RIP to the Barrier Reef

Aurora Coria (12th), Reporter

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Today, people have the ability to write obituaries for anything, the most common being in the memory of a dead relative. However one could be written about a really nice looking piece of pizza falling to the ground moments before taking that iconic first bite.

An obituary for the Great Barrier Reef, located in the coast of Queensland, Australia, suddenly went viral a week ago when writer Rowan Jacobsen stated that “after a long illness,” the reef had passed away at the amazing age of 25 million years.

The validity of the writer’s article was immediately questioned. Many scientists attempted contacting Jacobsen to inform him on the inaccurate information he shared with the world-the Great Barrier Reef is dying, it is NOT dead.

Climate change contributed to the reef’s dying state in terms of coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

Coral bleaching occurs when water in the ocean is too warm, thus causing corals to expel their algae that lives in their tissues,  the coral proceeds to turn completely white. The white nature of the coral does not justify its death, the organism is simply “subject to mortality” (National Ocean Service).

According to the Huffington Post, the most extreme coral bleaching event had severe repercussions, harming 93% of the coral of the reef. The only silver lining is that the massive bleaching only impacted 22% of all the coral in reef, leaving more than half of the coral in hopes of revival.

The southern half of the reef managed to escape the wrath of the monster that is coral bleaching.

So if the Great Barrier Reef dies in the future, what aftershocks will the world feel?

Well, not only does the reef provide a home for all the sea critters lurking in the ocean, but it also implements jobs for the humans living above it. Tourism is a great factor for the reef, in fact, over 70,000 jobs are filled with workers who showcase the greatness of the reef to people from all around the globe.

The sea animals residing in one of the hundreds of coral reef communities in the Australian sea face severe consequences if the reef perishes. Small fish that feed off the coral or call it their home either die or relocate, which causes the disappearance of bigger fish that eat the small fish. Then the birds that eat fish lose their energy and so on and so on. The food chain receives disastrous blows.

There are theories that the misleading obituary was simply a wake up call to human race, a harsh way to tell us to step up our game and help save the planet. Then there are other folks who believe Jacobsen had no purpose and was talking out of his butt.

Whatever Jacobsen’s motives, he surely got the nation talking.

If suddenly inspired to help save the Great Barrier Reef and protect it along with all its inhabitants, barrierreef.org is the place to do it!

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