A coral reef plea letter was sent to the Prime Minister of Australia by an international group of coral reef scientists on Saturday, concerning the health of the Great Barrier Reef, and the fossil fuel consumption of the country.
About 2,000 people who were attending the International Coral Reef Symposium signed the letter in Honolulu, many of them members and higher-ups of the International Society for Reef Studies.
ABC reported part of the letter as saying the following.
“This year has seen the worst mass bleaching in history, threatening many coral reefs around the world including the whole of the northern Great Barrier Reef, the biggest and best-known of all reefs. The damage to this Australian icon has already been devastating.”
Back in March, the Huffington Post wrote an article about the devastation taking place in the Great Barrier Reef, where they quoted researcher Lyle Vail, who said the following.
“We do notice a bit of minor bleaching most summers, but this year is exceptional. Unfortunately we’ve got the perfect storm conditions for coral bleaching. At the moment we’ve got brilliant clear sunny skies, calm conditions, little tidal movement. A lot of that hot water on top of the reef flat is just staying there and cooking the coral.”
— Daniel Rockett (@DRock1978) March 21, 2016
The coral reef plea letter should be taken seriously, as letting such a large and diverse ecosystem as the Great Barrier Reef completely die would have ramifications that would likely stretch to have not just regional, but global consequences.
The Great Barrier Reef composes some 135,000 square miles of territory, and according to National Geographic, it just so happens that it emits the same amount of oxygen into the air as a dense rain forest would of the same size.
While the Great Barrier Reef may not be the only reef in the world, it’s been one of those hardest hit in recent years by mass bleaching events, and learning how to save the Great Barrier Reef may help us save other reefs as well. It’s important to note that reefs harbor around a quarter of the oceans fish population, which means that if the reefs die, so do almost a whole quarter of the remaining fish on the planet. There are also still countries and areas of the world that are reliant on their reefs in order to make a living and eat, and if those reefs go then we’re not only going to start seeing refugees from war torn countries, but also those who’ve completely lost their livelihoods due to our continued treatment of the planet.
This includes Australia, seeing as they harbor the Great Barrier Reef, which is a natural wonder of the world and thus a large tourist attraction. If the Great Barrier Reef dies, then so does much of the Queensland’s tourism industry, which accounts for nearly 6 percent of all the jobs in Queensland. Back in April, Business Insider reported that only 7 percent of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef has been spared from at least some of the mass bleaching. The bleaching is a huge threat to the $5 billion tourism industry.
Scientists at the conference did pledge that they would work with certain countries to help save their reefs from eventual annihilation.
“We will work together with national leaders of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the world to curb the continued loss of coral reefs.”
[Photo by Greenpeace via Getty Images]