The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, a massive coral ecosystem, needs life support
Well, the good news is that the 1,400 mile reef off the Australian coast is not dead. A travel writer authored a sarcastic “obituary” of the Great Barrier Reef last week, and it went viral. Many readers didn’t catch the humor, and now scientists are trying to repair the public relations damage. Their concern is that support for efforts to restore the coral may be damaged by large populations sectors believing that it’s beyond repair.
The bad news? It’s nearly there. The consensus among experts is that sea-level rise, caused by global warming (caused mostly by humans) is in turn causing “bleaching,” an algal response by coral when its temperature, light, or nutrients are disrupted.
Reefs all over the world are in fights for their lives due to global warming. Besides the GBR’s distinction of being the largest living thing on the planet, it’s also tens of millions of years old. This is why the “news” of its death has drawn so much attention recently. Scientists are currently attempting to develop methods by which to reverse the bleaching process.
As a scientist dealing daily in biology (I’m a practicing emergency room physician), I see micro and macro views of the perhaps complete connectedness of all living things. The intertwining of the fates of all life forms. The biodiversity of coral reefs is famously mind-boggling. Now multiply that by the sheer size of the GBR! Only seven percent of it has not been affected by bleaching.
Imagine if 93 percent of your neighborhood were destroyed. Would that affect the remaining plants and animals? Would it affect you?
Self-deceived, hell-bent fools pollute our waters, believing that the poisons simply vanish with no consequence to the ecosystems on and below the surface. “Out of sight, out of mind!” They will not stop, many of them, until they are physically restrained from polluting. The more cooperative may desist after fines greater than $100 billion.
What is the reaction of the oil industry, whose products are largely to blame for the destruction of 14,000 miles of crucial, tremendously biologically diverse, ecosystems? A shrug? Diversion tactics? It is, quite literally, psychotic.
What the avaricious polluters don’t want you to know is the one-word message Earth herself sends us with each and every one of these catastrophes: “Stop.” Over a year of consecutive, record-high monthly average temperatures: “Stop.” Toxic algal blooms in California, Florida, even Utah: “Stop.” Record, deadly floods in Louisiana: “Stop. No remedial action to speak of? Not loud enough?”: Great Barrier Reef dying: “Stop! Stop burning and spilling fossil fuels.” As any mother would add, so does Mother Earth: “ It’s for your own good!”
My novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about the plight of Earth to defend herself from humankind’s vicious assaults. How many direct warnings do we need? Or are we in desperate denial, committed to keep doing as we have been, merely hoping for the best?