Alexis Pearson The Charter News
If you want to visit Australia, what comes to mind? The opera house? The outback? The Great Barrier reef? Well, due to massive coral bleaching, there soon will be no Great Barrier reef to visit. The Great Barrier reef is an Australian icon, treasured worldwide. It is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and the Largest living structure on the planet; so big it’s visible from space.
There are 2,900 reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, and 150 inshore mangrove islands within the great barrier reef. The reef houses 1,625 species of fish. That’s 10% of the world’s fish species; 600+ types of hard and soft corals, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, 30 species of whales and dolphins, 14 species of sea snakes, and 6 of 7 of the world’s species of marine turtle.
It is an icon and a breathtaking natural wonder. But, due to massive coral bleaching and human impact, the Great Barrier Reef is dying. With the waters acidic level rising and greenhouse gases heating the atmosphere and waters, the coral is bleaching and becoming very sick.
Only 7% of corals in the Great Barrier Reef are unbleached, and Human influences resulted in a 50% decline in coral cover, and at some reefs, the final death toll is likely to exceed 90%.
The cumulative effect of these threats weakens the Reef’s resilience, affecting its ability to recover from serious disturbances predicted to become more frequent in the future. If the reef dies we lose one of our 7 natural wonders. No more snorkeling through the miles of reef, going to view the marine life, or the thousands of marine plants.
The good news is that coral reefs are naturally resilient, and by reducing these threats and minimizing impacts we enable reefs to naturally recover. Everyone’s actions (whether big or small) to reduce threats and restore condition will improve the Reef’s outlook (how to help the reef).
The Great Barrier reef is an Australian icon, and a future without it is unimaginable. Our actions, big or small, can help. Simple things such as recycling will make a big impact in saving the reef. The Great Barrier reef is tough and resilient like a warrior, with our help it can recover for this sickness that has been put upon it.