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Earlier this year, a study published in the journal Nature revealed that nearly one-third of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of the largest living structures in existence, has died in the past few years due to an unsettling (yet frankly unsurprising) cause: rising ocean temperatures. Thanks to an influx of unusually warm water, expansive areas of the reef were “bleached” in 2016 and 2017, thus resulting in widespread coral death.
Since this dismal news came into focus, a non-profit organization called the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC) has been closely monitoring the status of the reef, and they’ve at last discovered something positive. In a recent report issued by the Queensland State Government, the RRRC announced that things are starting to look up for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
According to the report, some of the areas affected by coral bleaching are showing “substantial signs of recovery.” Experts from the RRRC believe that this improvement can mostly be attributed to milder conditions during the 2017-18 summer. However, recent efforts made by the Australian Federal Government to combat threats to the reef have also played an important role in its recovery.
But we shouldn’t break out the party hats just yet; Australia’s magnificent coral reefs are still in grave danger of being affected by future spikes in ocean water temperatures, which are bound to happen as Climate change progresses. As Sheriden Morris, managing director of RRRC, reportedly stated, “We all know that the reef may suffer further bleaching events as the climate continues to warm, but we have to do everything we possibly can to help protect our Great Barrier Reef.”
That’s exactly right, and it’s a reminder we all need to take seriously. After all, coral reefs aren’t just disappearing in Australia; it’s happening in waters around the globe. According to scientific research, we’ve already lost 27 percent of the world’s coral since the 1980s, and this number is projected to increase to 60 percent over the next three decades.
So what’s the largest driver of the greenhouse gases responsible for Climate change and the resultant ocean warming that is killing our precious coral reefs? As you may have guessed, it’s animal agriculture, an environmentally destructive industry which produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, plus a ton of water Pollution from fertilizer and manure.
If the detrimental effects of this industry were to be reduced, it would do wonders for our coral reefs, not to mention help solve world hunger, combat other negative effects of Climate change, and do many more positive things. If you’d like to save the coral reefs and help bring about a better future for everyone, opting to fuel your body with plants instead of meat and dairy is the single most effective way to do so!
Image Source: Pexels