Coral bleaching and the Great Barrier Reef
What is happening?
Coral is bleaching at an alarming rate. Fossil fuel consumption, leading to rising ocean temperatures, is significantly undermining the health of coral (Australian Marine Conservation Society). Warming oceans cause algae inside the coral (which helps it survive) to be expelled, leaving behind a white skeleton of dead coral.
Who/ what is affected?
Coral, and all the marine life that depends upon coral for their habitat and survival.
How do you feel about it?
I feel deep sadness, anger and disappointment about the declining health of the Great Barrier Reef – arguably the gem of the seven natural wonders of the world. The reef is home to an abundance of species of fish, hard and soft corals, sharks and rays, threatened marine turtles, and marine mammals, including the vulnerable dugong (World Wildlife Fund, 2020). The reef deserves greater protection!
What is being done to address the issue?
There are many individuals, community groups, environmental organisations and scientists working hard to fight against coral bleaching. The Australian Marine Conservation Foundation has helped to ban dumping of dredge spoil in the reef, stop a $1 billion tax payer loan to Adani, and increase water quality regulations. Scientists are also researching how best to support coral to recover after bleaching events. Quitting coal and switching to renewable energy is crucial to reducing global temperature rises and coral bleaching.