Coral Reefs in Danger

The director of the census bureau in charge of marine species, called the Global Marine Species Assessment, has issued a warning about the deterioration of earth's coral reefs. It was stated that perhaps within 100 years we may see the total collapse of all the coral reefs around the country and the world. Future generations will be severely affected if we don't start taking the steps to protect these natural wonders, which provide enormous benefits to humanity.


As many as 1 billion people could be affected, especially in Asia, where much of the population depends on the reefs for their livelihoods. So the major question on the table becomes: what's causing the die-off of coral reefs around the world? A prime cause is global warming: as ocean water begins to rise in temperature, coral begins to die off, causing coral bleaching.

Wikipedia provides a handy definition of coral bleaching as "the whitening of corals due to stress-induced expulsion or death of symbiotic, algae-like protozoa, or due to the loss of pigmentation within the protozoa," adding that "once the bleaching begins, it will continue even without continuing stress."

If you were looking at the earth from outer space, you could see whole areas where coral is whitening and dying, largely because of global warming. Other causes include typhoons, hurricanes, coral-eating predators like the crown of thorns starfish, overfishing, pollution, coastal development, and even disease.

Many people really aren't aware of the everyday benefits that the reefs provide; it's one of those things that is otherwise taken for granted. For example, the outer edges of reefs receive the full force of breaking waves, protecting many shorelines from daily erosion damage. Various forms of hard coral are now being experimented with in the laboratory as possible solutions for bone replacement. Treatments for a number of diseases including cancer, AIDS, and arthritis have been developed from the tiny organisms and unique compounds that reside within the reefs. By one estimate, coral reefs provide ecosystem services and economic goods worth over $300 billion each year to millions of people around the world.

About 19% of all the coral reefs around the world are already gone, and an estimated 50% of those are in the Mediterranean Sea alone. Moreover, 15% of the remaining reefs could die within the next 20 years, and perhaps all of them within a century. This could of course be catastrophic for the biosphere, because the coral structure provides dwellings for sea creatures at the bottom of the food chain. The effects could essentially ripple through directly to the top of the chain, where we as humans sit. Common fish including snappers could be immediately affected, while a wide array of shellfish could also die off as the reefs themselves begin to die.

It should also be noted that the fisheries of the world currently employ an estimated 30+ million people. Indirectly, an estimated 162 million people currently rely on the fishing industry. So, we sitting at the top of the food chain should take pay closer attention to what's happening at the bottom . It's not too late to start taking the necessary steps to help preserve these beautiful and valuable resources. It is clear, however, that something needs to be done—today.

Want to know how you can help?

The Nature Conservancy provides 10 effective ways to make an impact. Visit their website at http://www.nature.org/joinanddonate/rescuereef/explore/help.html to learn more.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less