By Lauren Vincent
Over the past week, there has been an outrage over the Great Barrier Reef’s obituary. As I scrolled through Twitter, I would see tweet after tweet from concerned people saying how we destroyed the Great Barrier Reef and referencing its death. I’m not going to lie, I was with the group of outraged people. How could we let our world come to this point of destroying a world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. Not only does it cover more than 300,000 square kilometers it also consists of more than 3,000 reefs, 600 islands, and 300 coral cays. After seeing multiple angered Tweets I began to wonder why no major news stations have covered the event. I mean, this seemed like a pretty important topic so why was it not being spread like wildfire by the media? Well, because the Great Barrier Reef isn’t quite dead-yet.
The title of the article led many to believe the Reef was 100% dead. Stating the lifespan ended in 2016 by scientific research; people, including myself, took the article at its face value. According to the Cornell Cooperative Extension at Rockland County, which focuses on ecological sustainability, the reef is NOT dead but rather DYING.
Now, I’m not saying everything with the Great Barrier Reef is A-okay, because it is definitely not. According to ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, 93% of the reef is affected by bleaching, which can lead to extinction. Coral bleaching happens when the coral experiences extreme stress caused by climate change in temperature, light, and nutrients. When the coral is affected by the changes, it releases algae leading them to turn white. Anthropogenic events such as fishing, burning of fossil fuels, and mining have caused major damage to the ocean life as well.
While the reef isn’t exactly dead yet, that doesn’t give us an excuse not to care. This should be a wake up call for the world. We can still try to move forward and preserve what we have left of this beautiful piece of earth. As a diver, It has always been one of my dreams to dive in the Great Barrier Reef. I plan on fulfilling that dream, but it’s up to us to make a change and repair what we have damaged.