As anyone who has ever visited Australia will testify, one of the most amazing sites on this planet in the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders.
The Reef contains one of the richest and most diverse sources for life on earth; 400 different kinds of coral, coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old inhabit the reef.
Unfortunately, the very existence of this natural wonder is uncertain. A scientific study recently found that in the past 27 years, the Great Barrier Reef’s coral cover declined by 50%. This figure is so staggering, it is difficult for me to comprehend. This natural wonder, which stretches several thousand miles and is visible from space, has lost half of its area in less than three decades. The Australian group that conducted this study stated that if trends continue, the Reef may half again by 2022. While this drastic change isn’t entirely attributed to human activity (tropical storms are also a factor), these storms may have intensified recently due to climate change. Rising ocean temperatures have also increased the frequency of coral bleaching. Ocean acidification, overfishing, and coastal development – which all have detrimental effects – can also be attributed to humans.
Despite the beauty, fame, and popularity of the Reef, our society has turned a blind eye to this crucial issue (which seems to be a common occurrence in climate related issues). Major media outlets have failed to cover this story, and political discourse (on both sides of the aisle) have neglected to even mention climate related issues. These issues could not be more relavent, impactful, or crucial to our future; we must stop ignoring them, and we must begin seeking a solution.
The green tip of the week will focus on this blog’s theme of ocean protection. Minimizing the amount of plastic that you use and waste will help protect aquatic life. Wasted plastic contaminates our oceans, killing thousands of marine animals. Try to use plastic bottles, store your food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and to recycle.
If you’d like to learn more information about how to protect our oceans, click this link.