Contrary to what parodic news stories are spreading, the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on Earth, is not dead yet. But it could easily within years if humans don’t start to do something to help it.
The “death” of the Great Barrier Reef has been a popular but incorrect news story recently. Fake stories written for entertainment purpose are what’s causing so many people to be alarmed of the death of the reef. A mock obituary written by Rowan Jacobsen titled “Obituary: Great Barrier Reef (25 Million BC – 2016)” is an example of a fake story that gained a lot of attention on the Internet and began to misinform people.
“We’re very far from an obituary,” Chief of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Russell Brainard, explained in an interview after the popularity of the fake stories began to increase. “This sort of over-to-top story makes the situation much worse by conveying loss of hope rather than a need for global society to take actions to reverse these discouraging downward trends.”
He’s right when he says that the last thing we need to do is lose hope for the Great Barrier Reef. What’s most important is that the people of Earth stay hopeful and understand the severity of the situation, but to also know that they can help make a difference.
Climate change is the number one problem causing deaths in corals in the Great Barrier Reef. Hot weather is causing temperatures to increase in the water around the reef, and the coral “spit out the algae that provided their color and food”, according to John Upton for Scientific American. When the coral can’t find more algae fast enough, they quickly die.
One of the main causes of climate change is heat staying in Earth’s atmosphere due to what scientists call the “greenhouse effect”. When certain gases are released into the air from pollution from humans, heat is “trapped” in the atmosphere and can’t get out, which causes the temperatures of Earth’s surface and oceans to increase.
There are lots of ways individuals can contribute to bettering the environment, from riding a bike to disposing of trash properly to planting a tree. Anything that you can change about your lifestyle to lessen the amount of pollution you create can make a difference. What’s also important is that humans keep in mind the change caused by a few individuals makes a far less impressive impact for the good of the environment than the change caused by millions or hundreds of millions. The more people who are aware of pollution and climate change problems, the more likely a change is to occur.
A start is making it common knowledge to the human race that what we’re doing to the Earth is not good for it, and that a serious change is needed in order to save it. As an individual, what you can do is everything in your power to avoid polluting the Earth’s atmosphere even more. If it becomes normal for individuals to be doing that, the demise of not only the Great Barrier Reef but all of Earth can be avoided.