags instead of plastic, add solar panels to your dorm… The last suggestion may be a little difficult and you might need a ladder. But, there are plenty of things you can do to help the environment, even if it may not seem like much.

As a rising senior at Florida State University, Jenna loves to play Ultimate Frisbee, write, run, read, edit and everything in between. She is a current Lifestyle intern at Her Campus in Boston and is currently discovering the city girl she never knew she was. She is so open to new people and experiences and is excited to see what the world has to offer. Also, dogs. 
Similar Reads👯‍♀️