The world is getting warmer. This is a scientific fact that we have known and in a lot of instances, ignored for years. There are observable consequences of this global climate change, including the endangerment of one of Earth’s natural wonders: The Great Barrier Reef.
The warming air temperatures have lead to a warming of ocean waters (makes sense, right?) This increased temperature of the waters in Australia puts stress on the coral of the Great Barrier Reef and causes them to eject a symbiotic algae that is essential for their survival. The deprived coral then begins to starve and turn white.
Recently, some top scientists who study water quality have labeled the state of the Great Barrier Reef as “terminal”.
In Australia, a summer with record-breaking high temperatures lead to a major bleaching event in the reef. Records show that two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef have been lost to bleaching. This is one-third more than what was lost the year before.
Source: Hamilton Island
According to water quality researcher Terry Hughes,“The significance of bleaching this year is that it’s back to back, so there’s been zero time for recovery.”
It takes about a decade for coral to recover from the effects of a bleaching event, so the approximate twelve months that have been between these events leave no recovery time to buffer the impact of each event.
Hughes identifies Global Warming as the cause of the deterioration of the reef: “One-degree Celsius of warming so far has already caused four events in the past nineteen years. Ultimately, we need to cut carbon emissions, and the window to do so is rapidly closing.”
“We’ve given up. It’s been my life managing water quality, we’ve failed,” says Researcher Jon Brodi of James Cook University. Clearly, the outlook is bleak.
“Terminal” is not a word we like to hear. No matter who or what it is in reference to, it leaves us with a sense of hopelessness. Terminal = too late now.
But now more than ever, we need to avoid that mindset. We need to protect our planet from tragedies like this. Our beautiful coral reef may be dying, but there are plenty of other wonders worth protecting. With a little TLC, we can preserve so many beautiful features of this planet (that are also necessary for our existence)!
~Earth Day is Saturday, April 22nd~
Source: Panam Post
What better way to spend a Saturday than doing some good for Mother Earth? Find out what your community is doing for Earth Day; get involved! Or maybe start your own project to get others involved. You can even do something on your own.
In short, we all should be doing good for the planet regularly, but this special day is set aside for everyone to help out simultaneously. Don’t sit on the sidelines this Earth Day.