Scientists predict that in the next century a large majority of our worlds corals will die or be seriously injured. This is going to be a serious problem considering how dependent our global society has become on reefs. Not only do we use the ocean for a large portion of our food, but the ocean also provides scientists with new organisms that may hold the key to helping serious diseases. There are steps that we can take to slow the deterioration of our coral reefs, and hopefully give corals a chance to heal.
There are many small steps that the everyday person can take to make a difference. For example, a majority of people use pesticides and fertilizers on a regular basis, but a majority of the chemicals people use to help their gardens find their way into the ocean. The chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers are extremely dangerous to corals, so if we can stop using these products, or at least limit the use of these products it would make an impact.
Another example of something small is education. A majority of people don’t even know that corals are facing a serious threat. If schools and media put in a small amount of time and effort to inform people around the globe of the situation, there would be a much greater appreciation for the beauty and role of reefs. This could lead to people wanting to do something about the issue.
Being respectful on vacations can also help a great deal. Tourism is having a devastating effect on coral reefs. Tourists carelessly stepping on corals and mistreating them often leads to serious damage if the coral doesn’t die. Another thing that tourists do is use sunscreen. There are some sunscreens that do not harm the environment, but an overwhelming majority of sunscreen products are jam packed with chemicals that have devastating effects on not only corals, but also marine life in general. Although it sounds like a small change, educating tourists on how to be respectful around reefs can have a huge impact.
Pollution in general is one of the leading contributors in this coral epidemic. It’s quite simple. Pollution leads to the death of our worlds organisms and ecosystems. For corals, the extremely high amount of CO2 being pumped into the air is raising our oceans water temperatures at an extremely high rate. High water temperatures leads to coral bleaching, the most pressing issue corals are facing right now. Being concise of the trash we throw away and the amount of CO2 we put into the air can have a huge impact. If we can reduce our CO2 output globally it will have a drastic effect on coral reefs, and hopefully give them time to repair themselves.
|“Status of and Threat to Coral Reefs.” Status of and Threat to Coral Reefs | International Coral Reef Initiative, www.icriforum.org/about-coral-reefs/status-and-threat-coral-reefs.|