It seems like hardly a week passes without more bad news for the environment and planet. The problem is that we only have one planet to support seven billion people. Finding ways to protect and preserve the natural world that supports life is not an option. The Great Barrier Reef, GBR, seems to be on the forefront of the environmental battle.
One of the latest examples of the negative effects of climate change is the Great Barrier Reef. Warming oceans have caused the coral to expel algae that the coral reef needs to survive. The visual result of this is “bleaching” as the coral turns white.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches for 1,430 miles along the northeast coast of Australia. It is considered to be the world’s largest living ecosystem. At least for now. Thanks to rising ocean temperatures at least half of the reef is either dead or dying. Only 7 percent of the reef does not yet show evidence of bleaching.
The El Nino weather system over the past year has likely worsened the problem, but scientists say that global warming is the real problem.
Meanwhile, Australia continues to have some of the highest carbon emissions per capita. The country has a heavy dependence on coal power plants and continues to support fossil fuel projects.
GBR is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and attracts many visitors each year. It is something of a marine wonderland, but it is also important ecologically. The reef has more than 400 types of coral and is home to mollusks, dolphins, rays, coral sponges, giant clams, sea turtles, more than 200 kinds of birds and more than 1,500 tropical fish species. The area around the reef also serves as a breeding ground for migrating humpback whales, and provides habitat for several endangered species like the Sea Cow and Green Sea Turtle.